Saturday, May 30, 2009

Peace in our time

It seems that enlightened self-interest has worked its magic, and the Formula 1 teams' association (FOTA) have reached a compromise settlement with the governing body, the FIA, in F1's 'budget-cap' row. Let us recall that FIA President Max Mosley was implacably demanding the imposition of a £40 million budget-cap in 2010. That will now not happen. Rather, a budget cap in the region of that figure will be introduced for 2011, but numerous pieces of expenditure, such as engine, driver, hospitality and marketing costs, will be excluded from the cap. This, then, must constitute a victory of sorts for the teams. Max, however, would no doubt suggest that his initial demands were merely an opening bargaining position, and that he has obtained what he really wanted all along.

So, after three months of remarkable political turbulence in Formula 1, the diffuser issue is sorted, the McLaren issue is sorted for the moment, and the budget-cap issue is also apparently sorted. Which leaves us with a Formula 1 season which is being dominated by a single driver and team. Not good for business, that. As The Times's Edward Gorman comments:

In the past a runaway leader has attracted the attention of the FIA, which has stepped in to find something illegal on a hot car.

It's the type of comment which many people think is true, but which few are willing to state in print. If true, it entails that the Formula 1 World Championship is manipulated by the governing body for financial ends; if false, then it is libellous. Either way, it's the type of comment which could attract the attention of the FIA's lawyers, given the difficulty of proving that the championship is manipulated.

On this occasion, it seems unlikely that the FIA will intervene, given the ongoing need to curtail the power of the manufacturer-teams in FOTA. Moreover, Ferrari are beginning to close on Team Brawn, and whilst the championship may be out of their reach, race victories appear to be imminent.


Dave said...

But would the comment potentially be libellous though? If this is what happened in the past then it is true and cannot be disputed, surely? The implication is obviously that this could happen this season but he doesn't say that in so many words.

Gordon McCabe said...

Even if something has genuinely happened, it can still be disputed that it happened.