Formula 1 Insight

Storms in the F1 Teacup
That Bernie Ecclestone, he's a character isn't he? I love this sentence from his latest pronouncement on the Big Issue of the moment:

"One thing is for sure: if there were team orders which relate to the position of the two drivers — if somebody is told to move over or hold their position — it is against all the sporting regulations we have."

Sporting regulations, Bernie? Oh come on, you are the guy who has done more than anyone else to transform F1 from a sport into a business - it has nothing to do with "sporting" and you know it. The idiotic regulation on team orders was introduced to keep the TV audience and the gamblers happy - keeping the customer satisfied, as all good businesses should.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton in the Monaco GP

But Bernie understands how to keep the pot boiling on the theory that any publicity is good publicity. He knows perfectly well that there is no way the FIA can find the McLaren team guilty of unfair team orders at Monaco; that would require proof that Hamilton would have been able to pass Alonso if "set free" - a dubious matter indeed when one considers their lap times throughout the race and the fact that not even Raikkonen was able to overtake the car in front of him. As for pointing the finger at the timing of the pit stops, since when have the regulations given instructions on that? The fact is that the tabloids are incensed that Ron Dennis did not use team orders to manufacture a victory for Hamilton; that would have been fine in their book.

So Bernie is just pandering to the British media with suggestions of draconian punishments if the investigation finds against McLaren. He gives them their copy, they think he's a great guy, and everyone goes home happy.

Say what you like about Mr. Ecclestone, he does at least know what F1 is all about, even though he treats it as his own private toy. That is shown by his reaction to Mighty Max's proposal to have standardized chassis in F1:

"That (idea) has nothing to do with formula one."

And for Max to say that he "can remember when 30 or so of the 33 cars in the Indy 500 were built by March, and that didn’t bother anybody" merely highlights his unsuitability to be president of the FIA; if he fails to understand that competition between chassis designers is essential to the whole package that is F1, what the heck is he doing creating regulations for the sport?

This is not the first time that Bernie has disagreed publicly with Max - is it possible that we might be on the verge of a power struggle between the two? If that ever happens, I know which side I would be on...


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