FIA's Arrogance Will Hurt Formula One

dennis cardonaContributor IMarch 24, 2009

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 07:  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is seen in the FIA motorhome before qualifying for the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve June 7, 2008 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Here we are, sweaty hands... nervous breathing. As excited as a child about to receive that elusive ice cream cone;  you know, the one he never thought he would get. Or that teenager waiting for the first kiss after the eyes have committed.

Drivers, engineers, mechanics, fans—all geared up and ready for the go. Ready for a season of competitive action, of intense efforts and spectacular results. Yes, this season is going to be like that. Make or break, but spectacular in any event.  

And, all the teams are in the thick of it.

The cream on the cake? Brawn GP has pulled an absolute dream performance and has come from the ashes of the recession, threatening to show all how to do it with less testing than virtually everybody else.

In the press;  teams and drivers making sensible statements and increasing our sense of anticipation so that  it almost threatens our breathing .

All will soon unravel,  but the point of this article is not this positive and enthralling pre season show.

Unfortunately, it must be the shameful and regrettable FIA childish tantrums.

Never have I seen the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile act as shamefully as they have in the lead up to this new season.

They have lacked leadership qualities and have effectively forced the manufacturers into forming the FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) to try and bring some order to proceedings.

First they claim to want to reduce costs. In the current economic environment, this is no longer a wish but a need. 

Now call me a senseless romantic optimist, but this can only improve the sport we love. Just too much of the bling bling, if you follow what I mean. Like the rest of the world, F1 will benefit from a dose of sanity.

But how? How can you justify bringing in new technology at the same time? What about the KERS development costs?

Surely it would have been better to have left this for next season when the new  aero rules and tyres have been dialed in. “Because we say so” I imagine is the only reply they can give.

Then they wanted a system of medals? What, more bling bling!? No, please.

The proposals were laughed out by most serious commentators and promptly allowed to smoothly and discreetly disappear into history. Then, a week ago,  just when we are trying to get our heads around the testing results, they announce… ”he who wins most races wins the driver’s championship”.

Now personally I like the idea, I think it would encourage more racing which is after all what this is about. But why not do things properly and professionally? Why cannot the FIA get together with FOTA and discuss these things BEFORE they are made public?

At the end of the day, surely it’s what is best for the sport and this will only come from their discussing things rationally and without bias.

Now their introduction has been postponed, but not for good reasons. Not because they are taking into account considered views on the matter. They have postponed because they have left it so late that they have fallen prey to the minimum notice rule—rules they themselves have written!

They have also stated arrogantly that they WILL BE introduced next season, as if to negate any possible discussion of the matter.

I now hear that, with days before the first GP, Maclaren, Toyota and Renault threaten not to be at the start line because they haven’t received their money? What!?

Now if we were preparing scripts for series like “Dallas” or “Eastenders” then perhaps these things are good.

But this is F1, gentlemen. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motor sport. The ultimate driving machine bar none handled at the limit by the world’s best drivers. Where the best professional designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers get together to create the best car and team with which to campaign year long for the World’s most coveted  motoring championship  laurels.

It is nothing short of disrespectful to treat this sport this way.

FIA owe all they have to the fans of this sport.  As the recession has been a lesson to many in the banking sectors, if they do not amend their ways, the FIA could find themselves alone with a set of circuits and no serious competitors.

They would do well to remember that no-one can force anyone to participate in events, much less watch them. All their riches and power they owe to the participants and us, the spectators. It is high time they came back down to earth and did what we expect of them.

The sport and its fans deserve a better, more professional stewardship.