Ferrari and The Coming Budget Cap Compromise
Ed Gorman is reporting today in his blog that FOTA and the FIA are near a compromise. According to him, some of the options on the table for a solution include:
* Excluding engine costs from the cap until 2013
* Delaying the institution of the cost cap until 2011 (or at least that's what's implied, as Gorman states that teams think they can hit 40 million GBP by then)
* Putting in place an agreement among teams to reduce costs to around 40 million GBP, but not actually instituting a cap (as I understand it)
Any way you look at it, it appears that Ferrari's theatrics were exactly what people with any sense whatsoever have suspected: posturing to force a settlement. Clearly, the Scuderia never intended to leave, but the threat of them doing so pressured all sides to come to the table. Everyone knows what Ferrari means to the sport commercially and competitively.
Now what needs to be addressed is something else that anyone with sense has long suspected, and has now been confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt:
The blatant favoritism of Ferrari by the FIA.
It's already been previously reported that they get more money from FOM than any other team. While this is clearly unfair, it can at least be justified by the fact that Ferrari does bring more money to the sport than any other team.
However, it is completely unjustified that they would be granted a contract with the FIA to veto any new regulations. By no definition of fairness and propriety should a competitor in a sport have the power to shape the regulations in a way that serves their interests, which is exactly what Ferrari had. If a new regulation comes along that would reduce a technical advantage of theirs, they could have vetoed it.
This would be like giving the New Jersey Devils the power to veto all of the rules changes made by the NHL after the lockout because doing so would undermine the advantages they possessed in their trapping style of play.
Furthermore, such a contract reflects a wholly improper relationship generally between a team and the sanctioning body. It surely puts the FIA's treatment of Ferrari's chief rivals of late in the last two seasons into a new light.
Taking away Renault's Mass Damper system in 2006; the stiff $100 million fine for Spygate after already being tossed from the Constructor's Championship; the wholly unfair punishment of Hamilton for his maneuver at Spa, which Charlie Whiting approved in-race and which has gone un-penalized in the past when pulled by other drivers; all of this smacks of favoritism of Ferrari in the enforcement of regulations to the detriment of their competition.
Hopefully, there will emerge pressure from the F1 community at large to address this situation. While Formula One would not be the same without Ferrari, it also is not the same without its tradition of being the motorsport pinnacle of competitive integrity. If the sanctioning body is to favor one team as clearly as it has favored Ferrari, then F1 is no more credible or genuine than professional wrestling.
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