I've been puzzled about what's been happening in the FIA-FOTA row since last Friday. All the chatter from FOTA has gone. Now it's only Max Mosley talking. He's told the teams to leave and start their own series. But according to a source he's the one that urged FOTA to file "conditional" entries for the 2010 Formula One campaign.
Mosley probably feels content and confident with his move. Ten or so teams have applied to compete in the 2010 campaign. The only reason they have done so is because of the budget cap. So, Mosley thinks he has the upper hand. He might... but ultimately Flavio Briatore is right, it will be Formula GP3.
Epsilon Euskadi? Superfund? Litespeed?
That's not Formula One. That's GP2 or the Indy Racing League. Formula One has always been the pinnacle of international motorsport. Ferrari the most famous sports car manufacturer in the world. (arguably, to not piss off you Porsche guys) is defined by its endeavour in Formula One. Williams and McLaren teams that began as privateers and were able to be more succesful than the Scuderia during the 80s and 90s, are the definition of Formula One. When ingenuity, iinnovation and will were more important than sheer size or budget. That's what Formula One is about.
Formula One is based on legacy, the future of the sport is shaped by its past. But Max Mosley doesn't seem to understand that. People feel a connection to their childhood heroes or memories of great Sunday afternoons spent in a grandstand or in front of their TV.
I was a kid when Ayrton Senna died, but I still can't get over it. That's how emotionally committed I was as a seven year old mind you to Senna being successful. I still cry when I think of how we've all lost him. It shaped me as a person, its the reason I'm a closet McLaren fan and can't wait for Monaco every year. Formula One will never be as good or significant to me as when Ayrton Senna was in the race car doing what he does best, that will always be Formula One to me.
Litespeed, Epsilon Euskadi and USGPE can't claim to have that sort of emotional impact on anyone's life. They are no different than Force India or the Red Bull teams, teams that showed up out of nowhere and expected to gain support. Most people are Tifosi or support McLaren or Williams because they have an emotional connection to those teams and drivers.
The budget cap, the standardization or "bastandardization" of Formula One is turning it into just another open wheel racing series. Where all of the cars will look the same, the drivers will be mediocre and people won't be interested in it anymore. Formula One's uniqueness in every sense made it stand out.
Formula One might survive without the manufacturers and the old teams or the ace drivers. But it will be indelibly different, the emotion will be gone so will the history, innovation, and most importantly its soul.