F1 Zombies Fight The Forever War

Duncan ScottAnalyst IJune 10, 2009

I have a recurring nightmare. It does not invade my sleep, but visits me day after day in my waking hours, appearing on my TV screen, my computer display, and on the pages of print media.

In this nightmare, ancient faces from the dead past keep returning to fight and re-fight the battles of long ago. While the real world has seen the end of the cold war, and has endured the stink, smoke, and tears of many hot wars, the war to control F1 is endless.

Young men have grown very old fighting this war, and time has ravaged their features with lines and liver spots. Yet they stagger on, stiffly perhaps, as if directed by George A. Romero. Blindly, remorselessly, without any guiding lights of decency or shared values, they advance into each encounter with the soulless purpose of the reanimated dead.

Their direction, their motivation, comes from money and power, the mass and the energy of their universe, the yin and the yang.

Max Mosley is quite open and unabashed about being determined that power over F1 must rest in his wrinkled hands. The team owners and principals are equally sure that they should have supremacy. With more real power and money than any of them, the diminutive demon Bernie Ecclestone appears to take no sides, for cash-flow has no politics.

We look rather wearily at the current F1 budget cap dispute, because we've been here before, we've always been here.

There have been disputes over turbos, ground effects, all sorts of things. Each has never been more than a pretext for battle, and a weapon to be used. And we've seen boycotts and breakaway series, when all we ever wanted to see was our F1 racing.

Many F1 fans do seem to have swallowed Max Mosley's line that budget caps are essential to ensure a future for F1, and I find that curious. I know that a great many F1 followers are also interested in other sports like soccer, and will be aware that Real Madrid have just paid £56M to secure the services of Kaka.

Have FIFA stepped in to say that in the current financial climate football clubs must limit their expenditure? They have not, and for the very good reason that clubs are left to manage their own financial affairs. If a club goes bankrupt, as sometimes they do, then so be it, there are always others anxious to take their place.

Max Mosley knows that the same could apply to F1 teams. Indeed, in the recent past and under Mosley's rule, some teams have vanished for lack of funds. What we are seeing now is Max using the budget cap issue as a weapon in his war for complete control of F1.

In most sports, probably in all sports except F1, teams co-exist with their regulatory bodies, there is not a constant and open war between participants and rule-makers. Our sport could be like that, it really could.

F1 needs a Barack Obama moment, some sense that things could be different, and maybe even better. No doubt there would still be problems, but I would suffer the disappointment, if only I could have a few moments of hope, some relief from the sight of the same old zombies dominating the F1 landscape, fighting their forever war.