Friday, May 22, 2009

Max Mosley: Idiot, or genius?


OK, I should probably qualify that somewhat.

One of Mosley's saws that he keeps going back to is that despite the teams and manufacturers enthusiasm for Formula one, not a single one has signed a legally binding contract to remain in the sport for any given period of time.

Now seriously: why would an organization commit to participating in a sport that requires the outlay of millions (either tens or hundreds, doesn't matter at this point), if the rules for participating in that sport are going to get changed at the drop of a hat? If someone had given Mosley a five-year commitment two years ago, they'd be feeling more than a little taken at this point. Radical rules changes for 2009, and even more radical changes for 2010.

This whole showdown with the teams has a predictable next-stage to it. The major teams won't file entry papers. Some half- (or, lets be generous, three-quarters-) baked teams will step in to replace them. Mosley is threatening to stand for re-election this year; this potential ruination of the Formula 1 championship is going to be more than adequate grounds for the delegates to dismiss him. Mosley is (despite my insistence at the top of this post) no idiot, he has to see that what is going to happen is that he is going to have to blink and step aside. Someone else will sweep in and broker a compromise that will let the teams continue to participate while maintaining the FIA's authority; I'm going to predict that the replacement teams who try to participate under the 'cap' rules are going to be tossed aside in favor of the establishment's interests. I'll also predict at least one major team (my money is on Toyota) will use the chaos as an excuse to withdraw.

Mosley and Ecclestone always seem to be three moves ahead of anybody else when it comes to these political games. So you have to know that they have the next two moves figured out.

But what is the next move? What is Mosley's ultimate goal here? Where is the endgame? I don't see it.