Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Peace In Our Time

One of the downsides of only occasionally having time to comment on goings-on is that you want to produce posts which, while timely, are both insightful and not about to get overtaken by external events too quickly. The firestorm around Formula 1 over the past two months has been moving so quickly that I get buried trying to figure out who said what and how they are managing to make the situation even more improbably worse than it was.

Practically anything I would post would quickly get overtaken by what's really happening, and from what's left you can only say I think Max Mosley is carrying on like a destructive idiot so many times before it becomes boringly repetitive.

So with Formula 1 finally seeming to take a collective breath... where are we?

There's no more break-away series (at least for now). I honestly felt this was the worst of all possible outcomes. It seems that the grownups have finally sat down together and followed the money. The sport's history and legitimacy is no more threatened than it is every year by the FIA's bizarre ducking and weaving.

FOTA can't keep their mouth shut. The comment about Mosley being a dictator was probably taken out of context from some low-level PR flack who thought he was speaking off the record. Never the less, it gave Mosley the ammunition he needed to try to blow the whole crisis up again. The fact that Mosley's "I'm not a dictator" explanation basically boils down to "I unilaterally set the rules and accept no argument about my decisions" does little to clear things up.
I guess we can all consider ourselves lucky that F1 appears to collectively gone on holiday this week and there's no one around to help make a bad situation worse.

Max Mosley is out (or maybe he isn't). Mosley appeared to be stepping aside by not standing for re-election this October. Then the whole "dictator" comment came up, with Mosley now threatening to stand for re-election, and making dark statements to the effect that he retains his position, responsibility, and power up until the election in October.

The 2010 rules will be identical to the 2009 rules (except where they are not). So while the budget cap won't happen, the refueling and tire warmer bans will. I've written at length in the past about the budgets in F1. I won't be sad to see the end of refueling. The tire warmers I won't miss either, even if I think that banning them on the grounds of cost-cutting is more than a bit ridiculous.

Overall: I think F1 is where it should have been six months ago. Really, this outcome is the only one which preserves F1 in anything even remotely approximating its historical form, while preserving the historical continuity.

Even though we can thank Max Mosley for much of the way that Formula 1 looks today, the truth is we can blame a lot of its problems on him too. The last year hasn't been kind to him, and I think he is no longer suited to be at the helm of the sport.

But for all my ravings, he's no idiot. I can't believe he seriously thought that he would get away with the changes he wanted to make in the manner he was trying to make them. There has to be another angle, another move, another goal that was concealed while we were all looking at the circus in front of us.

What did he think he was really up to?