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GP Week : Issue 17
SO, Formula 2 is set for a re-launch in 2009! Of all the craziness pedalled within the last few months, this pretty much takes the biscuit for me. As one GP2 team boss put it, the mere suggestion that it could be done in the current timescale, let alone for the costs being bandied about, pretty much confirms that whoever cooked this one up is certifiably bonkers. What we have today, in GP2, exists as the perfect shop window for F1. It is F2 in all but name, and that’s only because the FIA wouldn’t allow the championship to take the name when it began as it wasn’t an official FIA series. But GP2 never wanted to be an FIA series. This was done to ensure that GP2 could create the car and the championship it wanted and then have the FIA regulate the series. The result has been a resounding success. Without the FIA determining tech specs, the championship has been allowed to flourish. When one looks at the confused and often conflicting technical direction suggested by the FIA for the future of F1, one would have no difficulty in arguing that GP2 chose a pretty solid route. The problem now is that Max and Bernie are having rather a lot of fun throwing mud at each other. Max wins his confidence vote, so Bernie says he and the teams might just go away and set up a new championship. Max says fine, but he’s got the F1 name. Doesn’t matter says Bernie, he’s got GP1, GP2 and GP3… there’s a whole weekend in that! Oh yeah, says Max, well I’ve got F1 and F3… so I’ll just resurrect F2! But while this may all be fun and games to the political playmakers of the sport, there is a serious side to these threats. First up, GP2 teams are now in the tough position of having to turn around to sponsors and explain why their budgets hit US$5 million a season when the FIA can turn around and say it could do the same job for US$200,000. But there’s a bigger threat in all this, and that is the drawing of battle lines. On one side we’ve got an FIA backed F1, F2 and F3 weekend, and on the other we have the Bernie backed GP1, GP2 and GP3 notion. What we have, in effect, is the basis for two competing championships, based on two completely separate race weekends of ultimate category and feeder series. There was little surprise this week to see that the US Grand Prix had been kept off the 2009 F1 calendar. But F1 cannot afford to simply act like America doesn’t exist. A decade ago, America’s top ranking racing championship suffered a huge civil war, not terribly dissimilar from the unrest F1 is currently experiencing. It resulted in a catastrophic split between Champ Car and the IRL which has only this year been resolved. While F1 may like to think America isn’t really all that important, in the long term it may like to take a step back and learn from the mistakes of our US cousins. Threats are all well and good, but this game is getting serious. The battle lines have been drawn. The last thing anyone wants is civil war, but with every passing day and every careless threat, we tread ever closer. Letters email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Is Ferrari a special case? Surely it can’t have gone unnoticed that the FIA seems to be very lenient on the Ferrari boys with their lack of punishments for bad driving (Kimi). Not only this, it seems that they are saving all their punishments for the McLarens. Why is this? Is it right that Hamilton is punished for going into the back of Raikkonen and given a 10 place grid penalty after Montreal when only two week before, Raikkonen went into the back of Sutil escaping punishment in Monte Carlo? Is it right that Kovalinen was given a five place grid penalty in Magny-Cours for apparently blocking Mark Webber during qualifying? Was the car supposed to sprout wings and fly off the track in order for the Aussie to get by? I am not sure what Ferrari are doing right or what McLaren is doing wrong, but this petty display has been going on too long – two seasons too long. Either the FIA takes on the role it’s supposed to have, i.e. an impartial body to control Formula One or the sport will lose all its credibility, fans and sportsmanship; and what is sport without sportsmanship? Claire Lorenc email@example.com It is quite obvious to those of us watching F1 Down-under that Ferrari can do anything they like and get away with it while McLaren get penalized for any small infringment they make. Do Max and Bernie really hate Ron that much that they will keep this up until they get rid of him and McLaren? Then we will all have to switch to NASCAR! Sorry but it's true! Murray McLaren, Christchurch, N.Z. firstname.lastname@example.org Warning: Plane-spotter ... A slight error in one of your articles – page 16 of the issue dated 23June, titled Britain’s World Champions Remembered. The picture attached to the article states that Richard Burns experienced "Tornado power." The picture is of a British Aerospace Hawk of the Red Arrows, a training aircraft not a Panavia Tornado as mentioned in the article. Keep up the great publication – it's great to sit down with a coffee and read once the kids are in bed! Michael Formosa Glenmore Park, NSW, Australia The Art of War o p in io n WiLL Buxton GPWeek Editor 22