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GP Week : Issue 29
Letters Selective interpretation? What I don’t understand in this whole fiasco with the stewards is that there is a rule book, and the rule book states that Lewis must allow Kimi to retake his position. Black and White. He did that. So why the penalty? The stewards have added to the rule book by their new interpretation of the rules. The team asked the question and were told it was fine. So how on earth are the teams and drivers supposed to know when it is right or wrong. After all I didn’t see any penalty imposed on Massa’s shortcut of the chicane that enabled him a further two or three car lengths at Monza. Think of all the rules that have been broken in the last few years, for mechanical, political and racing breaches. Which team seems to end up with the harshest penalties.? Jeremy Sharp, Australia firstname.lastname@example.org Parity in F1 – not Sebastian Vettel's excellent performance aside, what Monza 2009 illustrates (other than all F1 races should be run in the wet!) is that their so-called equality, or non- development, of engines is not working. What else would explain the obvious dominance of the Toro Rosso cars over the sister Red Bull cars? Maybe it's just that the Ferrari engine has a more usable low-down power which works so well in the wet – and by the way, that suggests that the Ferrari chassis isn't too hot either! Michael Wienert, Dusseldorf email@example.com Seb fanatic Good work all weekend Seb, well deserved. It’s nice to see the big boys humbled and be entertained by real talent in a lesser car. Best drive I have seen in years. Hold your head high and may this be the first of many wins (just don’t overshadow Mark too much next season!). Enough said. Warren Furze firstname.lastname@example.org 20 email us at email@example.com Who runs racing? The switch to four-stroke MotoGP from MichaeL Scott MotoGP editor FOR most fans, the answer would be ‘who cares?’ As long as it happens. A meeting a couple of weeks ago in Geneva thought otherwise. The FIM, traditional governing body of motorcycle sport, had a not very well-hidden agenda: to find a way to regain the control that was sold off back in the 1990s. Inspired by new president Vito Ipolito, son of a noted former bike racing entrepreneur (the Venezuelan nurtured 250 superman Carlos Lavado, and was behind the short-lived national GP there, among many other things), the ‘Strategic Planning Workshop’ proved at least two things. Firstly that the essentially amateur federation has plenty of money, the pay-off for leasing control rights to businessmen. How else could it afford an obviously very expensive blue-sky management planning project at a swish hotel? Secondly, unlike the companies that have developed modern racing business-wise (in the case of MotoGP, it is Dorna), it is composed almost entirely of motorcyclists. The 60-odd delegates included several racers past and present ranging from speedway legend Olle Olsen to 20-year-old South African-born blonde double women’s motocross World Champion Katherine Prumm. And one other thing. The overwhelming feeling was that commercial control of racing had gone too far. Looking at MotoGP, it was hard not to agree. One thing Dorna did was to cede control of technical rules to the manufacturers … more or less the opposite of F1. The consequence has been an unprecedented level of rule-tampering.. 500cc two-strokes in 2002 was timely. But since then the tampering has continued. The 990s were cut to 800cc – a move that has been hugely counterproductive. Worse than that, the gem-like 250 two- strokes are about to be killed off in favour of upgraded production bikes, inspired (for all sorts of wrong reasons) by two-stroke haters Honda. And next week a single-tyre rule is to be proposed for the premier class, further devaluing racing’s role as a proving ground for new technology. Similar problems cut across other disciplines. The anti-two-stroke impetus is a good example. Motocross is now going back the other way, having discovered that four-stroke racers are not only more expensive, they are also beyond the scope of most owner-racers to maintain, requiring frequent and very costly expert engine rebuilds. They are also almost impossible to sell on: once worn out after a year of racing, they are just so much scrap. (Think of the pollution implications to that.) Worse still, they are useless for junior classes. Four-stroke speedway bikes of 125cc simply don’t have enough power to spin the back wheel, an essential of the sport. How can the learners learn? To many, the blue-blazer FIM officials of the past represent the bad old days, when control was both autocratic and amateurish, and badly co- ordinated around the world. But over- commercialisation is now the Bad New Days. And it means motorcycle racing is under the control of non-motorcyclists. Let’s hope the planning meeting was the first step towards redressing that balance somewhat. Racing needs to make money – that’s obvious. But it also needs to be controlled by people who care about the sport as well as the profit. Motorcycle racing should be primarily about and for motorcyclists. That means the FIM. opinion