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GP Week : Issue 34
>>GPWEEKOPINION Fear and Loathing… Will Buxton GPWeek Editor THE FOTA and FIA, it appears, have reached an agreement about the immediate future of Formula 1. The impending doom of global recession has been stemmed, or so it seems. But are the powers which preside over the sport risking the long term future of the sport and its credibility in order to reinforce their own dwindling power? It’s an interesting question, and one which has been stirring for some time. There are many within the Formula 1 paddock who do not believe that the financial or environmental worries of Formula 1 require the FIA’s heavy-handed tactics with regard to enforced rule changes. Just as the argument of safety has, over the past decade and a half, been used to force through change, so today are changes being crowbarred into the regulations for the sake of the planet and the manufacturers’ pockets. While many understand that the outlandish concepts bandied around are little more than scare tactics to force agreement on softer issues, the very need for such interjection is worrying. That damage was done to Max Mosley’s Presidency by the smut that surrounded his name earlier in the year is in no doubt, but are these new regulation changes a result of his weakened position? While Mosley himself insists he can govern as before, does the current strategy of regulation change not show completely the opposite? Why else make such draconian and outlandish recommendations for change? Standard engines anyone? Please … such a notion defies the very basis of Formula 1. I gotta plan! Mosley (left) and Stewards' boss Donnelly share a moment Engine costs can be restricted and output regulated, but the FIA President instead wishes KERS development to remain open and unlimited. One is reminded of the end of the Balestre era at the FISA, when Mosley himself ran for President on a manifesto of reduced interference in the affairs of the sport. It’s similar to the British political landscape at the end of the 1970s when the so called ‘nanny state’ interfered with the lives of the nation to unrivalled heights. In both cases, the governing powers at the time had lost respect and credibility. They had done so at economically unstable times and could feel the groundswell of opinion rising against them. As they attempted to re-establish their authority by increasing their grip on the affairs of the governed, they simply reinforced their complete lack of control. With every passing statement, and every overblown stewards’ decision under the direction of Mosley’s ally Alan Donnelly, the FIA runs the risk of creating the impression that it is a body in desperate times, doing whatever it can to be noticed – the lonely child at the back of the class who punches the child next to him, just to get some attention. By throwing its weight around and constantly changing policy, the FIA risks the ultimate sign of weakness in a political body. The very best eras of governance are when those who rule can be seen but not heard. Regardless of the truth and regardless of just how lost the FIA has become, it is the outward signs that create the fear. That the Formula 1 teams now stand united, for the first time in their history counting Ferrari among their number in a FOTA of complete and unwavering solidarity against the overbearing interference of the FIA, should tell us everything we need to know. 21 opinion