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GP Week : Issue 52
>>GPWEEKOPINION wasn’t going to be a war. He’d been given a promise, and that was all he needed. Everything was going to be fine. The teams had signed up until 2012. They’d got what they wanted.And to top it all, the man who they believed to be standing in the way of real, meaningful change in the sport was going to stand aside as well. As Chamberlain said… it was “Peace for our time.” Only it wasn’t. Not 24 hours had passed before Mosley had turned on a sixpence and in so doing had taken Formula 1 back to the brink of disaster. And for what? Because FOTA suggested that Max walking away had been down to their pressure? Because Luca dared to say that Max’s style n isolation reasons, like Tomasz Czopik who was injured in a non rally-related car accident, in which he was not even driving. But most, like Bryan Bouffier, have a more normal quandary. The French driver who leads the Polish series did not take part because national championship budgets (a) do not cover non-championship events and (b) the budgets required for a world championship event are much bigger than for a smaller national event. And that went also for nearly all the drivers who head up the Polish championship scene. A World Championship rally presents a great opportunity for a national driver to pit his skills against the best drivers in the world, but great opportunities demand wonderful budget opportunities which are not readily available. As one observer asked: “Who wants to sponsor a national driver on a World Championship rally when the TV will not pay attention to him”. A World Championship rally also causes a tug of war. Available funds cannot be divided between outlets and, inevitably, the national outlet will suffer. Oil companies are the main regime for sponsorship in Polish rallying and, rather than add additional support to regular drivers, Orlen put their support behind Krzysztof Holowczyc (above) in his World Rally Car. The Orlen lubricant company is also the naming-rights sponsor for the Rally of Poland.. That in turn further deters rival lubricant companies from taking a major commercial interest in the event. Sardinia is an event where the top Italian drivers are traditionally absent. The Italian championship has lowered its financial demands by shortening the rallies into one-day events. A World Championship rally is a three day event, with additional costs incurred because this is an island rally, and on island rallies there is never the bonus of an audience of non-dedicated spectators. Ergo, absence of regular Italian drivers from that event. In Poland, a country which had not experienced a World Championship rally or 36 years, when times were very different, they are only now discovering the true meaning of it all. World Championship rallying is like an albatross, a bird which flies round the world, an omen which can bring good luck but which can just as easily bring a curse with it, especially if you seek its harm. It is like World Championship rallying lives in its own particular isolation from the rest of the world. 21 of leadership had been somewhat dictatorial? The FIA Presidency is limited, by the FIA Statutes, to two terms. If Max stands again, he will move into his fifth. To combat allegations that he is dictatorial, he has threatened to renege on a promise not to stand for election, an election that has gone uncontested for years. Tell me I’m not the only one who sees a level of irony in that. The stupid thing, the thing that makes my blood boil in all this, is that it is all just so unnecessary. We had an agreement, we had a workable solution for the future. And because somebody’s ego got dented, it’s potentially all in the toilet. Montezemolo: modern-day Chamberlain?