News and views on motorsports

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Silverstone Stands Alone

Things are afoot in Grand Prix land. This story on highlights some of the flowing undercurrents of the GPWC-FOM war.

At hand is Ron Walker's efforts in concert with Bernie to convince all the current Formula 1 circuits to turn away from the GPWC. The only one that hasn't stood with the establishment is Silverstone. Whatever Silverstone's and BRDC's fault, this is understandable given the harrasment heaped upon them by Bernie.

If this story turns out to be fact, then unfortunately the GPWC, should they choose to press ahead with their 2008 plans, would not be running of some of the classics such as Spa Francorchamp. Although, given that Suzuka is Honda owned and Honda is a casual member of the GPWC, I should think it will still be on the cards should the GPWC come knocking on its doors.

The GPWC seems a fair bit away from being dead. The nine teams that comprise the breakaway group doesn't seem to show any signs of bowing to Bernie's demands. In fact a GPWC summit is reportedly going ahead. carries that story here. During the summit, a counter offer to Bernie's revenue share offer will be presented. I suspect they are looking for a far greater share than that, perhaps closer to 75% of the revenues from the sport.

Hypothetically, if the teams all decide to run the rival world championship, where does it leave the current Formula One Management (FOM) run event? Ferrari would be the only one left. More importantly, all the circuits who are currently on Bernie's side would not have an event to run.

Let's face it. Given the resources on hand from people like Daimler Chrysler, BMW, Honda and Toyota, I would not bet against the GPWC from being able to successfully organize and run a rival series. Toyota, for instance is a huge advertising spender in all countries around the world. The brings some clout. With the big companies increasingly advertising their racing involvement, a rival series would not be left in obscurity. In addition, the GPWC could call their rival series F1, according to this story on It quotes: "A Patent Office spokesman confirmed that 'Formula One' isn't fully controlled because it is more general than brands like 'Coca-Cola' or 'Marlboro.' Indeed, 'F1' and 'Formula One' are already used legitimately in triathlon and powerboat racing."

Max Mosley and Bernie may laugh off the GPWC threat. I believe the laugh is a nervous one. As for the circuits, I mentioned before that there are no shortage of venues, that to my mind are very much capable of running a rival event. Like may fans, I could do without some of the silly Tilke designed venues like Shanghai and Bahrain and go back to some classics like Estoril and Brands Hatch. I'm sure Paul Ricard in France would not mind holding a GPWC event.

I'd like to suggest that Fuji in Japan hold an event but have you seen the latest revisions to that classic track? Again, that moron Hermann Tilke has been at work. He has replaced the lovely long fast sweeping right hander before the main straight, with a series of slow short and frustrating hairpins. You can view the circuit diagram on his stupid website here.

Kudos to Silverstone, the birthplace of Formula One then, for resisting Bernie's efforts. May the GPWC succeed.

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