News and views on motorsports

Monday, March 07, 2005

WTF Paul Stoddart?

"There's something happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear." -- Stephen Stills

The Independent newspaper in London is reporting that Paul Stoddart has called for the resignation of FIA president Max Mosley as a consequence of events in the Australian Grand Prix.

What the f$@#? Don't know about you but I'm on the Establishment's side on this one. Let's look at the chain of events. Paul Stoddart sought an injunction from the Australian courts to grant them leave to compete in the race. This is addition to a legal threat to the FIA to sue them on some force majeur grounds in the same said court. His reason? The rules were finalized too late for him to make his cars legal.

However, it emerged that Minardi had at the last moment, altered their cars to comply to the 2005 aerodynamic regulations. The cars thus altered were allowed to participate in qualifying and the race proper.

Now, I could understand if Minardi really had insufficient resources to produce fully legal cars. But it doesn't seem to be so in this case. Paul Stoddart could have made his cars legal for the entire event. He just chose not too. Instead he made a big fuss of it in the media and dragged the issue to court instead.

If I were the president of the FIA, I think I would charge Stoddart for bringing disrepute to the sport as whole. What the Minardi team has done amounts to gamesmanship.

Of course, Paul Stoddart defends it all by blaming rule instabilities and improper management of the Formula 1 championship. As I said before, this is true. However, making a scene at a Grand Prix is hardly the place to drive home that point. The other teams are all in agreement on the need for change. Paul Stoddart didn't need to do what he did to make any point. Its just plain silly. Even Bernie Ecclestone, a major investor in the Minardi team, has called upon the Austrlian principle as a nuisance. Minardi's own investor, mind you.

So exactly what went on in Paul Stoddart's mind remains a mystery. In addition, he did his drivers absolutely no good at all but slapping on the 2005 alterations at the last minute. Clearly, by the looks of the Minardis during the race, the cars were pure evil to drive. Both drivers looked like they were having a tough time even on the straights. This made it difficult for some of the front runners to lap them. And the Minardis were what 7, 8 seconds off the pace? That is just plain dangerous.

Yes, I do support Paul Stoddart and the GPWC in their crusade against the Establishment. However, Stoddart's own conduct is an absolute disgrace to the sport.

No comments: