News and views on motorsports

Friday, May 29, 2009

The So Called Solution

So it has emerged that Mercedes have floated a compromise proposal to FOTA and the FIA regarding the rules for next year's Formula 1 world championship. In effect, a budget cap of 100 million would be in place and the smaller teams would be technically assisted by the current manufacturers, although this stops short of chassis supply.

What a load of bollocks! Why not simply allow customer cars? Toro Rosso have shown that the concept can work. Heck, even Super Aguri showed that its possible to show the works teams a thing or two. Lola, who apparently will enter the 2010 championship, is in the business of constructing racing cars and selling them off to teams in other formulae. If customer cars were allowed, they could supply the other entrants as well.

Interestingly, there are two different views within FOTA itself. Some folks led by Williams who are adamantly opposed to the idea of customer cars on the grounds that this would somehow jeapordise the constructors world championship. Again, completely bollocks. Then there's Red Bull, who were assured when they entered Formula 1 that customer cars would be allowed.

I still can't understand Williams' argument. We could easily add a team's title in addition to the constructors championship. For instance, points for the constructors championship could be scored by the top two cars of the constructor regardless of the team that won it. If Williams for instance supplied cars to say Campos, and such a team scored a one-two in the race, Williams as a constructor would collect points since they are the constructor of the cars. They would still gain the prestige of winning the constructors title. If Campos regularly beat the works cars, then the team championship would be won by Campos.

In other formulae and especially in sports cars we see different combinations of chassis and engines all the time. In grand prix racing, we see that its possible for the customer team i.e. Toro Rosso to win against the works team using different engines. In sports cars we regularly see the customer teams beat the works cars. It all adds to the interest in the sport.

Teams would be in a far better position to afford grand prix racing if they did not have to spend monies on research and development and maintaining production facilities. But nevertheless, they would still have to pay for their chassis. In fact, this would be a revenue source for constructors. Lola makes a living from this. And so could say the Williams team, who I'm sure with its still vast technical resources could make better racing cars.

Frank Williams is a complete ass. And so is his team. I'd never thought I'd ever say that. And yet now, I wish Williams demise from grand prix racing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Williams Give In Again

So Williams has broken ranks and have signed up for next year's world championship. Or should that be called selling their collective souls? Needless to say I am more than a little troubled and disappointed. The reason given is that Williams does nothing else but grand prix racing and hence cannot afford to be left out.

Williams, Brawn GP and wannabe team Force India are 3 teams currently competing who are in support of Max Mosley's budget cap. With Williams' capitulation how long before the other 2 break ranks and capitulate? Despite Williams' assurances that they are still in support of FOTA, the practical reality is that the FIA and FOA have once again succeeded in bending Williams to their will.

I suppose some people never learn. In the past, the Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA) was intended to care for, among other things, the commercial rights of the teams. This it did. However, with sleight of hand and the incompetence of solicitors representing Williams, McLaren and Tyrrell, Bernie Ecclestone managed to deny those rights and grab it all for himself. Williams and McLaren went so far as to sue their incompetent former solicitors but in the end, Bernie stepped in to ensure that the lawsuit never saw the light of day lest it revealed the dirt that went on to the public.

How much money was paid to shut the teams up? No one knows. It couldn't have been so small a sum but I doubt if it was a very large amount neither. Bernie managed to flog off those commercial rights, first to the now defunct Kirsch, then a string of banks and finally the loathsome CVC. Bernie became a billionaire from that sale whilst Frank Williams is struggling to stay afloat.

And what did Williams and McLaren get? Well obviously not enough since Williams is now thinking like small fries. Instead of standing their ground and possibly gaining what is theirs by right i.e. greater share of the commercial revenues of the sport, they capitulate once more. By signing with the FIA, Williams have lost all leverage against Bernie and CVC. How on Earth can you demand more from those bastards and in the long run eradicate their cancerous activities if you have a contract with the FIA to race?

Perhaps it is just as well that Williams are merely given scraps off the food table and today are merely a midfield runner destined one day to fade away to oblivion. Their cowardice deserves such reward. Sorry Frank, I have lost all respect for you.

Update 27/05/2009 : Williams have been temporarily suspended from FOTA membership. As well they should be. Hopefully Williams will be denied any gains made by FOTA. They don't deserve any of it

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Whats the point?!!

Sometimes I think these F1 websites are so desperate to suck-up to their readers (i.e. the fans) that they simply trip and fall all over themselves. Look at the screenshot of Pitpass today. Can't read it? I'll quote it again:

"The teams, might argue that they put on the show… but never forget, you are the audience and without an audience the show cannot go on, after all, what would be the point?"

Oh my god! Do these people even understand what racing is all about? I wonder if these folks even understand the spirit of it all? Once upon a time person A and person B met on a stretch of road. Both liked to drive and drive quickly. Each thought him (or her)-self faster than the other. And they both felt compelled to prove that point and put pedal to the metal. Thus began motor racing. (Of course, the first time this scene played out, I doubt if it was in an organised event). If you haven't felt this feeling, please do not consider yourself a fan of racing. You simply do not understand.

And so from those simple roots, evolved organised competition. Not for the sake of fans but for the drivers, manufacturers and teams themselves. The competitions got bigger, the prizes got larger. Ultimately this led to grand prix racing, that pinnacle of road racing competition. I have always argued that if there was no Formula 1, someone would invent it. And if the FIA Formula 1 world championship were to die, another would come along to replace it. Why? Because true racers need it. There still would exist this need to prove yourself the fastest and the best. Full stop.

And guess what? People liked to watch. And so if the spectators enjoyed watching then so be it. Through advertising, gate tickets and other forms of revenue collections, this would benefit the organisers and teams (one would hope). And if not, those guys would still be racing regardless if there wasn't a single person to watch. Perhaps grand prix racing would not surive but the next formula down to the next and all the way down to club level would still carry on. Ultimately they'd find a way to organise the biggest and fastest competition around once more. Why? Cause real racers (drivers and teams) need to prove themselves the best. This is the fundamental aspect of racing whether you're talking about the guy who races on the street (not that I approve of such things) to the club racer to the Brawn GP Formula 1 team.

I often think these days that people forget this fundamental fact. And so we mix in stupid things like marketing, branding and all the other business garbage.

Now of course, as a fan, I like to give my opinion. Thats why I started this blog. But to claim that grand prix racing exists only for the fans and that we are the only point of it is just plain missing the point. If Pitpass, who puport to be racing fans can put this up, then I am really worried for the future of grand prix racing. Specifically, on what it would evolve into. As it is, it has become increasingly distasteful and I fear simply pampers to the wrong sort of audience.