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A complete and utter mess

NEWS STORY
17/07/2006

As the field headed off on the parade lap for yesterday's French Grand Prix, the sport's governing body was sending out a statement in answer to the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Associations' statement issued ninety-five minutes earlier.

The GPMA's statement claimed that all six car manufacturers and their teams had unanimously agreed on a €40m engine fund and the so-called Indianapolis proposal, which suggests the homologation of engines from 2008 or 2007 for a period of three or four years, but to allow one annual update each season, on a selection of components.

The GPMA's statement went out on a piece of paper bearing the letterhead which incorporates the five existing members of the GPMA - BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Renault and Toyota.

However, one hour and seventeen minutes into the race, Renault, a founding member of the Grand Prix World Championship, which was to subsequently become the GPMA, sent out a statement stating that it was not party to the GPMA agreement.

Furthermore, in the hours that followed the race, Ferrari boss Jean Todt revealed that his team was giving its rival manufacturers that comprise the GPMA just 24-hours in which to come to an agreement.

It is a complete and utter mess, and sadly, there is no wholly satisfactory end in sight.

On track, a Magny Cours masterclass performance saw Michael Schumacher reduce Fernando Alonso's championship lead to seventeen points, the German demonstrating that he remains an awesome talent.

Yet once again, the three men that attended Saturday's post-qualifying press conference were the same three men speaking at the post race version.

Should any of those in Planet Paddock, and by that we do include Max Mosley, take the time to head out into the street, into the real world, they will find that real people don't care too much about engine freezes, fighting funds or very much else about Formula One.

The reality is that 'man down the pub' is not very interested in F1, he sees it as elitist, dull, and according to some, fixed!

The big worry is however, that now, courtesy of the in-fighting, back-stabbing and lack of real - as opposed to artificially generated excitement - race fans are also getting tired of the whole charade.

There are alternatives... and never mind NASCAR, just take a look at MotoGP.

So never mind the Maranello Proposal, the Monaco Proposal or the Indianapolis Proposal, Formula One needs to come up with a let's sort this bloody mess out proposal and start putting on a real show that will retain the old fans and win new ones… otherwise, F1 is in danger of disappearing up its own backside.

Magny Cours was meant to be a time for celebration - 100 years of Grand Prix racing, the 750th Formula One World Championship race - yet thanks to the shenanigans going on in the paddock there was very little to smile about.

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