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The Man Who Killed F1?

NEWS STORY
13/05/2009

Even though the current situation F1 finds itself in is not amusing, one cannot help but think, especially when looking at our spoof entry list for 2010, of Laurel and Hardy - for whom read Max and Bernie - with Ecclestone scratching his head and saying, "well, Maxie, that's another fine mess you've gotten us in to".

And a fine mess it is.

The situation in which F1 finds itself is entirely familiar, an irresistible force has collided with an immovable object. The end result inevitable.

The sad fact is that what promised to be a bold new exciting season has now degenerated into farce, what with the McLaren saga and now the public battle over who controls F1, and make no mistake, this is exactly what this current impasse is all about.

Previously, Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone were able to beat the teams because they were not united. Any developing bond between them was quickly exposed and then worked upon, it is a tactic that has served the dominating duo well.

The last time F1 came anywhere near this point, Ecclestone and Mosley picked off Ferrari, indulging the Italian company's every whim - mostly flattery and money - thereby leaving the threatened breakaway movement fatally wounded, for as Mosley really knows, F1 does need Ferrari.

This time around we have FOTA, the Formula One Teams' Association - and despite the attempts thus far, and there have been several, the teams appear to be united, for the most part.

When one says, "for the most part", one is referring to the deafening silence from McLaren and, to a lesser extent, Mercedes during this most recent row. If one were a total sceptic one might begin to believe that in the same way Ferrari was previously persuaded to 'jump ship', a similar job has now been done on Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. After all, the FIA seemed extremely easy going when it came to 'liar-gate'. Then again, there are some who believe that there might be an even bigger threat hanging over certain individuals connected with the Woking outfit, for when one thinks of 'whipping boys' and McLaren it doesn't necessarily have to mean the hapless Dave Ryan.

However, returning to the irresistible force and immovable object analogy, the current "war" was only really known about by those that closely follow the sport, until yesterday, now, following Ferrari's public threat not to enter F1, it is up there on the front pages along with the MP expenses scandal, the Pope's visit to the Middle East, the war in Afghanistan and Susan Coyle, it's that important.

How the situation will resolve itself nobody knows, for Mosley is not known for giving way, and if the threat of Ferrari and several of its allies/rivals holds up under the pressure the sport will be in an impossible position.

The fact is that costs have to be cut, however, in light of the current global financial crisis surely the people that control the purses behind the teams and their sponsors will reduce the budgets anyway.

Furthermore, as has been pointed out elsewhere, in spite of the current financial crisis have we seen the Football Association tell Manchester United or Chelsea to cap their spending, threatening them that they must effectively play with 9 men while underperforming, less well-off, teams can field 12 players?

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