Arrivabene tries to make a point


Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene has attempted to make a point in reaction to new rules regarding paddock passes.

As ever, Formula One Management (FOM) is up to its old trick of giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

Fans will be aware that last year, having supplied a free timing service on the official website for several years, the service was stripped down to the very minimum, forcing them to buy the official app. Indeed, already fearing that this year's service might be stripped back further, we note that the official site no longer even offers fans information in terms of what time GP weekend sessions are scheduled in their particular time zone.

But we digress.

It isn't just the fans that FOM (and CVC) takes away from. This year the number of paddock passes handed to teams for guests has been reduced, much to the annoyance of the teams.

To show his unhappiness at the situation, on Saturday Arrivabene headed out to the stands with (test driver) Esteban Gutierrez and a guest from the team's main sponsor, the three chatting with fans and posing for pictures.

Explaining the move, Arrivabene said: "I heard that in Australia there will be further restrictions in terms of passes for the paddock and so… I thought we might as well get used to going to the grandstands! I found the people to be very well educated and polite.

"These restrictions do not seem acceptable," he added, "having an 'exclusive' atmosphere doesn't mean having an empty paddock. Golf is maybe one of the most exclusive sports, but there are thousands of people following the players."

Of course, Ecclestone always has a motive, and whilst it usually involves money, on this occasion it might be that more team bosses, test drivers and special guests in the grandstands might convince people that the event is sold out and that everything's rosy.

If nothing else it would save his TV cameramen the pain of trying to film the 'action' whilst not revealing the swathes of empty seats in the background.

Finally, most of the celebrity guests at races - you know, those multi-millionaire pop stars and actors that have always followed F1 but never paid to attend a race, instead relying on their celebrity to get them a freebie - are usually the guests of the teams.

Bernie makes much of these celebrity visits, the great and the good endorsing the sport, so perhaps the withdrawing of passes might come back to bite him.

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Published: 02/03/2015
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