F1: the FIA vote aftermath

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarWednesday, June 4th, 2008

 
 

Here are some of the latest developments in the aftermath of the FIA’s vote of confidence in its president Max Mosley yesterday:

• Another national organisation is thinking about whether its future lies with the FIA, according to Autosport.com – and this time it’s a sporting body rather than a motoring group.

The authoritative magazine is reporting that the chairman of the South African governing body of motorsport says he did not agree with the outcome of yesterday’s confidence vote and is considering joining the clubs contemplating withdrawing from the FIA. It continues:

South African bodies consider FIA future

Motorsport South Africa (MSA) chairman Roger Pearce says it too is deliberating its future with the sport’s governing body.

“We are obliged to abide by the majority decision in the interest of our international competitors,” he said. “For now, we will stand back and carefully consider all our options.”

Pearce will head back to South Africa to consult with MSA’s stake holders over any future course of action.

The country’s leading car club, the Automobile Assocation of South Africa (AASA), also expressed its concern at the decision to keep Mosley in power and claimed that he has rejected numerous calls from car clubs for him to step down in the last few months. Read full story here…

• One jaw-dropping statement made by the FIA, and reproduced in the BBC’s latest story on the subject, gives an unfortunate indication of which way things may be going:

“The vote was not a comment on the president’s private life but a confirmation that the decision-making of the FIA must never be manipulated by external forces who may attempt to undermine its independent authority.”

However, by deciding to retain Mosley, a divisive and fatally compromised figure with his reputation in shreds, in the face of clear evidence that he is unwelcome at some of motorsport’s most high-profile events, the FIA may very well have undermined its own authority to the point where it will cease to exist.

Three high-membership motoring organisations in Germany, The Netherlands and the USA have already either announced their decision to stop working with the FIA or to consider doing so. Now two more, both in South Africa and one a sporting body, are publicly considering their position.

And if a breakaway organisation is founded, who knows how many other national clubs will flock to its standard?

Refusing to be dictated to is one thing. Refusing to accept which way the wind is blowing while the tornado rips down your house is quite another.

James Allen’s take on what’s important about yesterday’s events has been posted on the ITV F1 site. He predicts the sport is about to suffer from an uncomfortable period of change and instability:

James Allen’s verdict on Mosley vote

One major problem is that there is no Concorde Agreement binding the FIA, Ecclestone and the teams together.

Or rather, some teams like Williams, Force India, the Red Bull teams and Ferrari believe that they have one, because they signed up to an extension of the old agreement in 2005. But the manufacturer-backed teams believe that because they are not bound by any such extension to the Concorde Agreement, there therefore isn’t one.

Sorting that situation out for the good of the sport will not have been made any easier by recent events.

Because we are in uncharted territory here, we are probably in for another period of instability in the sport as everyone jostles for position. Who will come out of this period with a stronger hand and who will be weakened by it? What will Mercedes, BMW Honda and Toyota do next?

Will it lead to an all-out war for ownership of Formula 1? Where does it leave CVC, the finance group which bought 75% of Ecclestone’s company, based on the 100-year commercial agreement with the FIA?

Which grands prix will disappear from the calendar as a result of clubs withdrawing from the FIA? Nurburgring looks like one, because of the German ADAC pulling out — could there be others? Read full article here…

• Keith Collantine at F1 Fanatic is asking 10 questions that we’d all like to know the answers to, including what exactly happened at the meeting, whether a transcript will be made available, how the British representatives voted and whether the anti-Mosley clubs pull or lose their races. It just goes to prove how transparent and accountable motorsport’s administration isn’t… You can read his full post here.

• Edward Gorman, motor racing correspondent at The Times, has updated his Formula One blog, saying that, having won the vote, Mosley still has no intention of going quietly:

A few days in Paris

So we go further into uncharted territory after another dramatic day at the FIA. Now there is a president in charge who has been opposed by more than 50 clubs and who has acknowledged that he cannot fulfill the functions of his office.

It is going to be interesting to see how this develops, especially in Formula One where Mosley is very short of friends. I heard Eddie Jordan on BBC radio arguing on Tuesday night that, having won his vote of confidence, Mosley will most likely stand down sometime soon. Jordan’s argument was that he has made his point and can now go with some dignity and so on. I must admit my reading of the situation is a little different, partly because Mosley’s people keep telling me that there is “a very long way to go” in this saga and partly because I get the sense that Mosley wants to take this to the limit in every way. Read full story here…

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