The FIA could step in to secure the future of the British Grand Prix if it runs into trouble in 2010, according to a recent statement from its president Max Mosley.
The only thing is, it might choose not to interfere. And, if it did, Bernie Ecclestone might not listen.
At the moment the race is set to be hosted at Donington Park which must finance and carry out a major redevelopment before its track is up to F1 standards.
If it is for any reason unable to complete the work in time Ecclestone has confirmed he will substitute a different country rather than allow Silverstone, which has hosted it 44 times in its 60-year history, another crack of the whip.
Speaking at a press lunch held on Wednesday in London, Mosley revealed that motorsport’s governing body has a remit to protect F1’s ‘classic’ races including the Italian, British and Monaco Grands Prix.
But he said one thing the FIA could not do was to force F1 promoter Bernie Ecclestone to accept unfavourable commercial terms to keep a race in a particular country.
James Allen continues the story in this report on his blog:
Asked whether he would insist on a move back to Silverstone if [stories about Donington struggling for funding] proved true he said that the FIA has a duty to protect the classic races, but if Bernie Ecclestone presented a calendar without a British GP he could not insist on there being one if the commercial terms on offer were clearly inferior to the going rate being offered by other countries. Having said that he did describe the UK as ‘the home of Grand Prix racing’, so he will no doubt be reminded of that if and when Britain loses its race.
The British GP has been on the calendar since the start of Formula 1 in 1950, as has the Italian GP. It’s interesting that Mosley accepts that Ferrari gets special treatment from the FIA world council and FOM in recognition of the fact that it has been there since the start, but the races do not. Heritage is important, but only up to a point. Read full story here…
We draw two conclusions from this. The first is that it’s always reassuring to know that someone’s opened a locker and found a parachute, quite regardless of whether the air crew think it will be needed.
And the second? A wry acknowledgement that if Ecclestone’s motive in moving the race really was to knock it off the calendar altogether, he couldn’t really have picked himself a better strategy.