So FIA in their almighty wisdom have decided to fine US F1 and ban them. Only when I saw a feature on a cooking show with Janet Street Porter looking to sell horse-steaks to punters on their way to a race meeting has the phrase, “Flogging a dead horse.”, seemed so clangingly obvious. Indeed, the horse has been turned into dog-food meat, its bones used to make glue, and still FIA are looking to administer the beating. After Max Mosley’s defeat to FOTA, Ari Vatanen talked about a more conciliatory approach whilst Jean Todt seemed to suggest he thought Mosley had been too soft. So far, Todt has done little to show his hand, being popular for not being Mosley, and not having the need to squawk about being right at any opportunity. Does he think punishing US F1 will persuade future potential F1 teams to try harder?Bearing in mind the team is defunct, it was interesting there were US F1 representatives present at the hearing. They complained about the budget-cap being scrapped, although the team was announced before the budget-cap was. They argued Bernie Ecclestone’s negative comments had damaged their search for sponsors, but when those comments were made there was already no chance that they had time to design and build cars before Bahrain. The team had proclaimed they had funding in place. When they admitted failure, it was stated everything was fine until in January the sponsor pulled out. A sponsor in motor-racing does not count until the contract is signed and sealed. Obviously, this was not the case for if it was they would have the money or someone to sue. A lot of statements that came out of US F1 subsequently did not bear scrutiny. Did they ever have a sponsor at all, or at best did negotiations with their last hope collapse in January? Was it not part of the FIA selection process to check if the new teams had suitable funding? Perhaps they should fine themselves to complete the nonsense. I do not understand why FIA make life so difficult for new teams. Why not let anyone half-reasonable have a go? If they can not qualify top twenty-six or within 107% they do not race, and exclude them from qualification if on Friday they fail to achieve 110%. FIA have added movable rear-wings to the movable front-wings to aid overtaking. Oppinions seem to vary between it will be unhelpful, as seems to have been the case with the movable front wings, to it will be too helpful, creating artificial overtaking. With double diffusers to be banned, and the return of KERS, it may be an unnecessary complication. FOTA wanted KERS to be given more capacity in it’s allowed usage on a lap. The problem in 2009 was the amount of energy the systems could return to the back wheels in a lap was marginal on justifying the weight and packaging issues involved. FIA have increased the minimum weight-limit but the packaging issue will be even more tricky with fuel-tanks about three times larger. Formula One needs sponsors who need a green angle to justify involvement, even if it is PR-tokenism. If most teams abandoned the concept in ’09 as more trouble than it was worth, why on earth have FIA not increased the KERS allowance, as FOTA asked, for to encourage its use in 2011?
The Wisdom of FIA