The five-second peace

Three turgid Grands Prix in a row were unsettling enough. But now the ugly spectre of political conflict in Formula One has reared its head once more.

Christian Horner and Bernie EcclestoneThe news that the GPWC-aligned teams were ready to agree terms with Bernie Ecclestone had scarcely sunk in, the hopes for a new era of political stability in the sport barely risen, when the latest edict from President Mosley shattered them into pieces:

No, he would not heed the eight-to-four rejection of the 2008 engine proposals. He wanted his three-year freeze on engine development, and he was going to have it.

The facts: the eight GPWC teams agreed to Bernie Ecclestone’s original proposal that they share 50% of the sports total income; not the 60% they wanted, but Ecclestone conceded to back-date the payments as a compromise.

Under the new arrangements for 2008, technical changes require a simple majority vote to pass. Max Mosley’s plan to freeze engine development for three years was voted down eight to four – Mosley’s backers being Ferrari, Ferrari-aligned Red Bull and Toro Rosso, and the new Prodrive outfit.

Facing such opposition, Mosley has quickly forgotten his championing of democratic rule-making as a solution to F1′s ills. He claims to be hell-bent on a crusade against excessive costs, but his engine rules change for this year has added millions to teams’ bills, and he has repeatedly ignored the wasteful expense of unrestricted testing.

No doubt he has some political objective in mind – and it can only be to drive away the manufacturers (or the ego trip of bending them to his will).

Ross BrawnBut how will this better serve the sport? If an engine freeze were introduced, why would any manufacturer who shows up with an off-the-pace engine wish to remain in the sport for any length of time? If another has a dominantly fast and reliable engine, won’t that destroy the prospect of competitive racing?

Once again Mosley’s motives are at vague at best and it is impossible to frame any defence of his position as being in the best interests of motor sport.

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