The FIA quietly hands out the prizes

Kimi Raikkonen, FIA Gala, 2007 | FIAThe annual FIA gala was yesterday, at which the prizes for all the top international motor sport competitions were handed out.

Kimi Raikkonen received his Formula 1 World Drivers’ championship trophy and the Bahrain International Circuit was given an award for excellence. The latter seems rather ironic, given that the organisers are not exactly taxed by the kinds of enormous crowds that regularly descend on Silverstone or Monza.

Heaping irony upon irony, the promoters of the United States Grand Prix won the award for best race promoter. Bernie Ecclestone has dropped the event from the 2008 calendar.

Mario Andretti became the fourth recipient of the FIA Gold Medal for Motor Sports. Andretti, the 1978 Formula 1 World Champion, is the only driver ever to have claimed the title and won the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 races (for Indy Cars and stock cars respectively) in America.

He was also a multiple Champ Car champion and won races in a vast array of disciplines including oval races, dirt tracks and drag strips. His 12 career Grand Prix wins hardly to justice to his vast skill, and he thoroughly deserves the award.

But what a pity all this has gone on more or less behind closed doors. Other motor racing championships have the sense to crown their new champion while the eyes of the world are trained on the final round.

Max Mosley, Mario Andretti, FIA Gala, 2007 | FIAThis year the FIA kept everyone waiting for weeks before settling the championship in a court room. They then took two days to throw out McLaren’s protest (against the finishing positions of the Williams and BMW cars) for technical reasons that many observers had expected from the moment the appeal was announced.

Almost seven weeks have passed since the final round of the championship. Would it not made sense to have done this a bit sooner while the rest of the world was paying attention?

Photos: FIA

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14 comments on The FIA quietly hands out the prizes

  1. Robert McKay said on 8th December 2007, 18:18

    I think it all boils down to one thing, to be honest: that Formula 1 does not care about its fans (or at least, nowhere near as much as it ought to).

  2. Perhaps the fia didnt want any awkward questions asked at the event on whether the awards were perhaps – tainted by this years events? – and winners of certain things won by default as the real winners were disallowed? – in the interest of censorship this comment may self destruct – shades of mission impossible music in background!!

  3. I think Robert its a case of the common people dont count – not rich enough for max and bernie to be bothered

  4. It’s true – the FIA cares a whole lot more about their race profits than they do about racing. I know, it’s a business, but still, you don’t get the feeling that they value the fans or even the sport. Think about it: the stands at the United States GP were packed this year, and the Hungarian race was deserted. But which circuit gets to keep a race? Not the one with an emerging market for F1, but Hungary, a GP that’s only on the calendar because of the money it generates. I can’t stand NASCAR but if there’s one thing they do well, it’s cater to their fans, and that’s why it’s ridiculously popular in America.

    The FIA need to take a look at how F1 is being managed and change it. If they don’t, and we see countless processional races in countries that don’t care about F1 (i.e. China and Malaysia), they might wake up one day and find that nobody cares anymore.

  5. I can’t believe that the idiot Tony George was on hand to accept this slap in the face of an award. He should have smashed the trophy and sent equal pieces to Max and Bernie with the thanks of the American racing fans who supported the event; followed by a bill for the cost of the F1 circuit construction at IMS.

  6. Vertigo said on 8th December 2007, 20:43

    Why do we never get to see this ceremony? We have to put up with so much rubbish on TV, the presentation of F1’s awards would be a good spectacle. Maybe they could put it on five – they always show the Laureus awards on Sunday mornings after milkshake!, their kids rubbish.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th December 2007, 23:44

    Actually I think it was on Eurosport but it passed me by completely – perhaps it was only on the European channel and not the British one.

  8. Journeyer said on 9th December 2007, 0:51

    It will be on Eurosport 1 on Sunday night – 2230 GMT, I think. It will be on British Eurosport sometime this week too – Wednesday, I think.

  9. verasaki said on 9th December 2007, 1:06

    There seems to be a rather extreme disconnect between the governors of the spot itself and the body that votes on the “best of”. What a surprise.

  10. Number 38 said on 9th December 2007, 1:31

    If the awards event was poorly televisied in England or Europe try finding it on a North American TV !!! Frankly from the results published here I don’t think we missed much. Mario Andretti deserved his kudos, he’s probably the best race driver EVER, he has won in every disipline but Bahrain….crikey!
    They had to give away 35,000 complimentary tickets to get anyone to sit in the stands!
    Indy won an award…..I’m not going to start that chat but
    the idiot is not Tony George it’s Bernie Ecclestone, let’s get that straight right now!
    It’s usually the second highest attendence race so “interest” is no excuse, all manufacturers want the exposure here, most want TWO USA races but ‘you know who’ is so out of touch with the sport. It’s no longer sport, it is 100% BUSINESS.
    What we need is to have Bahrain and Malayasia and China default on Bernie. Between he and MadMax…….time for another pint…………..

  11. Sorry to disagree Number 38, Tony George is an idiot for single handedly destroying open wheel racing in the US, and showing up for this award. Bernie is NOT an idiot, merely a greedy S.O.B. and I’ll join you for that second pint!

  12. Journeyer said on 9th December 2007, 3:37

    Actually, george, number 38, the sudden closeness of Tony George and F1 seems fishy… Fishy enough for me to believe that F1 will be back in the US of A by 2009.

  13. Did not Bernie say that the promoters in Indy do lousy job, that the F1 is not the event of the year there as i should be, that no one except the fans that come to track even knows about F1 coming to town ? Was not this the “official reason” for ditching the Indy race ?

    And now the same promoters of the same race get the prize for being the Best Promoters? How ridiculous …

    Of course we all know they ditched the race because of money…

  14. AmericanTifosi said on 10th December 2007, 22:15

    What the FIA is basically saying by giving the US GP an award is: “Yeah, we dropped you off the calendar but you didn’t make a big stink about it so here’s a trophy.” Gee thanks. According to F1 Racing magazine America has 243 permanent race tracks, surely one of them must be siutable for Formula 1! Every American F1 fan knows that Indy stinks anyways. Try Laguna Seca.

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