Martin Brundle hits back at the FIA over ‘bullying’

Martin Brundle has hit back at the FIA following the news that the sport’s governing body intends to sue the Sunday Times over one of his articles.

In a new piece today entitled “How can Formula One justify blatant double standards?” Brundle defends his earlier claim that the FIA is engaged in a witch-hunt against McLaren and cites its failure to prosecute Renault over allegations of spying to be further proof.

In the article he also reveals that this is not the first time his journalism has been criticised by the FIA:

I expect my accreditation pass for next year will be hindered in some way to make my coverage of F1 more difficult and to punish me. Or they will write to ITV again to say that my commentary is not up to standard despite my unprecedented six Royal Television Society Awards for sports broadcasting. So be it.

He describes the McLaren judgement as being about “negativity and suspicion of possible use of Ferrari information” while the Renault investigation has an, “understanding and supportive nature and one only of occasional ‘strong disapproval’.”

I’ve not quite made my mind up about the Renault verdict just yet – it’s a gigantically complicated affair and I don’twish to jump to conclusions. In between writing this article and the inevitable festive shopping I’ve been poring over the available documents and am preparing what I hope will be a very thorough analysis of them.

Brundle however has set down his case quite clearly and is tackling the FIA head-on. Good for him, I say.

If the FIA are happy they’ve delivered a fair verdict, they have nothing to fear from the kind of logical, rational, transparent criticism that Brundle’s broadcasts and writings are renowned for.

More on F1′s spying investigations

Advert | Go Ad-free

32 comments on Martin Brundle hits back at the FIA over ‘bullying’

  1. powerline2007 said on 10th December 2007, 2:14

    Max & the FIA have just shot themselves in the foot & perhaps in the head as well. The world of journalism is larger than they think. To persecute investigative journalism, Max & the FIA have just gotten themselves lower in the PR war. In the US, they’d have been crucified by the media – nationwide.

  2. the thing that concerns me, that i’m not sure anyone else seems bothered about…

    WHY are the FIA writing to ITV offering opinions on their commentators in the first place?

    what business is it of the FIA?
    how often have they done this, and who else?
    is such a practice even legal under EU law?

    sound like propaganda to me.

  3. Join me & sign this petition to stop the rot in the FIA:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/f1rots/petition.html

  4. Peter said on 10th December 2007, 7:34

    The FIA’s case is against the term witch-hunt, as used by Martin. A witch hunt is generally defined as:
    “the searching out and deliberate harassment of those (as political opponents) with unpopular views”

    The FIA is the governing body of motorsport. By saying the spycase against McLaren is in reality a witch-hunt, somebody says that there is not really a spy case, but the FIA is after McLaren for other reasons.

    Some may agree with that, but I can understand that the FIA is upset and cannot accept that their authority is undermined.

  5. nellyweb said on 10th December 2007, 9:29

    But he didn’t say it “was” a witch hunt, he said it “had the feel” of a witch hunt.

    Massive difference.

    It will be nice to see the FIA defend their actions in a real court instead of the kangaroo ones they normally run.

  6. Scott Joslin said on 10th December 2007, 11:50

    I see the FIA have responded to Brundles article from this weekend. They seem to me like a paranoid girlfriend. They seem all to happy to create these media slagging matches that are far to public, then shoot them down. Where is the professionalism in that? There will always be opinions, and they will never be able to control what the media thinks, they are just perpetuating more dislike and fueling more reason for pundits to comment on them! I agree, with Nellyweb, I would really like to see an investigation to the FIA and the clarity and consistency of the organisation! I hope Ron Dennis is just biding his time compiling a 780 page document on Max!

  7. Nice one, Scott! We need the journalists to be able to say what they think is happening, not just copy whatever the FIA thinks is best. And a 780-page document on the FIA would be amusingly ironic, given the regularity with which we’ve seen that number in recent times…

  8. D Winn said on 10th December 2007, 12:29

    Powerline2007,
    In section 4 it says ‘is seen as an attempt to silent investigative journalism’
    Shouldn’t that be ‘is seen as an attempt to silence investigative journalism’

  9. nellyweb, you are right, and I also would agree, if the headline would have been different to
    “Witch-hunt threatens to spoil world title race”

  10. Kieran said on 10th December 2007, 23:33

    For those who think the FIA have a leg to stand on ,the british system is favoured TOWARDS the press and journalists, but more importantly, the sunday times has the ability to outmuscle the FIA thanks to good old Rupert Murdoch and new corp.

    But don’t forget positives of this case. If Brundle were to lose his pass, he would have free reign to write as he pleases, and may encourage more to do so. This is the sort of pressure needed against the FIA which is more like a despot rigging results and ensuring it will upon all than a governing body.

  11. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th December 2007, 0:26

    My understanding of libel and defamatory laws is at odds with yours, Kieran. I always understood that people prosecuting libel cases preferred to do so in England because the laws are more favourable towards them than journalists, who are very often the defendants in such cases.

    In modern libel cases it is often possible for prosecutors to choose which country they prosecute in, because the article would have been ‘published’ in a large number of countries as it has been put on the internet.

    If Brundle were to lose his pass, he may write what he pleases, but denying him access to the paddock would severely compromise his ability to provide first-hand coverage of Formula 1. Would the FIA do that to such a high-profile figure?

  12. Steven Roy said on 11th December 2007, 1:08

    I would encourage anyone who hasn’t done so to leave a comment against Martin’s latest column.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article3021312.ece

    Petitions are fine but have little chance of reaching the appropriate people but we know the FIA are monitoring Martin’s column. The blazers at the FIA are in the self-protection business above all and if they feel that getting rid of Max is going to give them an easier ride then they will get rid. We have to let them know how we feel. It is also not going to harm any legal case if Martin has a stack of comments and very few negatives. It may also motivate News Corp to go after Max and co if Max bottles out of the court case.

    If you have a racing site or blog post the link and encourage people to comment at Martin’s column.

    As a result of Max’s stupidity Martin is the best chance we have of achieving a change of direction for the sport. Do everything you can to encourage or help Martin. He may be our only hope.

  13. Steven Roy said on 11th December 2007, 1:20

    ITV can be contacted at http://www.itv-f1.com/ContactUs.aspx

    Send messages encouranging ITV to support Martin and to let Martin know we are right behind him.

  14. After McLaren have now “wholeheartedly” apologised to the FIA, it may be a good idea for Martin and The Sunday Times to follow in Sunday’s column.

  15. shane said on 15th December 2007, 6:59

    martin said it was a witch hunt by the fia on mclaren, looks like it was all justified.
    Mclaren are cheats. The result for the championship was the right outcome.
    So now its time for martin to apologise then QUIT.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.