Save F1 or stick with Mosley: the World Motor Sports Council?s choice (Updated)

Today's World Motor Sports Council meeting is critical to F1's future

Today's World Motor Sports Council meeting is critical to F1's future

Today?s World Motor Sports Council meeting was originally set to ratify the FIA?s planned entry list for 2010.

But the failure of President Max Mosley to supply a list, and the declaration by eight of F1?s ten teams that they will form their own breakaway championship unless he steps aside, leaves the WMSC with a straight choice:

Cast Mosley aside – or provoke a split that could destroy Formula 1.

Update: Mosley claims the threat of a split has been avoided and he will not stand for re-election. More in the comments.

A credible threat?

It has been suggested by some that FOTA?s threat to form a breakaway championship is merely a bargaining tool with no serious weight behind it.

It would not be the first time such threats had been made and come to naught. Only four years ago the teams warned they would form their own Grand Prix World Championship but ultimately backed down. In 1980 the Formula One Constructors? Association (led by Bernie Ecclestone and aided by Max Mosley) made a similar claim which also proved false.

FOTA is wisely presenting its breakaway championship as a last resort because it is the outcome no-one really wants. They have not event gone so far as to give it a name. Indeed, it was Mosley who first suggested they should break away, handing useful ammunition to FOTA who can now claim the whole thing was his idea, further undermining his position.

But does this mean we should doubt the seriousness of their threat? Some believe that, having announced their rival championship in June, FOTA cannot get it ready for the start of next year.

There has been speculation that Ferrari’s involvement in A1 Grand Prix (to which it supplies cars) means FOTA could adopt the infrastructure of the struggling series to get its championship up and running. This time last year the next A1 Grand Prix schedule had already been announced, but the 2009/10 calendar has not yet been published.

Nor should we discount the possibility of the teams decamping en masse to a rival championship – for example the Le Mans Series which, bolstered with a few rounds from its counterpart American series, could serve as an alternative. It would offer the technical freedom the teams crave, with petrol and diesel engines already competing side-by-side and hybrid engines due to be introduced soon.

The failure of ‘divide and rule’

Mosley’s hope that FOTA’s breakaway threat isn’t serious at least appears more realistic than the prospects of FOTA’s eight teams being divided. Writing in Autosport (sub. req.), Dieter Rencken suggests the total value of the bond entered into by the alliance is worth ??1bn (??858m / $1.4bn), a powerful indication of their commitment not only to each other, but also to competing in international motor sport.

Bernie Ecclestone has said he is “not going to let things disintegrate over what is, in the end, basically nothing.” He hasn’t indicated which side of the divide he is going to come down on, but it would be a first for Ecclestone if he didn’t pick the one that is going to make him the most money. So ask yourself, are the sponsors and the cash-rich Asian governments going to pour their cash into the championship with Force India and Campos or the one with Ferrari and McLaren?

Today the World Motor Sports Council must ask how the FIA president has managed to take eight teams including some of F1’s most historic names, who are prepared to commit to competing in Formula 1 in the future, and alienate them from the sport entirely. With Luca di Montezemolo representing Ferrari and FOTA to put forwards their case, it is likely to be an explosive event.

The alternative Mosley offers is a world championship bereft not only of its major competitors, but increasing numbers of the new teams that submitted entries for 2010, which are now backing away because the sport is in such a mess.

FOTA is not seeking a break from F1 or even a break from the FIA – it wants Max Mosley replaced by someone they can trust. If the WMSC does not take a clear step towards making that a reality, then with every passing day the dire prospect of a split in Formula 1 will become even more likely.

More on the FIA-FOTA row

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146 comments on Save F1 or stick with Mosley: the World Motor Sports Council?s choice (Updated)

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  1. Gman said on 24th June 2009, 0:02

    Mosley out, Nick Craw in, baby!! :)

    • scunnyman said on 24th June 2009, 3:25

      Well m8 i have very little faith in FIA anymore so if this guy is a s good as you think, and no real compromise can be found in this saga, then maybe he can be brought in to any organisation setup to oversee FOTA’s as President?

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 24th June 2009, 6:50

      Alternately, Michel Boeri. He was considered the natural successor to Jean-Marie Balstere. I can’t remember Balstere because I was six years old when he left, but I can’t see how anybody could be worse than Max Mosley, unless it’s Megatron (yeah, I just saw Revenge of the Fallen, so ebar with me).

      • Sush Meerkat said on 24th June 2009, 7:38

        The parallels between Megatron and Max Mosley are striking now you mention it Prisoner.

      • scunnyman said on 24th June 2009, 8:27

        OMG prisoner you young pup, i thought with your comments that you was an old fart.
        wow!!! lol

  2. Kovy said on 24th June 2009, 0:07

    Bernie needs to go to. I was amazed when I watched the Silverstone coverage how everyone was saying how Bernie is the only man who can fix things. No, he’s part of the problem, taking too much money and simply going to wherever pays the most.

    • Martin said on 24th June 2009, 1:01

      You are right on the money. Bernie has destroyed F1 with his going to all these asian tracks and other places that have no true place in motorsports. He also only picks countries and cities that he can extort millions of dollars out of just to have the race. If it was so important why didnt they have tracks 30 or even 20 years ago. Only countries in the far eas that should be on the schedule are Japan and Austrailia, the other countries can try but they arent part of the F1 world.

      • Achilles said on 24th June 2009, 1:46

        I always thought F1 was global….

        • Martin said on 24th June 2009, 3:12

          Not really, It has always mainly been a europe and Americas thing. It only became an venue in the far east(excluding japan and austrailia) when Bernie went after the huge money to line his pockets.
          If the global financial meltdown was truly as bad as Max and others would lead you to believe, there would already be no F1 as companies would have already pulled all their sponsorship. Honda left because they were getting their asses handed to them left and right after dumping all that money into it and they just wanted out. It wasnt like the last time when Williams and Mclaren were using their engins and cleaning up big time.
          When the chips are truly down, only the real players are going to play. That includes the nations that have made F1 what it is, and that isnt malaysia or China or any Mid east tracks. Going back to the old tracks that made the sport is the key. That and getting rid of Bernie and Max.

          • Indeed — countries without home-grown open-wheel racing at F3 level or above are just not ready to get their own F1 race. They are just prestige projects for the national governments.

    • scunnyman said on 24th June 2009, 3:14

      “In 1980 the Formula One Constructors’ Association (led by Bernie Ecclestone and aided by Max Mosley) made a similar claim which also proved false.”
      I wonder if Max has been thinking that, and still thinking that FOTA is bluffing, because when he and bernie challenged the governing body it turned out to be a bluff.
      I believe there is too much at stake for FOTA to be bluffing, and if they are then my respect for what they are doing will drop like a stone.
      “There has been speculation that Ferrari’s involvement in A1 Grand Prix (to which it supplies cars) means FOTA could adopt the infrastructure of the struggling series to get its championship up and running. This time last year the next A1 Grand Prix schedule had already been announced, but the 2009/10 calendar has not yet been published.”
      Now can anyone tell me if this A1GP series is really a viable colution? I have never watched it, and i don’t know the circuits. What would happen to the current teams in A1GP? the staff, the drivers. I’m guessing that because the calendar for next years’s A1GP has not been published yet as it should have been by now that it is being considered.
      But the problem is far more elaborate than just having the WMSC saving F1. Yes they may decide to insist on Mosley stepping down,(highly doubtful), especially as mosley will be able to make the case for blaming FOTA for this whole mess. But how do we know there aren’t dozens more in FIA who are just as bad and would not make the changes in the governance of F1 which are necessary. So really the WMSC need to do far more than forcing Mosley out. I don’t know how far WMSC’s power goes, but they need to remove Mosley and get his Vice-President out too, then get FOTA to sit down with FIA and negotiate an end to the split where FOTA can be satisfied with a change in how F1 is governed.

      Now during the BBC’s covergae of qualifying for the British Grand prix there was a lot of talk about getting Bernie Ecclestone to sort this problem out, even going as far as asking him to his face. Don’t they realise that Bernie is as much to blame for this situation as Mosley, and with so many people thinking he can sort this out only feeds his giant EGO.
      The WMSC needs to look at how Bernie, FOM and CVC are running the sport and see how things can be changed for the better.

      Maybe the WMSC can organise a meeting between FIA, Bernie Ecclestone/CVC and FOTA to try and mediate a way out of this mess. I would also say, if it is possible and allowed their could be someone who is totally impartial to head the meeting to oversee proceedings to make sure everyone talks properly, and not resort to name calling (yes i’m talking to you Max Mosley).
      I would say they need impartiality, because i don’t fully trust the WMSC.

      • Martin said on 24th June 2009, 3:33

        You are wise not to trust. They have proven that they are all in colution.
        They make bad decisions and then have aggressive reactions to criticism.
        In retrospect, alot of the harrasing of Mclaren now seem to shed more light inot the problems at the FIA and WMSC.
        Maybe spygate was justified, but it was really between the teams Ferrari and Mclaren, the FIA and WMSC should have stayed out of it.
        I also believe that they overreacted to Hamilton lying this season in the opener.
        I believe the inflated that issue to deflect other issues within F!.

      • Sush Meerkat said on 24th June 2009, 7:43

        I wonder if Max has been thinking that, and still thinking that FOTA is bluffing, because when he and bernie challenged the governing body it turned out to be a bluff

        I was thinking that too Scunnyman, if he thinks that way then his massive intellect took a stubble.

        Alot of talk about Luca versus Max in the media, I think people need to think about John Howett.

        He’s a businessman first and foremost, his love and passion isn’t F1, he’s only the top Toyota man because of his skills in business. We need a psycho evaluation of him instead for once.

  3. TommyB89 said on 24th June 2009, 0:10

    What are you going to do when F1 dies Keith? do FOTAfanatic or carry on f1fanatic and follow a glamorised F3 series :P

    • Sush Meerkat said on 24th June 2009, 7:47

      FOTA wont be allowed to call themselves FOTA when the poo hits the fan.

      Because it has Formula 1 in the name.

      • scunnyman said on 24th June 2009, 9:03

        Yes Sush i said the exact same thing the other day.

        I wonder what they will change their name to?

        Maybe something they can use in the championship name too. Hopefully something catchy.

        Nope… can’t think of anything.

        • “F1″ and “IndyCar” are nice, short and catchy. Champ Car tried something like “Champ Car World Series” which was too long.

          Maybe “Grand Prix 1″? Or would they get sued by whoever holds GP2 rights?

          • Vik Stone said on 24th June 2009, 19:35

            My understanding is that Bernie owns the right to the name “GP1″. So that’s that.

      • TommyB said on 24th June 2009, 14:18

        poo hits the fan.


  4. Michael said on 24th June 2009, 0:32

    The FIA will support Mosley because they are all hand picked yes men without any interest in motorsport. Mosley will tell them what to do and they will do it. I fear tomorrow will be a disaster for formula one

    but my fingers are crossed

    • Martin said on 24th June 2009, 1:04

      I hope they do exactly what Max tells them to do. Then the true colors of the Fia will be known and they will have signed their own demise.
      Fota can make this work. They can do it if they dont get super greedy and let everyone involved make money. Not just 1 or 2 as has happened with Bernie and Max.

  5. Antiriad said on 24th June 2009, 0:38

    One can only hope that the WMSC will see sense and ditch Mosley, whilst Bernie accepts that the game is up and agrees to take much less money.

    Whether it will happen is another matter…

    • scunnyman said on 24th June 2009, 3:36

      What i’d like to know Keith, or anybody who knows.
      If the FIA sold the commercial rights to F1 for $240m to Bernie for 99 years, where did FIA get the rights? and what did the FIA do with the $240m.
      I was under the impression that the FIA was non profit, i don’t see where $240m has been spent in F1.

      • Nik said on 24th June 2009, 15:59

        they placed the $320 into a fund. the interest earned from that money is spent on safety and other developments. ie. none of the principal has as yet been spent.

        FIA sold them the rights to the FIA F1 world championship. Bernie actually holds the trademarks within one of his many operating companies.

  6. Achilles said on 24th June 2009, 1:51

    Fota wants Max replaced with someone they can trust, that would be Ferrari then…..

  7. phil c said on 24th June 2009, 1:52

    Personally I think regardless of the decision today the teams will still tell the FIA to get lost. The issue is about power and money and rightly so. There is no contract tying the 5 teams to the f1 championship. As for the other three teams there is a valid argument they have been breached and a court case will be heard. Not only this nobody can stop them competing in a championship in another championship. Bernie and the FIA have stuffed up because they didn’t tie the teams in when they had a chance and to make matters worse the FIA have not adhered to the Concorde agreement in particular the introduction of new rules.
    FOTA will start a new series, it wont be as valuable as f1 is but, the teams will be earning as much money if not considerably more if the start one, inturn cancelling this bulls**t financial think max keeps going on about. The only thing that will be different is the name f1, vs A1 or FOTA GP. Max getting the sack wont do a thing. It is the rules and money.

    • Martin said on 24th June 2009, 3:26

      If Fota plays this right they get rid of the both of them(Bernie and Max). All they have to do is get a few good people in the marketing area and make the tracks a decent deal where they all make money and everyone will win, the teams, the tracks, the merchandisers and best of all us, the fans.
      CVC may go belly up but so what, they shouldnt have relied on Bernie so much. They would have made a ton of money except ALL thye could see was the great fortunes guaranteed by Bernie, and the only places willing to pay it are the far east right now. Just look, Hochenheim is saying they cant afford the race anymore, so is France, Canada, the US told them to **** off after the debacle of 2006, even Silverstone couldnt aford Bernie and company.(talk about a man that would sell his own mother and ship her COD)
      No, I think that a little bit of poetic justice is being dealt out right now after all the years of taking advantage of the teams the sport and the fans.

      • David BR said on 24th June 2009, 13:10

        Spot on Martin! FIA should also consider the fact that their name worldwide has been massively tarnished by Mosley’s presidency.

      • gabal said on 24th June 2009, 14:28

        rules won’t be the same – we will have refueling ban, movable rear wings and possibly larger rear tyres so balance issues by using KERS won’t be so big…

        Maybe FOTA managed to pull through their revamped points system proposal too… one can hope.

  8. The WMSC cannot ditch Max at this juncture because the FIA Statutes do not permit it. The most they can do in that direction is persuade someone on the FIA Senate to propose a vote of confidence, which will take between four and six weeks to activate.

  9. It is governance,fair return on investment, perceived value, and equall to al the preceeding, fair treatment ANDvalue for thr fans, who in the long run actually pay for it all through consumerism.
    Fota, break away, no matter what happens tomorrow. You can return to the fold when there is a worthy fold to return to.


  10. theRoswellite said on 24th June 2009, 3:38

    The strength of “F1″ resides primarily in the fan base. They don’t watch, they don’t attend….the series dies.

    Secondarily, the heart of “F1″ comes from having the best teams and drivers in the world.

    In the last place of honor comes the regulating body. The FIA has developed the view that the governing body, not the governed occupy the seat of real power. Mr. Mosley should review his basic political history, or perhaps he skipped class the day this concept was presented.

    “F1″, by any name, can exist if it responds to the wishes of it’s constituency. A “new” formula, under FOTA, will do this, and the fans will follow.

    “F1″ will not die with a seperation from the FIA, in fact it will begin to function in a much more reasonable and responsive manner.

    Goodnight Mr. Mosley……soon to be followed by your shadow.

  11. Melanie said on 24th June 2009, 4:57

    I dont understand why some people believe that FOTA will not be able to setup their own series. BMW already has Formula BMW, Renault has Formula Renault, Ferrari have their affiliation with A1GP and Red Bull have their own air race. I would venture to say that they could very easily start a new series if they wish too, and most importantly they also have the money.

    FOTA doesn’t need Bernie, and part of their argument is the current revenue distribution and outstanding revenue, so Bernie are not going to be part of the series (if there is one)and he shouldn’t be.

    It will be interesting to see how the WMSC reacts today, in light of the fact that Mosley have stated his intentions for again running as FIA president.

  12. Prisoner Monkeys said on 24th June 2009, 6:56

    I think that if they could get him on their terms, FOTA would take Bernie Ecclestone for the simple fact that the man knows all the right people to hlp them get started. He knows more about setting up events and securing commercial agreements than anyone else in the sport, and can make FOTA’s life much, much easier. Given the chance, they’d be mad not to take him on if he were agreeable.

    As for the FIA, I’ve been hanging around the Autosport forums a bit lately – and generally causing chaos there – and a lot of them seem to think tat the FIA is made up entirely of Mosley’s lapdogs. It’s true that the President has too much power, but surely there’s at least one person in the organisation who is questioning things. FOTA are insisting they’re unhappy with the sport’s governance, Mosley keep changing his stance from negotiation to litigation to negotiation, the manufacturers’ union is with FOTA when Mosley was sure they’d side with him. To me, just one of these is evidence enough that something is very wrong with the sport, but we have all three … what does that tell you?

  13. IDR said on 24th June 2009, 7:20

    It would be great if at least for once, this matter will be fixed (and closed) today, but I’m afraid, the never-ending story of FIA-FOM-TEAMS will continue for many months.

    I’m really tired of listening this “song” every year; with different matters (Spygate, sex scandal, breakaway…), but always with the same protagonist: Max Mosley.

  14. Brawn said on 24th June 2009, 8:17

    The FIA are useless in my opinion, yeah you need rules to race but the FIA isnt made of drivers or even fans, its men in suits led by a perverted Nazi…

    They also proved their rules are rubbish, the rules for this year for example, KERS has been a monumental waste of money which is now only being used by 1 team trying to get a return… they then say next year the teams must not spend much money, where do they get off? also all this aerodynamic busines, there is no notable change in the racing from all their new rules, and now trying to inplement even worse ones they have driven the teams away… they are so useless.

    Lets have the new series :) Id call it FTFIA- F the FIA :D

  15. DGR-F1 said on 24th June 2009, 8:28

    I think that a key factor is that this is possibly the third or fourth time Max has promised to step down at the end of a year, and then decided after a ‘crises’ that in fact he cannot go as he is the only man able to sort it out.
    So there are a few questions to come out of this:
    1. Does the man believe that motorsport (and F1 in particular) is only there to boost his ego?
    2. How many of the recent ‘crises’ have been engineered by him and his cronies to keep him in power?
    3. Why does he still have a following within the FIA when by now its obvious he is on a power-trip?
    4. How much damage is all this doing to the rest of motorsport? Especially that ‘controlled’ by the FIA?
    5. When will he admit that the FOTA argument is nothing to do with his ‘cost-cutting’ measures?

    • scunnyman said on 24th June 2009, 9:22

      1. Does the man believe that motorsport (and F1 in particular) is only there to boost his ego?

      Well i’m sure when Max first got into motorpsort he had a passion and wanted to help improve it, and to a certain extent he has. However, like his dad, he thrives on power and the thrill of an argument. It is well known that he is VERY intelligent, and a lot of these type of guys tend to start arguments so they can win and make you look stupid and make them look powerful. Right now i would say his passion for motorsport has changed to one of ego boosting yes.

      2. How many of the recent ‘crises’ have been engineered by him and his cronies to keep him in power?

      Most if not all i would say.

      3. Why does he still have a following within the FIA when by now its obvious he is on a power-trip?

      In my own personal opinion i would have to say it is down to stuff he has got on people making them scared to go against Max. Or Monies paid to certain individuals/organisations etc. Maybe favours made to certain parties. Or perhaps all the above.

      4. How much damage is all this doing to the rest of motorsport? Especially that ‘controlled’ by the FIA?

      I’m sure all or most of the other FIA governed racing series are looking at this problem very closely. If it can happen in F1 then it can happen in any of the others.
      This saga could well spell the end of the FIA, or the FIA as we know it. And it might come sooner than anyone might think.

      5. When will he admit that the FOTA argument is nothing to do with his ‘cost-cutting’ measures.


      It’s all FOTA’s fault, not his, not Bernie’s. he blames everyone else but himself. He is king of the hill and doesn’t want to let it go. It’s time for someone to knock him off his hill.

      Good questions DGR-F1. thanks

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