In this weeks discussion we are looking at the sports rule makers, the FIA to see whether they are still the right people to govern our sport or whether more decisive action on key matters would be achieved through self governance.
This week speaking up for the FIA we have @EwanMarshall from http://www.gpfocus.com, as last week there will be a poll at the end of the discussion plus the comment box for you to have your say,
Given the alleged corruption which has blighted its recent history, it is easy to assume that Formula One would be better off without the FIA. However, to remove the current governing body out of the equation would be the wrong decision as far as the sport is concerned.
The FIA acts as an independent organisation, tasked with ruling on controversial issues within Formula One and legitimising technical and sporting rule changes. Although the teams and other stakeholders sit on the World Motor Sport Council and the F1 Commission to work collectively on future changes, this is always done in full cooperation with the FIA which acts as arbiter.
One of the major weak points of forming a breakaway series would be the inability of the stakeholders (most likely the teams) to be able to governing fairly and cooperatively. As is well known, these outfits are competitive animals and will do anything to gain the upper hand innovatively on their cars. Therefore, would it really be possible for the most advanced teams to constantly make compromises to give the smaller teams a better chance without proper pressure applied from a law maker? Would new rules be able to be conjured up and implemented without entrants descending into argumentative chaos?
Throughout its history Formula One’s relationship with manufacturers has been a constant cycle. Unlike private constructors the participations of these companies in motorsport is dictated by the world economy – meaning that they cannot guarantee their long term commitment to the sport.
Ultimately, any new series would rely heavily on these manufacturers for credibility and financial support – but what would happen if another recession led to a mass pull out?
Undoubtedly any new championship would therefore have to establish an independent body to make sure that these fears were not realised. However, with the support of the world’s motoring bodies and having been a pioneer in safety on and off the track, the FIA already fits this role perfectly.
Neither the teams, the commercial rights holder or the governing body are perfect, but the current set up in Formula One allows for a series of checks and balances to form and these are upheld through the governance of the Federation.
It is true, the teams (and Bernie) have always been in conflict with the FIA. There has been more threatened breakaways in the past every time there was a contentious issue! In 2009 when Jean Todt took over the presidency of the FIA, I for one (forgetting about his Ferrari past) was pleased as I always thought him to be a fair man who didn’t put up with any nonsense.
This unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case with two major issues coming to a head recently. The first being the uprising in Bahrain that started back in March. Although swift action was taken to postpone the race, many thought it better to cancel given the horrific scenes there.
The FIA showed non-committal they had become with the race being put on and off the calendar more times than my left leg doing the hokey cokey! A situation that could have been avoided if stronger leadership was shown from the start.
We have also seen the same level of indecisiveness over the new engine regulations. For over a year we have seen manufactures at logger heads over which way is best for the future of Formula one and the best relevance to their respective road cars. Again we have seen the FIA sitting back on this issue when they should be leading from the front.
As I write this I don’t know if I’m against the FIA in general or just the head man? I do believe that with the demise of the manufacture era, we are seeing more co-operation up and down the pit lane, more teams supplying other teams with parts, technology sharing partnerships and even sharing wind tunnels!
The FIA are doing its utmost to improve Formula 1’s image, in particular on green issues, but I can’t help but think that their lack of action, particularly on the Bahrain issue has done more damage to the sport than their green campaign will ever achieve. If a stronger stance on major points of contention isn’t taken in the future, we could see the credibility of the FIA slipping further giving FOA/FOTA a very strong hand in any future battle for power.