OCTOBER 17, 2008
FIA plans tender for standard F1 engines in 2010, 2011 and 2012
The FIA has announced that it will soon open the tender process for a single engine and transmission supplier for Formula 1. No doubt this will cause a storm of reaction in Formula 1 circles, with the teams pointing out that the engine is a fundamental element in F1 and that standardisation will undermine the ethos on which the sport was built - and could drive away the car manufacturers. Mosley may argue that back in the 1960s and 1970s Formula 1 grew thanks to the Cosworth engine, which was used by all but Ferrari, BRM and Matra.
The impression given by the tender announcement is that this is a negotiating ploy as usual (these things have become transparent in recent years) but one must also consider the possibility that this has now become his intention - insane though that would be. The question that then arises is whether this is in the best interests of the sport, or whether it is just a question of Mosley trying to assert FIA control over a sport which is increasingly moving towards self-policing and does not want the FIA to be messing about with its business. The teams are working to find ways to cut costs and their efforts appear to be going remarkably well. Even Ferrari is opposed to a standard engine and working in league with the other teams to find a better solution. Mosley may believe that the manufacturers are bluffing and will not leave the sport; he may think that the sport will be quite happy without them but what he does not seem to understand is that in actual fact everyone is fed up with the constant interventions in the sport by a governing body that is giving the impression of being more and more out of touch.
When Mosley stood for election back in 1991 he said the following about the interventions in Formula 1 of the unstable FIA President Jean-Marie Balestre.
"Everybody in the federation depends on the establishment for certain things which are vital to their interests of their country and their ASN - a rally, a local championship, whatever. If they do anything which causes difficulty there is the danger that they will lose the particular thing that is vital to them. So they think that in their interests of their club and their country they have to go along with it," he said. "I think you have to encourage the people there to say what they really think and listen to what they have to say, changing the whole atmosphere and style of running. Talking less and listening more.
"Typical of what I am trying to say is that the reason no-one has stood against Balestre until now is not that everyone agrees with him, that there's no-one there who thinks they could do the job better. It's because they fear - rightly or wrongly - that the consequences could be adverse. That's completely wrong. If I am elected, if people stand against me and lose I will still want to work with them and equally if they won I would expect to continue working with them. As in any proper and civilised club it should be an open thing.
"The idea that the federation is the property of one man, and trying to take the presidency from him is like trying to take his house or his car, is alien to any properly run club.
"Overall the only area that works properly is F1 and, at the moment, that is the area where most time tends to be spent. I think that's a great mistake. There are so many things in the federation which don't work that I would be devoting most of my time to them. I think if you had a similar system to F1 in other areas the whole of motor sport would be much stronger. F1 gets on and runs itself. I think that Bernie has created an arena which operates very successfully. The checks and balances in F1 are probably about as good as anything could be in an area like that. Everyone watches everyone else and the federation is supposed to be the sporting referee. I see no need for the president to become involved in the thing at all. I think the stewards should do their job and the starter and safety people should do their jobs. I think it is quite wrong for the president to interfere. The present regime puts all its energy into F1 and I have to say, I think, with negative effect."
Wise words then. Wise words now.
Wise words then. Wise words now.