Formula 1 numbers - what really happened

OUR spies within the upper echelons of Formula 1 have finally managed to uncover what happened in last week's shenanigans over the numbering system for 2002. It transpires that the numbers are decided upon by Bernie Ecclestone's FOM, but in consultation with the FIA.

However the FIA official involved did not think to inform the FIA President Max Mosley that the system was different from previous years and the numbering system decided by FOM was thus published. The changes were designed to make life easier for race promoters who had complained that the year-by-year changes to the numbering system made it difficult for them to explain which team was which.

The teams, however, immediately began to complain. Initially the federation decided not to change the published system as it would reflect badly on the organization but a conversation between Peter Sauber and Mosley resulted in the FIA President deciding that the system announced was really not fair to Sauber and he then accepted that it would be best for all concerned if the change was made - and that a little adverse publicity for the FIA would be offset by the fact that the federation was seen to be even-handed by the teams.

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