SEPTEMBER 5, 2003
This whole tire business...
The last few days have seen a number of daft remarks being made by some of those involved in the current tire controversy. There have been suggestions that there might be a boycott at Monza. This is unlikely as teams are legally bound to attend the races under the Concorde Agreement. There has also been absurd talk of reclassifying all the races held this year. These are just attempts to disrupt rival teams in the run-up to the World Championship showdown.
The claims and counter-claims have served simply to cloud what has been a very good World Championship and highlight the fact that there are some people in Formula 1 who believe that winning at any cost is still winning and that it is not important if the sport suffers as a result. It is an indication that some teams are obviously in need of success to justify their existence to their paymasters and as such perhaps highlights a fundamental weakness in the state of Formula 1 at the moment.
It is fair to say that everyone involved in Formula 1 is looking for an unfair advantage. Most do it within the regulations because they are by nature sportsmen. There are a small handful of people in F1 who appear to be unencumbered by such morality but who in the past have escaped justice because it was deemed in the best interests of the sport for their antics to be swept under the carpet.
The whole business over the illegal use of different tire compounds earlier this year is an example of how such matters should be handled. In that case the teams were made aware that such activities would not be tolerated, in much the same way as the FIA tried to do with the warning letter about tread width a week ago. The difference was that when the suggestion of compound-switching came to light there was no-one who wanted to use the situation to try to hurt the opposition. As a result the stories did not leak into the mainstream press and the problem was solved.
The current crisis is as much to do with manipulating the media to put pressure on rivals as it is to the gains and losses of a few millimeters of tread width.
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