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JULY 6, 2005

The crisis moves to Munich

Today in Munich there is another meeting of the Formula 1 teams which are opposed to the current way in which the sport is being run and, depending on who you talk to, this meeting will either finalise the future rules package which the teams have been working on for the last six months or it will pick a candidate to stand against Max Mosley in the FIA elections in October. Perhaps both.

If the latter does occur, it is going to be a bitter campaign because Mosley and his supporters have turned the FIA into a fortress. The electoral system was changed just a few months ago to favour the incumbent and all internal resistance to Mosley seems to have been crushed, or at least has gone underground. The current structure exists because the people involved do not want things to change. There is nothing wrong with such a system as long as people outside are happy but increasingly, and particularly in the high profile world of Formula 1, they are not. There is griping in World Rallying, there is discontent in trucks. There are law suits in raid rallying.

The election in October will provide a test for Mosley. If the FIA wants to keep him on as its leader, then so be it. The risk of doing that is that it will plunge the opposing forces into further and more extreme acts of rebellion and perhaps even secession.

This is all politics. Both sides have elements in their arguments that make some sense. Both sides have done things which might be construed as being right and as being wrong. But fundamentally, when all is said and done, it is a battle for control of the sport, disguised behind populist notions such as safety, cost-cutting and better racing.

Race fans do not care about rich men fighting over money nor about one man's ego against another man's ego, unless these men are driving racing cars. In their battles to be in control the people in the sport are forgetting the sport itself, forgetting the fans who ultimately pay for it all.

There needs to be an end to this politics or else one drifts into a situation as they have today in France where the entire political class is not trusted by the people. The process of change, if there is to be change, needs to be done quickly.

Let us get back to the racing. To the things that matter. To the fact that this is a sport. An entertainment. A diversion from the daily drudge of life, a diversion from politics and wars and the other things that fill newspapers.

The world has plenty of other diversions if motor racing becomes dull and stupid. Everyone is fighting for space in the newspapers and on TV. Everyone wants to be in the spotlight but when you are in the spotlight, it is intelligent not to mess it up.

There is nothing new under the sun and one can find the same story over and over in human history.

In fact it is encapsulated in a story from Aesop which we learn as children and should never forget.

"One day a countryman going to the nest of his goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When he took it up it was as heavy as lead and he was going to throw it away, because he thought a trick had been played upon him. But he took it home on second thoughts, and soon found to his delight that it was an egg of pure gold. Every morning the same thing occurred, and he soon became rich by selling his eggs. As he grew rich he grew greedy; and thinking to get at once all the gold the goose could give, he killed it and opened it only to find nothing.

"Greed oft over-reaches itself."