Honda website
Honda website

APRIL 26, 2008

The F1 bosses go to a meeting

The Formula 1 team principals gathered for a meeting on Saturday morning in Barcelona and, after a fruitless discussion about whether to speed up or slow down the introduction of KERS, the conversation turned to whether or not the teams should issue a public statement asking FIA President Max Mosley to resign.

This is largely a question of self-preservation as F1 teams are worried about the effect of the Mosley Scandal on the sport and on their sponsorships. Some feel that Mosley has to go but are worried that touring clubs will win power and that the influence enjoyed by the sport will suffer as a result.

One way or another, a rapid settlement is considered important. From what we are now hearing, Mosley is still deciding whether he wants to fight on or whether he will agree to back down but will be able to manoeuvre a situation in which Jean Todt is named as his successor. This is not seen as a good idea by many in F1 circles, because of the strong perception that the FIA and Ferrari are too close. One of the FIA Deputy-Presidents, Marco Piccinini, is a Ferrari board member, although obviously he would fade from the scene if Todt arrived.

The exact contents of the letter under discussion are not known at the moment, but three teams let it be known that they could not sign the letter without first asking permission from the top management of the companies involved. Logically, this would be the two Red Bull teams and Ferrari. Most of the other teams have already taken positions on the matter, although Renault has kept very quiet and has not aligned itself with the other manufacturers.

We hear that one team questioned the process by which the signing would occur (ie who would sign in what order) and that resulted in a brisk exchange of views and the meeting breaking up. It remains to be seen whether the letter will do the rounds of the paddock in Barcelona and who will sign. If everyone does, including CVC Capital Partners and Bernie Ecclestone, it would be a major blow for Mosley, and might push him down the path of getting support for Todt. That would be a phyrric victory of sorts.

It is all very well for the F1 people to think they can control what happens at the FIA, but the fact remains that the final decision rests with the automobile clubs and there may be moves going on from some of them to come up a different candidate to challenge the current status quo. The influence of the sport is important but a compromise candidate might be a better option.