Features - News Feature
SEPTEMBER 20, 2004
F1 in crisis? Well, it's a wake-up call
Many thousands of words have been written in the last few days about Formula 1 being in a state of crisis. It is, but then it always is. Formula 1 will stagger on as it always has done because the sport is stronger than the constituent parts. It provides a platform for manufacturers and sponsors which nothing else can offer and no matter how much politicking and back-biting goes on, that is not going to change because when the threat to the business becomes too great, there will be a settlement.
Most of the battling is fundamentally unnecessary and a result of the people involved rather than the issues. Ford has been a victim of the sport's inability to react in a sensible way to the world economy. Everyone involved must take some of the blame because all have blocked one idea or another. Testing could have been cut, a better compromise could have been found on engines and the tyre war could have been ended.
Ford's withdrawal is not however the end of the world, as some have written. The chances are that Jaguar Racing will be sold to someone who can afford F1; Cosworth Racing is a nice business and will almost certainly get a new owner. And if Jordan is without an engine, Toyota is there willing to step in if the powers-that-be will accept a small compromise. F1 is not good at compromise but everyone knows that there must come a time when deals have to be done and most seem to agree that that time has now arrived. There is no point in everyone blaming everyone else.
There will be a real crisis in Formula 1 if those involved do not now get around the table and start talking sense to one another. The exit of Ford is a message that the time has come.