The Pot Is Boiling in Formula One

f1-ferrari21

Ferrari, always the big gorilla in motor racing, threw a monkey wrench into Formula One yesterday. The company threatened, indeed promised, to pull out of next year’s events unless the folks in charge (Féderation Internationale de l’Automobile, or FIA) recant on their bonehead idea to change the rules and effectively create a two-tiered racing system.

f1-ferrari3FIA says it will institute a £40 million budget cap on teams to curb costs and attract new participants. Those who spend more will compete at a big technical disadvantage: Apparently, they won’t be able to use adjustable wings, and there are other “arbitrary” restrictions that have most of the constructors and teams hopping mad.

Today, Renault, a former F1 champion, followed Ferrari’s suit. Toyota and Canada’s Red Bull racing teams are also boycotting, and there are threats from BMW-Sauber and McLaren-Mercedes. In other words, it’s becoming a big flap. Ferrari has been part of the world championship events since they were organized in 1950 and is always the big draw. Michael Schumacher won five championships for them in nine years.

max-mosleyMax Mosley, FIA’s head, has vowed to stand his ground. He’s an interesting guy who, some claim, has done motorsport a lot of good. Others call him a tyrant. Still others call him a proto-Fascist. Max is the son of Oswald Mosley and Diana Mitford, both Nazi sympathizers during WW II (their marriage ceremony included Josef Goebbels and Adolf Hitler). He was accused last year of participating in a bizarre sex orgy, which had

Mosley engaging the services of five prostitutes in London to stage a perverse reenactment of a Nazi concentration camp in which Mosley plays both victim and oppressor, alternately receiving lashes from a dominatrix and barking orders in German to the prostitutes dressed in pseudo-Auschwitz uniforms.

Hey now, that sounds like fun! Max’s full story can be found here, along with his reign at FIA. Let’s just say his tenure has been a stormy one. He’s had a close relationship with Bernie Ecclestone, a Jew, who is the sport’s leading promoter and defends the FIA’s recent decisions. A week ago, Max’s son Alexander was found dead of a suspected drug overdose.

Well, aside from all this soap opera, why should anyone care about Max or Formula One? Because, I think, it represents the pinnacle of motorsports and has an enormous number of fans worldwide. It is a fiercely expensive game to enter (which is what FIA wants to change), but the kind of cost-no-limits engineering required to compete is what makes it the pinnacle—with all its drama.

Do you watch or follow F1 racing? How do you think the FIA flap will be resolved?

—jgoods

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