Former FIA President Max Mosley claims the FIA will break its own rules set out with the teams if it proceeds to reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix in October without the teams’ unanimous consent.
As the intrigue over the future of the rescheduled Bahrain Grand Prix continues to deepen, both current FIA head Jean Todt and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone have now back flipped and claimed that they will consider a further rescheduling of the race at Sakhir.
There are so many subplots and back stories going on, so let’s try and break them down here…
Just last Friday, the FIA stunned the Formula 1 world by confirming that it would reinstate the Bahrain Grand Prix to the end of October, bumping the inaugural Indian Grand Prix back to a mid-December date, which is too late in the year for many teams’ liking.
It’s been revealed that one of the major flaws in the FIA’s recent fact-finding mission to Bahrain was that it failed to consult with independent human rights groups as to the actual situation there, instead relying on the input from the Bahrain-based National Institute of Human Rights, an organisation closely associated with the Bahraini government.
Meanwhile teams in the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) have vowed to discuss the decision with reports from the very reliable Reuters and Associated Press agencies claiming that violence and oppression is continuing in the island kingdom, despite the state-controlled Bahraini press continuing to claim that everything is under control.
According to a new report in AUTOSPORT, FOTA has since written to the sport’s leaders and confirmed that its members do not wish to race in Bahrain on the new October 30 date, and are instead lobbying for the Indian Grand Prix to be reinstated to its original slot in the calendar.
Opposition protestors are claiming their will garner support at the grassroots level to stage a so-called ‘Day of Rage’ during the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend to highlight the allegations of continued oppression of anti-government protestors.
“We listened to that report from the FIA and that was saying there were no problems at all in Bahrain. But that is not what I am hearing and I think we can see that we need to be careful.”
What is abundantly clear is that the entire issue shows how the sport lacks proper guidance and policy. The sport’s administrators have one set of motives; the folks on the commercial side have a completely different set of needs; in turn, the teams and the media also have their own agendas.
What has happened is now a complete mess because – while there is evidently plenty of talking – no one is listening to the concerns of other parties who all have vested interests in the situation.
A well-run sport would have a central structure for information, strategy and promotion, and it looks as though Formula 1 has lost its way in this regard, acting like a loose assembly of interested parties rather than assuming a ‘one vision, one voice’ approach is clearly so desperately needs.
A proper structure would have seen all concerns discussed with input from all interested parties to achieve a proper consensus.
And while the FIA was very quick to trumpet that it achieved unequivocal support from its members of the World Motor Sport Council to reinstate the race, there was clearly no discussion with – or acknowledgement of the concerns of – FOTA.
And any attempts to suggest that it will put complete faith in the FIA Vice-President’s trip to Bahrain by trying to suggest that it has a full understanding of all of the issues on the back of this visit (no doubt carefully orchestrated by government officials) is truly laughable.
That it’s not wavering on its supposedly iron-clad decisions is clear that the sport needs better decision-making structures and better management. These are problems that have been apparent for years. But can anyone address these problems in a meaningful way to make a difference? Time will only tell…