Having been a fan a Formula 1 for a long time now, I am always intrigued by the actions and words of Bernie Ecclestone. Not surprised anymore, mind you, just intrigued.
Mr. Ecclestone has taken a completely different tack than his compatriot Max Mosley. While Max and FOTA have agreed to substantial cost-cutting measures in recent weeks replete with talk of budget caps and specification parts including chassis and engines; Bernie figures that the teams can spend all they want provided they enter a legally binding contract to stay in the sport for a long time.
Now before we get into Bernie’s comments regarding team spending, let us look at what he said this week about Max Mosley and the FIA:
“It was all done for the wrong reasons. He did this when he had a problem with his private life,” Ecclestone, referring to Mosley and last year’s sex scandal, told the Daily Express.
The FIA recently also intervened over the formation of cost-cutting rules, including regulating a test ban — an area not usually involving Mosley’s Paris body.
Additionally, in seeking FIA approval for a change in the scoring system, Ecclestone’s ‘medals’ idea was referred by Mosley to “market research” rather than simply adopted.
“We don’t want to ask the public what they think because, if we do we would have to ask the public about almost every little thing that is decided on,” the 78-year-old billionaire said.
“The sporting regulations basically are what generate the income and we run the commercial business,” he continued.
“The FIA should just be the police looking at the rules. The teams and us should be writing the technical and sporting regulations.”
Ecclestone also hit back at Mosley’s claim that the FIA could exist in the wake of a formula one collapse, insisting that “without us there wouldn’t be a FIA”.
Apparently Bernie is nonplussed with Max’s actions of late and I find that when things become pressing, Bernie usually launches. Speaking of the team spending, Bernie told the Daily Telegraph:
“I always said we should give all those fancy engineers gold-plated consoles and send them off somewhere to play,” Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph. “That’s all they do anyway and it would be far cheaper. We could get the real job done.
“If the manufacturers are prepared to make a long-term commitment, say seven to 10 years, we should let them spend what they want to spend, providing they supply engines and gearboxes at an affordable price.
“Whether they will commit to that I don’t know. Getting them to agree on anything has always been the problem. But if they did it would prevent the kind of thing we have seen with Honda because we could sue the arse off them if they left. They wouldn’t like that.”
Ecclestone also feels that the controversial Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems are an unwise move in the current financial climate.
“I have always been against KERS,” he said. “Whatever they use in F1 they won’t use in a road car, but if that is to be the idea then why not develop it in touring cars. It costs a lot of money when we are trying to save it.”
But he remains bullish about the prospects for the new season, even though the field could shrink to 18 cars if Honda Racing are not saved.
“We are not pessimistic in the slightest,” Ecclestone said. “Nine teams won’t make any difference. It is about drivers, not teams.”
Bernie against KERS, F2, FIA involvement in sporting regulations? So Bernie and FOTA versus the FIA? Is anyone finding the jockeying for position in this pending war for control as interesting as I am? Who has the popcorn?