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Friday, April 13, 2012

FIA, Teams and Bernie Cop Out on Bahrain

I won't be watching

The FIA gave the go ahead this morning to the Bahrain GP.  In their statement, which other websites have reproduced in full.  The FIA decision is stated to be based on the following:

The 2012 calendar, as presented by the CRH, was ratified by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in September 2011. Since then no request from the F1 Commission or the CRH has been made to the WMSC to either postpone or cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Now, if we break the basis of this decision down into its component parts, having regard to recent statements made as well as this final decision the question of who makes the call is clear.

Firstly Bernie came out with the statement that everything was OK but then laid blame off himself around Easter and said it was up to each individual team to decide whether they would go.

The teams then said it was up to the FIA.

And now we have the FIA saying that the F1 Commission or the CRH (Commercial Rights Holder) made no request to the World Motor Sport Council to postpone or cancel the Bahrain Grand Prix - implying that either of these two groups could have done so if they had chosen to.

Who makes up these groups?

The F1 Commission is made up of Teams, the FIA, FOM, and Circuit Owners.  It is chaired by Commission President Bernie Ecclestone.  The 2008 breakdown of seats on the Commission was as follows:

Under the terms of the 2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations the 2008 Formula One Commission consists of six representatives from the competing teams, five representatives from the race promoters, one representative from the commercial rights holder and one representative from the FIA.   

The Formula One Group includes FOM (the CRH) and so sits on the F1 Commission in the guise of President Bernie Ecclestone

Are we all confused?

Well we have a press release from the FIA which seems to imply that Bernie, the Teams, and the FIA (Bernie wearing his numerous hats of F1 Commission President and FOM member, with the FIA and the Teams forming a fundamental part of the rest of the F1 Commission) never asked the FIA to postpone or cancel the Bahrain GP.

Let's say it again - slowly so we and the FIA can understand what the FIA are saying:

1.  Bernie said it was up to the teams to decide
2.  The teams said it was up to the FIA to decide, and
3.  The FIA have said it was up to Bernie, 6 Team representatives, their own FIA representative, and 5 race promoters to decide.

So, Is the FIA in essence saying that 6 F1 Teams and Bernie could have carried the vote to postpone or cancel the Bahrain GP if they had wanted to? And on that basis 6 teams could have carried the vote alone if Bernie and the FIA representative had "recused" themselves from the process.

Of course the figures are all fantasy land stuff because the F1 Commission didn't meet to discuss Bahrain, which means that there was no desire on the part of the Teams, the FOM, Bernie, or the FIA to cancel or postpone the Grand Prix.

One of the F1 Bloggers/Tweeters made an interesting observation earlier in the week about the decision making on this issue and said that what are the chances that it goes full circle, from the FIA, to Bernie, to the Teams and back to the FIA.  How sad that he was right. I wish I could remember who it was

I won't be watching, will you?