How Are They Doing: Tony Rates the FIA



I am ready to get on my soapbox and shout out to anyone who will listen.  I have come to the conclusion that the FIA is no longer fit for purpose.  Let us start at the beginning. The FIA or Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, was founded in 1904. Its aims then were to bring ‘coherent governance and safety to motorsport’. It has large expensive offices in France and Geneva and employs many staff.

Now I want to be fair and say that over the years the FIA has done some good by improving safety at tracks, improved car safety. However, most of this has come about because of accidents on track.

The FIA over the last three decades has been run by obnoxious dictators. The first being Jean-Marie Balestre (’85 – ’93). He ruled with an iron fist and ignored everyone around him. He is also responsible for giving Prost the 1989 World Driver Championship. Prost and Senna, both driving for Honda McLaren, collided during the final race of the season in Japan. Prost was unable to continue but Senna rejoined the race and was subsequently disqualified for joining the track unsafely (according to Balestre). As Senna needed to win the race the championship was handed to Prost. Hence the very frosty relationship between them from then on.

After Balestre came Max Mosley (‘93 – ‘08). Mosley, son of the famous marxist leader Oswald Mosley, was well educated, a former part-time racer and co-founder of March Engineering. He really did not in my humble opinion know much about what F1 required, such as  stability, cohesion, steady rules and good fan base. Instead he wanted to change everything. However he apparently learnt German and liked his ‘Fräuleins’ to inflict on him what he was doing to all of us. Yep you got it, a lot of pain!!!

Jean Todt (‘08 – present) Mr. Ferrari himself, or should I say ex-Mr Ferrari, was so full of himself when Schumacher and Ferrari were winning all the titles. Then when Schumacher left he decided he needed something else to do, so why not run for President of FIA? That way he could fulfil more of his own ambitions (oh! and those of his son). What Todt has done over the last few years has been treacherous for F1. I really do not understand where all the ridiculous ideas come from.

Let us look at the reality. Where do I start? How about the FIA rules and regulations. It seems to me that they make a new regulation, wait three weeks then change it, wait another three weeks and change it again. Nobody can keep up. Who actually decides these rules and regulations? I am sure it is not the teams and drivers.

We have the stewards decisions on race weekend. You have to be a psychic to know how a decision will be made. There is absolutely no cohesion from one race to another. Even the drivers are shouting from the rooftops for some semblance of order.

Also we have those penalties for changing engines or certain engine parts. This has to be one of the most ridiculous regulations in current times. If the engines were cheaper with fewer gadgets then you could have more engines and less penalties.

What about the ridiculous thought that the ‘FIA’ can make F1 more environmentally friendly. Let’s just look at this farce. In today’s F1 there are currently twenty one races, held all around the world. The F1 roadshow transports tons of equipment and cars by sea and air. Add to that hundreds of team members, FIA members, FOM, Fans and what do you get? Tons of pollution and greenhouse gases.

To help with reducing pollution the FIA decided that F1 should reduce engine sizes, down from 12 cylinders, to 10, then 8 and now 6. Next week it will probably be 3 and eco-friendly. Will they next ban smoking at the circuits and within a one mile radius?

Then we have those night time races where there are thousands of lights burning brightly, so much so that the Space Station have to draw their curtains to keep the light out!  All in the name of being green and environmentally friendly. How friggin’ false can this all be?

If you take all the countries currently at war, all of the fires that the authorities around the world let burn out of control and the unnecessary travel by thousands of politicians what impact is F1 having? Absolutely nada, nada.

Another thing that bugs me is the ‘new’ FIA baby. The FIA Formula E, you know washing machines on wheels. The money that is being poured into it is unbelievable and they say they want more. It is so environmentally friendly that most tracks do not have sufficient electric supply to cater for the ‘E’ needs so what do they do? Yep, you got it, bring in giant diesel generators and tank loads of diesel fuel along with extra cables and electricity supply boxes. It’s true, I have the pictures!


Formula “Diesel”

Now I have to finish or I will just burst into flames with my anger at how F1 is being mismanaged. My hope is that the teams come together and decide that it is not in their interest or the interest of the F1 sport to sign a new Concorde Agreement with the new owners of F1 and go it alone. Organise a new independent governing body to deal with rules, regulations etc and go back to basics.

More than ever what I want to see is pure honest racing. Man and machine versus man and machine and may the best man win.

My vote is to get rid of the FIA – just my opinion after more than 50 years following the sport.


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