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Mosley needs to think rationally

Instead of headlines anticipating one of the most closely fought Monaco Grand Prix in its over 80-year history, news reports are full of legal wrangles and the threatened boycott of the series by Ferrari in 2010. What an own goal! Steve Slater examines...

india Updated: May 22, 2009 00:26 IST

The Monaco GP, along with Singapore, is the jewel in the sport's crown. For many big companies, entertaining VIP clients in Monaco is the reason they invest money in Formula One.

So the current meltdown of Formula One, on the eve of one of its most important events, smacks (sorry Max) of mismanagement by both, the teams and the sports governing body.

Instead of headlines anticipating one of the most closely fought Monaco Grand Prix in its over 80-year history, news reports are full of legal wrangles and the threatened boycott of the series by Ferrari in 2010. What an own goal!

I think Max Mosely's attempts to rule by presidential edict has done irreparable damage to the sport he is supposed to administer. His proposal that teams slash budgets by over 75% overnight, are unrealistic.

The FIA proposals for 2010 include a budget cap of £40m, excluding the cost of engines, drivers' salaries, hospitality and marketing.

Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and the Red Bull-backed teams, who have all threatened not to sign up for the 2010 championship, spend at least twice, in some cases more than four times that amount.

They each employ as many as 700 people to design, develop, build and run their cars. It is excessive, true, but to expect them to sack over half of their highly skilled and successful staff in the space of the next few months, is not done.

The first big question is, would the sport survive without Ferrari, a team that has been part of the Grand Prix for six decades and is probably the most successful luxury brand name in the world? There are more Ferrari fans around the world than for most of the other teams put together.

I suspect Formula One would continue to limp on for a year or two without Ferrari's presence, and it would be like a ship damaged below the water line. Another storm would sink it.

Equally though, could Ferrari do without the sport which is at its heart? I don't think so. Ferrari has built its brand, its fan base and its customers, thanks to Formula One and its TV coverage. My suspicion is that the teams will force mad Max to tone down some of his crazier demands and then they will commit to 2010. In fact, I would not be too surprised to hear that peace has been declared by this weekend's Monaco GP.

Which, at last, brings us to this weekend's race.

The tight confines of Monaco mean that the cars are less dependent on aerodynamic downforce and rely more on mechanical grip and traction out of slow speed corners. Of the four drivers, my money is on the Aussie. Ferrari, I suspect, will improve, but may not necessarily have the pure pace or reliability to go for a win.

Steve Slater is a renowned F1 commentator on Espn Star Sports

Rosberg fastest

AP adds from Monaco: Nico Rosberg continued his impressive form in practice by setting the fastest lap ahead of Formula One's Monaco GP, where defending champion Lewis Hamilton showed McLaren could just be a contender. Rosberg clocked a best time of 1 minute, 15.243 seconds.