Matters of moment, April 1995

A false dawn?

Last month, our editorial touched upon Max Mosley’s optimism that Formula One would be free of the odious controversies which marred much of 1994. Sad, then, that at the time of writing, with only a dozen days to go before the start of the Grand Prix season, only a fistful of racing drivers were actually eligible to race at Interlagos on March 26.

Sensibly, the FIA and the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association are trying to play down the Superlicence question. Mosley refuses to make any comment at all, while the drivers themselves are playing their cards close to their chests.

They will say, simply, that they are unhappy with the way certain sections of the Superlicence application form are worded, and that they haven’t signed it as a consequence. Yet, in the next breath, they breeze away suggestions that there is a risk of a strike in the manner of that which occurred at Kyalami in 1982.

It will, they insist, be sorted out.

However, if the problem hadn’t been resolved as most teams were preparing to catch their flights to Brazil, and it hadn’t, then it is unrealistic to think that there won’t be a sour taste in the mouth of one organisation or the other by the time they arrive.

And that is no way to start the year.

Unpalatable as it may seem to the FIA, it is going to have to accept that the GPDA, in its current form, is here to stay. The events of 1994 may have been discordant, and at times downright tragic, but they served to strengthen the drivers’ resolve. And the FIA needs to be aware of as much.

We’re not suggesting that the drivers have it all their own way. We are, however, suggesting that the FIA adopts a flexible stance. Asked what the FIA’s response to the drivers’ initial objections had been, one leading runner replied, “not encouraging”.

And at a time when the sport is in desperate need of restoring its credibility, that in itself is the last thing we need to hear at the dawn of a new Grand Prix season.