You’d almost think Max Mosley wants to drive the manufacturer teams out of Formula 1, wouldn’t you? They’re arrogant, selfish, faceless corporations with a simple agenda to sell more road cars, and they’ll desert the sport without a backward glance at the very moment it needs them. We’re better off without them, aren’t we? As Brawn GP and Red Bull prove, we should go back to the days of the garagistes. Then Mosley could reform March, flog them the modern equivalent of a 761 and slash costs at a stroke. The FIA could even make a few bob on the side. Brilliant!
By the time you read this, Monaco will have been and gone, and more should be known about the shape of Grand Prix racing to come. Or maybe not, of course. Whatever the outcome, we hope a solution has been found that will ensure the continued participation of all the current teams while offering enough of an incentive for a few new ones to join in too.
The two-tier budget cap row has been alarming to watch, as a threat to the very fabric of F1 as we know it has spiralled into proportions comparable to the FISA/FOCA war of the early 1980s. But the most disturbing aspect, above ridiculous class rules and a startling level of control over the spending of private companies, has to be the disclosure that not only does Ferrari get more money from F1 than any other team, it has also enjoyed a veto over rule changes since 1998. Adrian Newey must have been interested to hear that. In ’98 he came up with a pioneering energy recovery system for McLaren (see Motor Sport, September 2008), which was approved by the FIA, then mysteriously banned. He had his suspicions about what had happened – now he can be sure.
Ferrari’s revelation of its ‘special relationship’ only caused a ripple of surprise in F1, which speaks volumes. That it should follow a World Motor Sport Council meeting where the budget cap was rubber-stamped, but which had been called for a hearing about a team bringing the sport into disrepute was faintly hysterical.
Quite how a non-commercial regulatory body can justify such a deal with one of its participants is hard to fathom. But that’s also true of its decision to allow Bernie Ecclestone to sell F1 to a corporate bank for 100 years. But what am I thinking? This is the FIA – justification doesn’t come into it.
The opportunity for Motor Sport to interview Sally Swart (née Stokes) for this issue was something we were all excited about. Here was the woman who was Jim Clark’s girlfriend during the height of his fame, accepting a request to talk candidly about the man we all revere as (at least) the greatest racing driver of his generation. Mrs Swart has only rarely given interviews since Clark’s death in April 1968, and yet it could be argued she knew him better than anyone during the height of his career. Would she offer a few nuggets about the brilliant Scot who never embraced his fame? Turn to page 41 to find out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
But before you read it, I should offer a warning. She has a shock revelation about Clark’s favourite film… It’s a stark reminder that nobody – not even the great Jim Clark – is perfect!