Power to the drivers!

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Sir,

The latest FISA fiasco over superlicences makes me wonder why a sport such as motor racing is governed by a bunch of bureaucrats whose qualifications could not make them further removed from their posts. Who are the people who form FISA and where do they come from? How is it that someone like J-M Balestre can be president of the FIA when his ‘solutions’ to the constant problems faced in governing motor sport seem to most of its fans to be the opposite of what should be done? I realise that J-M Balestre cannot be totally blamed for the present driver/FISA conflict, but how is it that decisions can be made concerning the drivers without their prior consultation?

Five years ago, Didier Pironi attempted to set up a drivers’ association. FISA was too arrogant to listen to them. I believe that those closest to a profession should represent it. For example, the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (SIAD) is composed of artists and designers, and nobody who is unrelated to the profession. Why can’t the drivers decide the rules for their own category of the sport?

Although Bernie Ecclestone can be easily criticised, it is his hard graft on behalf of FOCA which has seen Formula One survive. The business side of F1 is adequately taken care of by him.

It would be a mistake to allow the designers to decide rule changes. Patrick Head once said that he left the pits in one practice to watch the cars in action, and was stunned at the immense speed at which the drivers took the corners. If someone such as Head could be so close and yet so far from his sport, it is obvious that only the drivers have a total picture of the exact safety measures in car and circuit design which must be implemented.

Starting with Jackie Stewart, drivers have taken a more active interest in the safety of their sport. If it was their responsibility to supervise circuit safety and develop rules governing the cars, the financial burden would not be a problem. Instead they are asked to throw away money, with no guarantee of how it is going to be spent.

I realise drivers’ and constructors’ schedules are filled with testing between Grands Prix, but extra responsibility in governing the sport should not add impossibly to this. Most of FISA’s work is spent putting right their previous bunglings.

If the rulebook was designed by those closest to the sport, today’s Formula One would be an even more healthy category than it already is.

Roy Barclay, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex