A picture of rude health?
Perhaps the FIA is quietly satisfied that Formula One continues to generate headlines worldwide. Seldom a Grand Prix goes by without at least one contentious issue escaping the regular sports pages to intermingle with general news coverage in the national press.
The nature of most such news items, however, will rightly make purists cringe.
Frankly, the sport is presently staggering from one mess to another, and there seems no way it can find an escape from this maelstrom of tawdriness.
For one thing, the FIA’s confetti approach to handing out suspended bans is hardly firm-handed government. Only last year, FIA President Max Mosley threatened Draconian penalties for anyone who transgressed the rules. The present wave of suspended penalties is hardly conclusive. If the governing body really believes the drivers to be guilty, then why doesn’t it slap on a substantial ban and be done with it? Or is it simply that thecurrent system serves a twofold purpose, in that the FIA can guarantee column inches in the press without actually doing anything to upset the status quo?
It should be black and white: guilty, or not guilty.
It is worth remembering that accidents are nothing new. They have always been a part of motor racing, and no matter how the regulations evolve they will always remain so. The plethora of TV cameras means that there is more attention paid to them nowadays, but experience tells us that Formula One drivers do not purposely eliminate themselves from races when there are vital championship points at stake halfway through the year.
Competition, they say, improves the breed. There is certainly plenty of competition in F1 at the moment, but the manner in which the sport is currently being handled dictates that it is having the opposite effect…