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Cheers - AE

Friday, 26 June 2009

Formula One.

I'd started doing a long blog about Formula One, how the fight between the teams and the FIA in the person of Max Mosley had overshadowed the recent British Grand Prix, how eight of the ten teams had threatened to desert F1 altogether an set up their own series, how many surveys of and comment by fans suggested that most of the support was with the teams, how there were threats and counter threats of legal action, how the teams had actually put some serious money on the table as a forfeit to the others should one fail to stick it out, how Mosley's years of micro management and constant tinkering with the sport's rules had not only helped bring things to this point but actually worked against his goal of cost cutting (you need a bigger budget to adapt to changes in the technical regulations every fucking season), and as a side issue how much Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's promoter, pissed me off with his anti-Silverstone bias and his demands for funding for the British Grand Prix from the government. That last point is a sore one with me since as a fan I'd like to see super modern facilities at Silverstone as much as he wants them, but as a Victorian taxpayer and a libertarian I strongly object to forking out for the Melbourne Grand Prix which enjoys the sort of government support, i.e. taxpayers' money, that Ecclestone wants from the British government. $40 million last I heard, and even if it got that much back, which it doesn't, why the fuck should the state government fund a motor race? If it's worth having then let private companies chip in. If it's not worth having let it go elsewhere instead of Victorians coughing up for Bernie Ecclestone's divorce or whatever. Even if it made a profit it'd be wrong. If John Brumby, the state Premier, was the world's best poker player we wouldn't let him go down the casino with 40 million of our dollars.*

The short version is that I'm another fan who hold Mosley mostly responsible and would like to see the back of him, and preferably Bernie 'Subsidize Me' Ecclestone as well if possible. I'm no longer going to bother with the long version because yesterday it became irrelevant. The teams got their way and Max Mosley is out on his arse, which is almost the same thing once you get past the technical aspects of many of the teams' complaints. The good news is that the sport won't split, which even though I'd have followed whatever racing the rebel teams were doing would probably not have been good for anyone really. The bad news is that Ringmaster Ecclestone is still around and still controls what races are when and where, and at what cost. He is partly responsible for the cost escalation that has been such a bone of contention by ensuring that races are so fucking expensive to host that the majority are now done with government support, and while the teams bitch that not as much of that money comes their way as would be fair the point is that when governments (who like to think they have very deep pockets for vanity projects like F1 races, when in fact the pockets are not theirs at all but those of the taxpayers) are involved a lot of money inevitably flows into the sport. Mosley's mistake was to think that teams would spend themselves into bankruptcy and the sport would end up with so few teams that it would look ridiculous. Ecclestone's mistake, if you could call it that, is to want so much money coming in that the sport needs governments to survive. Mosley trying to drive costs down and Ecclestone working to drive income up. Nobody was working on the obvious - to let income and expenditure find their own natural levels without the sport clamping its lips to every unoccupied government tit it could find.

One down, one to go.

*It should be said that John Brumby didn't bring the Grand Prix to Melbourne and sign us all up to the ongoing cost of subsidizing the bloody thing, though he did recently renew it till 2015. The guy responsible was apparently Jeff Kennett, Premier from 1992 to 1999, and long since fucked off to be Chairman of Hawthorne Hawks football club. This is why, when told I had to pick an Aussie Rules team to support if I wanted to live among Melbournians, I decided it would be anyone buy fucking Hawthorne. Incidentally, Kennett was a Liberal and Brumby is in the Australian Labour Party, and the fact that both have offered our financial support to the Melbourne Grand Prix shows that in Australia, as in the UK, both parties are largely the bloody same.
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