The FIA, motor sport’s international governing body, was looking increasingly under beleaguered assault this week on two separate issues relating to the future of F1.
Only days after Max Mosley’s right-hand man Alan Donnelly was accused of a conflict of interests when it became clear that he was involved in negotiating the switch of Richard Branson’s Virgin sponsorship from this year’s championship front runners Brawn-Mercedes to incoming new boys Manor F1, the FIA was accused of telling any new teams who wanted to have their entries considered for 2010 should be prepared to use a Cosworth engine as a ‘mandatory pre-condition’ for that entry.
“We were told that if we wanted to take up the 2010 grid slot we would have to sign a three year engine contract with Cosworth,” one team principal who was not prepared to be identified told the Daily Telegraph. The FIA, however, denied this, although it strongly hinted that the presence of an independent, off-the-shelf F1 engine was a necessity for the business in order to avoid a situation where the manufacturers could effectively hold the sport to ransom.
Without this “the whole grid would be at the mercy of the car industry and no new team would be able to enter without their permission.”
Which, of course, is exactly what the FIA is doing, ostensibly with the force of legality on its side - although many think this is a pretty limp explanation from a governing body which has now become besotted with its own power and self-importance.