Reaction to the big break

19 06 2009

The first steps towards the great breakaway of F1 were taken last night as FOTA announced their intentions to leave the FIA championship next year. This is the first concrete step in this direction for FOTA, although there is a lot of time for things to change before a breakaway series is launched, FOTA appear to be prepared, with the BBC’s David Croft reporting last night that there is already a list of circuits, and analysis of series such as A1GP have been done (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8108492.stm)

The ultimate verdict on which series will prevail if a breakaway was to go head to head with the FIA championship, will be the fans, and for that reason I want to look at their reaction. The FOTA release (http://www.teamsassociation.org/press-release/2009-06-19/press-release) was designed to appeal directly to the fans, mentioning how, everything they recognise in F1 will be going to the new series, the fans will be listened to, and how ticket prices would come down for the fans.

The initial reaction I witnessed on online forums was about 90% positive, with fans excited about the old circuits they love getting some racing again, and the prospect of the sport finding more stable governance (http://www.sidepodcast.com/2009/06/19/anyone-for-a-breakaway/). Elsewhere on the Times Online f1 blog, fans again seemed pleased at the idea of a breakaway; albeit with a big dose of scepticism as to whether it would actually happen.

The more mainstream F1 media seem to have taken the news badly, believing the news was bad for the sport. The BBC commentators took this view at the beginning of FP1, perhaps understandably as it will have a huge impact on the interest of what they are commentating on next year. Joe Saward (of grandprix.com) described it as a ‘worse case scenario’ (http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/cooked-goose-for-breakfast/), whilst others such James Allen declined to express an opinion.

It is still early in this story, and the news it is yet to sink in properly, we will hear more and more as the weekend goes on. The next big news story will be Max and the FIA’s reaction to the news story, and whether he will be announcing new teams to replace the conditional entry’s on next years list of teams. Perhaps he will back away some what, or perhaps he will pour petrol on the fire. He must be considering his own position in the FIA as elections will take place in less than 4 months time. It is also not clear where Bernie stands at the moment, and this will be key, although I suspect we will not hear from him on this issue today.  F1 is certainly living in Interesting Times at the moment.

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One response

20 06 2009
Bobby

This will only become a bad thing if the breakaway does happen and we end up with 2 seperate series running at the same time. THAT would be the worst case scenario.

This is the case in motocross with the american AMA circuit and the European/ROTW FIM circuit. We never get to see the best riders in the world race each other except for on very rare occasions and instead of talking about the racing most people are preoccupied with throwing the smackdown on whichever series they don’t ‘belong’ to. (i.e. are you an American or not?)

If FOTA does create a breakaway series and this leads to the death of the original F1 and the Bernie & Max circus then i’ll be right behind it. Otherwise it will just make the racing even less interesting/less glamourous/less prestigious

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