Not only did the World Motor Sport Council pass judgment on the Renault case yesterday, but they have also given permission to the FIA to pursue legal action towards The Sunday Times newspaper. It is alleged that the widely read paper published an article which suggested that Formula One’s governing body was involved in a witch-hunt towards the McLaren team during the 2007 season. Generally speaking it would be considered foolish to take on the British media, for they [collectively] are known to win most cases made against them. And although Max Mosley is a respected barrister, he may have bitten off more than he can chew with this one.
I find this particularly interesting as I – in my humble opinion – find the way Formula One deals with the media and the fans less-than-satisfactory. It seems the FIA have difficulties in understanding that through the media, fans learn about the sport and keep up with the news and stories. But it seems as though the organisation, and perhaps it isn’t directly related to the FIA and more to do with the teams, cannot dish the news out properly. Only yesterday we were given a three sentence statement stating the decision made regarding Renault, but we had to wait almost 24 hours before we could read the full explanation. This happened with McLaren last September when the FIA famously messed up a document which was meant to hide confidential information; alas, it did not.
Not only are the FIA perhaps a bit loony though (and I think I’m safe to suggest that after Mosley called Jackie Stewart a half-wit – the precedent has been set now) but Ron Dennis has been moaning about the media all year. The only thing that puzzles me about Dennis’s grumbles is that I’m yet to fully fathom out exactly what his issue is. He doesn’t like Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin in his corporate trackside areas; fair enough. But he is also talking about the online media – that’ll be you and me then – and is uncomfortable with it being uncontrolled and unedited. Sidepodcast and F1 Insight had great posts up earlier in the year (It’s All Your Fault and Ron Dennis And The Net) when this first broke and both articles are worth a read.
Ultimately, I think Ron wants all media to follow the same rules and guidelines that he gets to make. Hmm, yes Ron, good luck on that one.
Anyway, somebody has dared to speak up to the FIA, and while the accusation might be a bit far flung, the FIA are presumably going to get their big heavy boots out and attempt to put their foot down. Yeah, I would like to extend my best of luck to the FIA on that one as well.