The BBC have done a very interesting interview with Max Mosley. During it, the FIA president was pressed on the perception that F1’s governing body is biased in favour of Ferrari.
Adam Parsons: You have a Ferrari over there. Ferrari International Assistance — that’s one of the things I’ve read on a blog — for the FIA. Let me put to you the question that they were right in the fact — is the FIA biased in favour of Ferrari?
Max Mosley: Absolutely not, no. One’s seen that over and over again. What happens is that the bloggers notice when something happens which disadvantages, say, McLaren or Renault. They don’t notice with Ferrari. I’ll give you an example. The mechanics on Räikkönen’s car in Monaco this year were a few seconds too long on the grid changing his tyres and he got given a drive-through. Well, a drive-through in Monaco — that’s it normally. And nobody noticed.
The reason nobody noticed was because it was the right decision. Of course you don’t have people applauding when the FIA makes the right decision. It’s supposed to make the right decision. It would be a pretty sorry state of affairs if people started noticing when the FIA was right rather than when it was wrong. That Max Mosley uses this as a barometer of the FIA’s success rather concerns me about the low level of standards he is actually looking to achieve.
The beef people have with the notion of Ferrari International Assistance is not that Ferrari are never punished. It is the fact that Ferrari are not always punished when they should be.
Why, I wonder, did Max Mosley not offer a justification for the FIA’s decision to let off Ferrari for Felipe Massa’s unsafe release in Valencia? Instead, he chose to focus on one drive-through penalty that Kimi Räikkönen received several months ago, as though that was proof of anything whatsoever. Does he really think that pointing to once instance of Ferrari getting a drive-through penalty several months ago is good enough “proof” that the FIA is not biased in favour of Ferrari?
And it’s not just penalties that make people suspicious. I struggle to think of any innovations that were made by Ferrari which were banned by the FIA in recent years. Why, for instance, were Renault’s mass dampers banned, but Ferrari’s wheel bins weren’t? A coherent justification has never been offered, as far as I’m aware. Why, also, were Michelin’s tyre banned towards the end of the 2003 season when Ferrari were in the deep brown stuff when there had not been a whiff of scandal about the very same tyres for several races beforehand (Ferrari went on to win the Championship)? No answer given.
As a side-note, I notice that the interview was conducted by Adam Parsons. He has been linked to a role on the BBC’s F1 coverage next season in an investigative / journalism / uber-Ted Kravitz sort of role. The fact that he conducted this interview seems to lend some credibility to that rumour.