What does Max Mosley know about sustainability?

Today the teams are all meeting in Maranello to discuss their response to Max Mosley’s calls for yet more cost-cutting in F1.

In a letter (PDF link) sent to each of the teams earlier this month, Max Mosley said:

Formula One is becoming unsustainable. The major manufacturers are currently employing up to 1000 people to put two cars on the grid. This is clearly unacceptable at a time when all these companies are facing difficult market conditions.

But it makes me wonder quite what qualifies Max Mosley to declare F1 “unsustainable”. I can’t help but notice a glaring hole in Mosley’s argument.

A central pillar of our economic system is the idea that individuals and firms are able to decide for themselves how best to use their resources. After all, the individuals and firms (in this case the F1 teams) have all the necessary information at their fingertips. If Formula 1 is sustainable for a team, that team enters. If it is unsustainable for a team, it does not enter. Simple as that.

If an F1 team finds it to its own advantage to employ 1,000 people to put two cars on the grid, so be it. That is a fact of life. If the teams really feel a need to cut costs, they will. It. Is. That. Simple. The idea that people make these decisions for themselves is a central pillar of liberal society.

Meanwhile Max Mosley, the head of the governing body, is sitting in an ivory tower and has seemingly just decided that he knows better than the teams. Despite the fact that he has absolutely no experience and no knowledge whatsoever of what it is like to run an F1 team in 2008. Sure, he was heavily involved in March — but that was over thirty years ago, when F1 was a very different world indeed.

To underline just how little information Max Mosley has on what it takes to run an F1 team, think back to his proposed budget cap. That was apparently met with some mirth among the teams. Flavio Briatore was particularly taken aback:

I already pay 40 per cent less than the cap. If I want to keep to the limit then I need to spend more. It’s nonsense.

So here is the situation. We have ten parties that find it sustainable to enter F1. We have one party that thinks it is not sustainable, and that is the party with the least amount of information on it.

Sure, there could and perhaps should have been twelve teams on the grid this year. But let us not forget that the reason the smaller teams left is because they were not given a suitable guarantee that customer cars would be allowed. And who is responsible for that? Oh yes, Max Mosley.

Right there, we had the perfect opportunity for costs to be cut in F1. But Max Mosley failed to let it happen. I can only conclude that he is not actually interested in cutting costs. This adds yet further weight to the suspicion that the FIA will use the “cost cutting” explanation to justify any of their mad schemes for the future of F1. “Cost cutting” is the back door through which Max Mosley’s endless vanity projects are shoved through.


  1. Absolutely Vee! I cannot agree more with you. The point about Customer cars proves that Max does not have cost cutting as a true agenda, also Max’s idea to introduce KERS is proven to take massive financial investment, one that only a organisation with an massive budget could afford to develop properly!

  2. That is another point I had forgotten Scott. Not to mention the environmental concerns expressed by Mike Gascoyne (teams will be disposing of batteries after every race) and the well-known safety concerns that are now known to dog the scheme.

    Cost-cutting? Green technologies? Safety? Max Mosley does not give two hoots about any of it.