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Back to the future for F1

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It has come to the point that for F1 to be a viable motor sports series, it needs to follow a business model not seen for around 30 years (everyone but Ferrari using Cosworth engines). is reporting that there are five F1 teams (mostly independents0 that are willing to sign up for the FIA's proposal to supply teams with un-badged standard engines from Cosworth and standard gearbox and drivetrain systems by Ricardo and X-trac. All supplied for no more than 5.5 million euros. One of these teams is also believed to be Renault.On the face of it, it's a good deal. F1 will be ensured of having a full grid full of independent teams that have no other agenda aside from racing.

Here's the catch however. Should manufacturers like Ferrari, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes wish to continue making their own engines, they will have to be to the specification of the standard unit provided by Cosworth. Throw your arms in the air and announce the end of Formula 1 if you're the dramatic type. But if you're willing to sit back and look at the bigger picture, you will realize that this is part of F1's (Grand Prix racing if you want to go back further) long history of finding a way to survive.

In the pre-World War II days, the sports powers that be had no qualms about fielding teams backed by genocidal despots (Hitler's Third Reich supported the Auto Union and Mercedes teams while Alfa Romeo ran with Mussolini's blessings). During the 1952 and 1953 seasons, the championship ran on Formula 2 regulations when there weren't enough entries to run a Formula 1 championship. Then in the eighties, F1 went wherever it thought it could make money including the parking lot of a hotel in Las Vegas.

The message from the latest turn of events in this crazy sport is simple. Evolve or die. Too bad the results of evolution aint always pretty.

cavallino2008-12-10 06:52:59

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