It’s being reported tonight that under the united front of the FOTA umbrella, which represents every team except HRT, the entrants in this year’s Formula 1 world championship have written to the FIA opposing the reinstatement of the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix.  Some sources have suggested that the teams are open to racing there in December and leaving the Indian Grand Prix in its original 30th October slot, but BBC Sport claim this isn’t the case and the teams are not prepared to visit Bahrain this year.

As expected, the objection has been raised purely on the grounds of logistics, but it’s a matter of fact that the moral and ethical concerns we’ve already discussed are shared among the teams too.  Mercedes in particular are vehemently opposed to the idea of going back to Bahrain this year.  There are unsubstantiated whispers that Pirelli don’t want to go either, which means that even if the teams did show up, they’d have no tyres to go racing with.

As long as Mercedes aren’t racing, then nobody is.  Max Mosley, who must be glad to be right back in the mix even if it’s only a fleeting appearance, has pointed out the existence of Article 66 of the FIA International Sporting Code.  I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere in recent days, and while I can’t say why it hasn’t been discussed elsewhere, I can certainly tell you why I haven’t spoken of it.  Quite simply, I’m still silly enough to assume that when the FIA’s representatives make a decision, they’re capable of abiding by their own rules.

They aren’t.  Article 66 states:

“No amendments shall be made to the Supplementary Regulations after the beginning of the period for receiving entries, unless unanimous agreement is given by all competitors already entered, or by decision of the stewards of the meeting for reasons of force majeure or safety”

That’s no help to us without the Supplementary Regulations, of course.  They form Article 65, with paragraph j) being the key:

j) The dates, times and nature of starts, with indication of handicaps, if any

In other words, if you want to start changing your calendar after you’ve started accepting entries for the championship, you need every team to sign off those changes.  That hasn’t happened.  Indeed, that won’t happen.  Max said a couple of other things too, which we’ll get to shortly.

FOTA has also found an unlikely friend in the shape of Bernie Ecclestone, who rather took his time but would now seem, after several months, to have latched on to the zeitgeist.  BCE was on the World Motor Sport Council last Friday and voted in favour of the race’s reinstatement, so why the sudden u-turn?  Given the continued backlash, the dog’s dinner Bernie made of his PR offensive on the same topic in February and the identity of his main ally in recent years, one detects the hand of Mosley in there.


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