The BBC's view of the FIA

The BBC commentary on this is great:
Formula One has made itself look stupid on a number of occasions in recent years - but the fiasco that was the 2005 United States Grand Prix took it to a new low.

Veteran British driver David Coulthard - long a beacon of sense in a sport flooded with people with an over-inflated sense of their own importance - cut to the heart of the issue.

"I have no words to describe how damaging this is for F1. I am sick in the stomach to be part of this," the Scot told BBC Radio Five Live after seven of the 10 teams pulled out of the race because Michelin could not guarantee the safety of its tyres.

"That mature adults were not able to put on a show for everybody is very sad."

It is maturity - or the lack of it - where F1's problem lies, and not just in this one case.

Too many of the sport's key decision-makers cannot see the bigger picture because they are blinkered by their attachment to the sport's increasingly labyrinthine rules or blinded by petty political rivalries.

Of course, everyone involved had a valid point of view at Indianapolis on Sunday.


A fan at Indianapolis blames FIA president Max Mosley's rules for the farce at the US Grand Prix
More US GP photos
Ferrari and their tyre supplier Bridgestone were, for example, quite right to ask why they should be penalised for Michelin's error - a mistake that had opened the door to their first win in an unusually poor season for the Italian team.

Any number of solutions were possible, even if all of them had their inherent problems.

But what was needed was someone who could cut through the fog of self-interest and find a solution to staging a race.

And it is worrying for the entire future of the sport - let alone its future in America - that no-one could do that on Sunday.

In the past, that man would have been F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone.

But perhaps his decision to leap into bed with Ferrari in the political row that threatens to tear the sport apart has terminally harmed his position as F1's deal-maker extraordinaire.

It is difficult not to view the problems at Indianapolis as tied up in that row.

Seven teams and five of the sport's car manufacturers have threatened to set up a rival championship in 2008 because they want a greater say in F1's future and a bigger cut of its finances.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone and race director Charlie Whiting discuss the looming catastrophe at the US Grand Prix
Ecclestone (left) and other officials failed to solve F1's problems on Sunday
Crucially, they have also lost faith in the impartiality of FIA president Max Mosley, a view that will not have been erased by his organisation's intransigent response to Sunday's crisis.

In that sense, the US Grand Prix offered a haunting view of F1's future.

If no compromise is reached, then it will not have been the last Grand Prix race involving Ferrari and a bunch of also-rans.

For their own sake as much as that of the sport's fans, F1's bosses need to put aside their differences and bang their heads together until they come up with a solution.

If they fail, a sport steeped in more than a century's worth of history could well be consigned to it.

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