FIA plot against former #F1 medical delegate

Just when all is well, Bernie appears to be back on the throne and at Christmas it’s time for peace and goodwill to all men (and maybe no negative stories about Formula One, say just for 12 days), serious allegations of grave misconduct have been made against Gérard Saillant

untitledAccording to the FIA, Saillant “became a fellow of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability in 2005, rising to Deputy President the following year before his 2011 appointment as President. Saillant has operated on many racing drivers and sportsmen over the last 20 years, including Michael Schumacher, Clay Regazzoni and the footballer Ronaldo”.

In a keynote speech delivered at the inaugural ‘Sport Conference Week’, Saillant explained the role of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability. “From our earliest focus on safety research, we have broadened and deepened our remit to become a multi disciplinary think-tank for innovation and excellence. Safety R&D, education and training, medical research, sustainability and eco management, technology development, we’ve become a hot house for new ideas and approaches to motor sport development and management”.

Last week Saillant made a day trip of 5 hours return from his base at the FIA in Paris to a hospital in Liège, Belgium. This is the hospital where former FIA employee Gary Hartstein is currently employed since he was unceremoniously fired from his job in Formula One.

This visit appears to have been undertaken with Saillant acting as an officer of the FIA, though under whose specific instructions and authority, is unclear at this moment.

Gary Hartstein alleges that Saillant made this journey with the sole purpose to persuade the Dean of the medical faculty in Liege to bring some pressure to bear on Hartstein to cease writing his Formula One blog – or even to have him fired.

In an open letter published by Hartstein he claims of Saillant, “You came here to raise the issue of whether THIS blog violated my contract at work and could therefore be a reason to fire me, or at least to muzzle me”.

According to Hartstein, Saillant brought a dossier of posts from his blog as evidence of an alleged breach of contract together with a copy of an email he claimed had been sent by Corinna Schumacher to the former F1 Doctor.

Gary Hartstein reveals a number of matters, including the way Saillant had fired him from his role at the FIA – by email.

untitledHowever, the matter of whether a blog by someone expressing their personal opinion should be used by the FIA in this way is robustly questioned by Hartstein.

“It is clearly expressing their personal opinion My blog has nothing to do with my job. In fact, things like “privacy”, and “free expression” come to mind – not as sterile principles, but as LAWS THAT YOU ARE ON THE CUSP OF VIOLATING. You and your boss [Jean Todt].

Clearly upset by this clandestine meeting, Hartstein fights back. “You have acted like a hoodlum. What you have done was not unexpected, but was thuggish and disgusting. You might wear expensive suits and a Patek Philippe, but your tactics are from the gutter.

Be aware that I’ve referred the “dossier” you handed over to the Dean to my attorney. You are on very very thin legal ice”.

If this FIA action is proven, it well demonstrates the power of social media. Since fired from his job in Formula One 2 years ago, Gary has garnered around 34,000 followers on twitter, and participated in a number of ‘non-official’ media events, including three TJ13 podcasts.

Gary’s candour on certain matters and his criticism of the FIA has given significant insight into the machinations of this highly secretive organisation, who prefer to do their business beyond the public gaze.

It now appears the way the FIA chooses to do business, is ethically suspect and more than questionable,

However, having agreed to forgo its exclusive right to regulate Formula One, by accepting $40m from Ecclestone and certain teams, the FIA have attracted the attention of the EU Commission for once again breaching a previous ruling handed down to prevent exactly this from happening.

Further, the FIA’s investigation into itself over the incidents in Japan this year which culminated in French driver Jules Bianchi’s life now hanging in the balance – was considered inappropriate.

The two pages of bullet points which emanated from the FIA’s 10 man expert panel investigation into the Bianchi crash, appeared to be merely and activity of ‘being seen to do something’ – rather than a proper examination of accountability and responsibility, as Gary explained in last week’s TJ13 Courtroom Podcast


40 responses to “FIA plot against former #F1 medical delegate

  1. They should better than to try to take on Dr. Hartstein. He seems like a guy who’ll fight back and won’t take shit from the FIA and their designated stooges….

  2. Wow! If but half of what Garry (Oops!) says is true then…. Geez. I still love motorsport – more than ever thanks to Lewis, Jensen, Aussie Grit and Danny Boy – but the people that run it? Meh!

  3. I regularly read Gary’s blog; it’s very informative and has helped me understand what happened to Jules and Michael and their chances of recovery. Reading Gary’s post about the FIA attempt to get him fired made me respond just as Speed Crazed above did: Wow, just wow. This activity is illegal, unethical, and immoral and heads must roll at the FIA. They have made themselves dirty(er) and (more) disgusting. What use are they? They don’t even make the rules anymore, having sold that right to Bernie. Todt, just go away; let the sport I love survive.

  4. Having read of the machinations of the FISA in years gone by and alleged corruption surrounding FIFA it comes as no surprise to hear that the same brush has been applied to the FIA. The same can be said of the Olympic movement. These organisations are built from the same building blocks and hide behind a mask of invincibility and portrayed good purpose. From one who looks at the world from the bottom up these organisations reek of self importance and opulence in a manner that makes it immediately suspicious to anyone looking in. Gary hartstein is correct in bringing any criticism to the fore for public scrutiny.

    • That’s the biggest problem in sport, there’s no regulators regulating the regulators, thus meaning they can literally be as corrupt as they want and there’s no one to answer to. It drives me insane!

  5. If Gary Hartstein decides to take legal action against Gerard Saillant, he and the FIA are going to be in a very difficult position. By including an email purporting to come from Corinna Schumacher in the “evidence”, they have ensured that if legal action occurs, she will be a person of interest to the court. She may even be asked to testify. I cannot imagine her being willing to do so. If she does not stand behind the email, then things will not go well for Saillant. He will be the #1 defendant, subject to cross-examination about who paid for his trip (IOW, if it was paid for by the FIA, it automatically makes the FIA a defendant in any legal action, and that risks dragging Jean Todt into the case also, especially if he authorized the effort to muzzle Hartstein).
    I cannot see how this will turn out well for Gerard Saillant or the FIA. IMHO Saillant’s FIA career just ended. If Hartstein takes legal action, the FIA will most likely have to claim that he was freelancing and fire him. To do anything less will most likely drag them into court as the other defendants to a lawsuit that they will find very difficult to defend.

  6. Dr Gary, you have my support, this was a real underhand tactic. Your words are often interesting candidate refreshing, I have to admit that I know little of you before I found TJ13, but your insights and knowledge make great reading and listening (podcast). Maybe a Twitter bomb on the official FIA Twitter account could be organized so everyone tweets there grievances to them within a minute or so, just so they see the support you have.


  7. I know… sorry… we ALL know the FIA needs DEEP investigating, and will hopefully get it, though, with probable access to Little Bern’s lawyers they will also probably cut and run – again.
    However… I am bored stiff with Mr Hartstein’s constant carping and whining. His attitude appears to be obsessive and delusional and his actions seem solely concerned with revenge, shrouded by a mask of righteousness… which do not provide a good basis for worthwhile debate.
    This article and the above comments remind me more of ‘conspiracy theory’ web sites – some of which, I must admit, I sometimes enjoy perusing.
    IMHO. 😉

    By all means let us all attempt to sort out the FIA, but let us also be careful who we choose as a potential leader… in case we jump out of an ersatz frying-pan.

    • With all due respect, I say fuck you! Gary has been the only one stepping up, exposing the backroom skullduggery that is called FIA. I won’t suffer your attempt at denigrating that. You make yourself complicit in the Paris Mafia’s attempt to silence him.

      • Easy there… Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, remember? Even if it’s not the same as yours.

          • Hippo, although I agree with you 100% on Dr.G as you can see from my above comment, but @BlackJackFan is entitled to his opinion, it wasn’t an attack more a list of things that the individual has issue with.
            You know what they say hippo, you can please some people all of the time, all people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.
            For me Dr.G has been a real eye opener and he has a very different view on things simply because of his knowledge of the ‘inner workings’ .

            Don’t lower yourself to the level of others Hippo, we all know you are better than that mate.

          • Agreed he doesn’t need them. But that still doesn’t rule out the fact that they might be there. And if that’s someone’s opinion that’s something that you or anybody else just has to cope with. Even more so because he ventilated his thought in a well mannered way without any form of agression or what so ever. And that’s the way the best discussion start. And aren’t we here to dicuss things? I know I am. And an other perspective just shows how other people think about things. Wich I find very interesting…

          • Hippo, although I agree with you 100% on Dr.G as you can see from my above comment, but @BlackJackFan is entitled to his opinion, it wasn’t an attack more a list of things that the individual has issue with.
            You know what they say hippo, you can please some people all of the time, all people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.
            For me Dr.G has been a real eye opener and he has a very different view on things simply because of his knowledge of the ‘inner workings’ .

            Don’t lower yourself to the level of others Hippo, we all know you are better than that mate.

            No swearing, or personal insults so why why why, I posted the same identical comment twice and both times it’s gone to MOD, please tell me why so I can avoid it happening again.

            Many thanks

    • Gary Hartstein is a bitter man who just can’t get over the fact that he was fired. Get over it!!!! It happens in life…just move on.

      Picked up the Schumacher accident ball and ran with it. Then whined about not being fed with enough info from Kehm. The Schumacher family owes you nothing. Then started to become a merchant of doom to extend his 15 minutes of fame to around 25. Should leave the FIA uniform in the closet and get on with his already successful career.

      According to Hartstein, Todt is incompetent and generally a total disaster. The man that almost everyone credits with turning around the Ferrari F1 team and whom without Ferrari has suffered badly. Ruthless yes, incompetent no. Todt is regarded as a brilliant man by too many.

      When will the pursuit for revenge ever stop? I agree that if the FIA did in fact send Saillant on a mission, then this is completely unacceptable. If he went to have a quiet word in a friend’s ear…well this happens all the time in life. Businesses are run by people and Hartstein’s personal style appears to have rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way…perhaps more so than his underlying message.

      • Turning around Ferrari is not the same as running the FIA and on many fronts Todt has been a bitter disappointment.

        Gary, on the other hand is an expert in his field and has as well extensive experience of the back end of F1, how it really works. He knows/knew many of the players personally and while it is reasonable to take with a grain of salt his opinions based on his experience, overall if your former employer showed up to your current job with a bunch of comments off of this site printed off and demanded either you stop commenting or your employer let you go how would you feel about it?

        So if you think that sort of behavior is OK, then I’m not surprised you express such feelings. OTOH if you think that is not right, then regardless of your opinion of Gary you should be outraged on his behalf, because these are the tactics of those who seek to stifle the free flow of information for their own personal gain.

        Or should i just say f*ck you? LOL!!

      • …There may be many F1 fans who believe the ‘consensus’ approach of the FIA under Todt which requires unanimous agreement of the teams to deliver anything on cost control – demonstrates weak leadership.

        TJ13 has been critical of this.

        Further, if the EU decide the FIA have sold their right to regulate F1 for $40m, as Ecclestone claims – despite the last ruling on F1 from the Commission which clearly stated that F1 regulation should be the domain of the FIA exclusively, Todt should be held accountable.

        • Interesting point, your last para, that ‘as Ecclestone claims’.

          Stopping right there, there’re surely sufficient grounds for FIA to move ahead and demonstrate just how things are going to be done?
          Would negate EU interest not that I’m anti that IF it exists.

      • In my eyes hartstein has not acted professionally neither regarding Schumacher nor Bianchi. He writes in a blog. OK. He says that is his personal opinion. OK. BUT then he starts saying that he’s expressing his medical views and talking from experience and MOST people fall for that and take his words that Schumi’s situation is hopeless (without knowing for real if he was in a coma 6 months, without seeing a single medical file, absolutely like a cheap tabloid reporter with a medical degree which actually made him so obsolete) for the absolute truth and even BLAME his family for keeping him alive and mot letting him go, can you imagine the extent to which some people who don’t have a clue about Michael’s actual condition and do not pay attention to what his spokesperson Kehm says, or some friends, like Podolski or Brawn, the extent to which they are ready to condemn and diagnose and not MIND their own business because, at the end of the day the intimate, private and personal medical state of anyone ON THIS Planet is the business of only the people he or she chose to have in their life, isn’t that so?. hartstein says he has the right to a personal opinion, as a citizen, then starts giving online diagnoses to a world known celebrity WITHOUT respecting his family’s wishes. That in my eyes is the boundary. He didn’t stop when a sick man’s family asked POLITELY the world to respect their wishes and stop speculating. Some did, most newspapers, journalists, and sadly – fans – did not. It’s OK. No one is obliged to understand Corinna, Ralf, Rolf, Mick, Gina Maria, it’s a personal choice whether to respect their plea. But as I said, this is the boundary for me. Even if you’re worried about Michael (as hartstein says, which I highly doubt), even if you’ve bought $$1000s in merch of Ferrari/Mercedes, you can at least try to be respectful. Harstein never cared about the two families, he never “tried” practicing the word decency and respect, he only talks but does not act, he only wants to write his “blog” and get views. Where was he prior to 29 December 2013? He hadn’t written about any other person in coma as far as I can see from his blog. He has an agenda but so few people see that.
        Harstein said he thinks the fans DESERVE to know. Well, another sign he’s disguising other agenda as “concern” for Michael and the noble role of “helper to the ignorant masses as to TBI”. Few, very few, EXTREMELY few people see through his pretentious writing, through his fake role of “just a professional physician” stating his opinion. That’s why he’s so popular. That’s why he thanked HIS “fans” on twitter for 1,000,000 views of his blog. While speculating about two men, two drivers, two sons, a brother, a husband, a father, who have suffered terrible accidents, when he was never asked to. That’s why he wants to fight wars with the bad FIA and his anonymous internet “followers” applaud him (only behind a computer of course!).
        He even involved Michael’s wife in all this. Awful behaviour from a person who knows what it’s like to suffer head trauma, and what it’s like for the families of the affected to live a life knowing their loved one is hurt for life, and what it’s like to live each day with the unknown and the anguish and the uncertainty, and the pain, and all the memories, and the future which was dreamt about but which will never come true, a future for a young man who dreamt of a family, and for a father who dreamt of walking his daughter to the altar on her wedding, and who dreamt of helping his son advance in racing and seeing him as a successful driver. Harstein KNOWS Michael –he was a fucking F1 doc, he knows how much Michael values his and above all his FAMILY’s privacy. And still he chooses the path which I, personally, will never understand. Awful behavior from a person, who’s allegedly dedicated his career to saving lives. Well, for me, and I’m an F1 fan for about 20 years, he will never be famous for the lives he’s saved but for his so called “blog’ where he says there’s no hope for Michael Schumacher and Jules Bianchi.

        • The timing of this comment is interesting in that it was posted some minutes after the FIA announced that Dr. Saillant has asked his lawyers to lodge a complaint for defamation and insult against Philippe Streiff in response Streiff stating the Dr. Saillant and Jean Todt have siphoned money from ICM…

        • Wow, just wow. Almost everything you wrote does exactly what you accuse Hartstein of doing which clever people will note is referrred to as projection. I, too, second VM’s questioning of your timing as your exceptionally poor writing skills and attempt at emotional blackmail put me in mind of some of the poorer astroturf cut and paste missives I saw back in the good old climate wars days.

          However, that said, anyone with an even rudimentary grasp of the language clearly takes away the fact that Dr. Hartstein (for he is still a practicing Dr. despite your implications) was very clear in each and every post that he was discussing what was being reported in the press and explaining what the medical terms meant in layman’s terms.

          And honestly, if you lack the intelligence to grasp that than not only do you have no business reading his work, frankly, and despite the occasional teasing that goes on around here, it will be difficult for you to find new playmates in this sandbox. Because if there is one thing that is generally not tolerated much in the comments it’s shouty bullsh*t like yours.

          • I have the rigth to express my opinion on anyone and anything just like …. well… like mr hartstein and mr streiff. WAnd thanks for evaluationg my english skills but I won’t do the same for you because.. I have no problem with you but with the former doc and his attitude. So he can hide behind “freedom of speech and expression” and I cannot? Who’s to judge? I repeat myself: for a renowned and experienced doctor as him, it is nothing but shameful to hide behind words like “free speech” and “rights to own opinion” and behave like a journalist from a tabloid, rushing to write the next “expert” piece after each unconfirmed rumour from dubious sources that had popped up. If this, if that, but you see, it’s only my professional opinion. Bullshit. No surprise his “blog” rubbed many people the wrong way and it’s only natural that some of them happened to be people in positions of power. What would happen if he doesn’t comment after every request “oh please mr doc, tell us about this “news” from absolute nobodys who are not even fans or care about Michael Schumacher? Nothing will happen, He stirred the rumours further as he was quoted as “schumacher’s doctor”. Media’s problem? I don’t think so. Can you name some bloggers/physicians who have made such comments about lets’ say an injured football player, tennis palyer? YOU CANNOT. Did someone write such things about the families of royals who have been in a coma (I know of two cases)? NO. When you say something you should have the courage to take responsibility for what you say and the manner in which you say it. You criticise, so reciprocally everyone in the world is free to express their opinion about you too, right? I have a problem with him saying the familY MUST say how he is. So many people who he worked with, who he knew as friends do not know a single thing – like the rest of the world. His sponsors don’t know and they have million-contracts with him. So, why I wonder we haven’t heard any of them complain the way you some nobodys do? Why should the Schumachers announce any details – to facilitate speculation more, because no doubt it will go wild if they say something particular. Or to the so called former doc to write the next self-promoting speculative piece labeled hypocritically as “own opinion”? No, they are wise enough to know better. They have been honest and straightforward from the beginning – their policy was not to give information and they have stuck to it till now. Jules’ family’s decision was to give out information and they have also been consistent in this respect too. So, what exactly is the problem with that?And, by the way, we still don’t know many details about Jules but the doc shuts up on this unlike the words he used to the Schumachers, I can remind you – “arrogant” and “shameful”. Does he know them personally to allow himself using such words towards them? I aslo have a problem with hism saying “he just wants to help” Help whom and with what?? How do his explanations help random people who never cared about motorsport or who post anonymous comments pretending to want to know about brain injury when the chance they will ever be exposed to it is so small?Open a dictoionary on letter H and find HYPOCRISY. What would knowing help fans or people who read the blog? How would it help the families affected by TBI who have certainly other sources to know? His blog helped nobody. The hunger for”news” and the curiousity can never be an excuse. Not when it comes to health and life. Whether or not a person allows medical information to be spread across the globe, is a personal decision. Lastly, for hartstein’s fans I have just one thing to say: like writer, like readers.

          • Let’s see Dr. Gupta Dr. Oz Dr. Elizabeth Cohen Dr. Ben Carson honestly doctors commenting on telly and in print are more the norm than aberration. And frankly we are regularly treated to expert “explanation” during the case of illness of famous people all the time, when details are released by the family/hospital, and oft times rank speculation when they are not.

            This is nothing new and your attempt to pretend otherwise is ludicrous. You are certainly welcome to state your opinions, but the fact of the matter is that Hartstein has a long history in motorsport, has an acquaintance with the types of injury and management thereof being discussed and comments on openly available reports in what is generally considered the main stream press. His stated intent is to demystify and explain in layman’s terms for fans what the implications are. That you see other motives in his actions is obvious, but from coming from someone who was already quite aware of the implications without his explanations, TBH you’re reaching for straws here. Though he is clearly no lover of the current power structure in the FIA/FOM, quite frankly he is far from alone.

            As far as Jules goes, the dearth of reporting by the press is due to the fact that he is not a multiple WDC with millions (if not hundreds of millions) of fans. With the lack of reporting goes the lack of comment. No one cares about my dad’s time in hospital, but were he a Hollywood star I can guarantee you it would have been reported and analyzed in depth. I could refer you to the Joan Rivers’ case this side of the pond for a good look at what sort of detail gets reported when a celebrity is involved, and like it or not, Schumacher was a celebrity whilst Jules was not.

  8. So, let me also play some devil’s advocate here, but people, aren’t we a bit overeager to take sides here? (That was a rhetorical question – feel free to answer it).

    I have tons of respect for Dr. Hartstein, and I think he has been shagged over a couple of times an ways that cannot be justified.

    But …

    He seems to enjoy stirring up controversy and he seems to have a take-no-prisoners/my-way-or-the-highway attitude.

    Which is fine – I do to, when it comes down to it, and I do not blame him for fighting fire with fire.

    But …

    We only know one side so far, none of which is exactly corroborated yet and I strongly suspect that truth will as always lie somewhere in between (although I also suspect that it’ll be a bit more towards Dr. Hartstein’s side).

    The main ugly taste in my mouth from many of the comments above is left by the fact that many seem all too happy to take yet another opportunity to confirm (and shout about) the dogmas that they have already firmly glued over their capacity to _actually_ doubt and question.

    Agnostically yours, C.

    • …..Absolutely Conzo77. The FIA have utterly failed to cover themselves in glory over the ‘back of a fag packet’ note they issued following their extensive 10 man expert panel investigation into the events in Japan – and their failure to investigate their own delegates abilities to enforce their own rules.

      Therefore, it is difficult to sympathise with yet another clandestine action allegedly taken by this organisation, which for many is firmly disreputable.

  9. Pingback: FIA attempt to gag former F1 doctor | thejudge13·

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