At some points in life one can only laugh, or else you will cry.
In the wake of two Formula One teams entering administration and only one coming out the other side, albeit under a new guise, the need for action would surely be apparent to all within the sport. Pressed once more on the issue, Christian Horner was predictably coy as he avoided any definitive statements when speaking to BBCF1, though did give his opinion. The searing honesty that escaped the lips of the newly wed Spice principal was in one respect refreshing though, as it addressed the issue with no bias.
Others were not so embracing of the truth OR were blissfully ignorant to the dangers of the current model. Toto Wolff was in staunch denial of any problem or necessity for change in terms of prize money distribution, comparing the model of the Premier League in England to Formula One. Of course, the two are complete paradigms in their structure and, consequently, in their sustainability. Wolff spoke about the difference in prize money between the league finishing positions of the top and the lower teams in the league, but the sports are fundamentally different.
This is forgetting that the statements are simply not true.
There is no 107% qualifying rule in football, there is a predetermined prize money for finishing in a certain position – once more unlike F1, every team is guaranteed a pay-out and there is clearly defined market for sponsors.
While Formula One drifts into uncertainty over its identity and groups within the sport bicker over what direction the cars should be taking (be it outright speed or green credentials), investing large sums of money in a backmarker team would be ridiculous. Only privateer projects like the American Haas F1 team present new opportunities for entries, which at best are going to be run at a break-even level. These kind of ventures mask the underlying issues with the sport allowing for buoyancy of the larger teams as the smaller teams (Sauber, Lotus and Force India) struggle to avoid drowning.
As Toto Wolff clings on to the dream that Formula One doesn’t need any change, even though for all intents and purposes it is an incomparable sport, all facets within maintain the same party line. The Austrian said back in September 2014, “’If we could do anything more to stop the DNFs then we would do it. I would break my arm again!” Yet it is the DNSs of others that should be more worrying to the Mercedes man if, and when, more teams drop off the grid.
As more teams migrate in and out of the sport they continue to the support the front running teams, but what will happen when this flow stops?
Unfortunately, this author does not see a future of that having seen the sport survive the turmoil and fallout of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the tone has been set.
The Piranha Club will continue to eat alive all of the smaller fish in the sea until the ecosystem can take no more.
Messages like that from Wolff are even more worrying than the direct parlance of Christian Horner. Once again, the lack of Mercedes honesty is frustrating as it clouds the understanding of a complex situation. F1, it would seem, is never going to change – but that’s why we love it.