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The FIA presence at Grands Prix - Do the governing body need to be at each race weekend?

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

Since the scandal that has rocked Max Mosley’s reputation within the Formula 1 paddock, we’ve seen very little of the man himself. Up until now he’s been sending his deputy to race weekends, and generally the FIA has been keeping a low profile at the various circuits.

Behind the scenes, Mosley is working as hard as ever. He’s in talks with the teams regarding the new Concorde Agreement, if there will ever be one, and the regulations for future seasons. However, we haven’t seen much of him in the public eye.

At the last race in Valencia, there was no representative from the FIA present. I thought that was odd, considering it’s a brand new circuit, and one that was highly lauded and anticipated months in advance.

The question is, what do the FIA get from being at a race anyway. Obviously, their presence increases the organisation’s visibility and generates the opinion that they are in touch with the sport. They also get to meet with teams, get a first hand view of the action, and any problems that occur.

However, there is talk that the fact that the FIA weren’t at the track meant it went smoothly with no talk of politics and a real focus on the racing rather than any current issues. It’s almost as though everyone could relax slightly without the boss being around, and therefore things ran a lot better than if the boss was there, breathing down their necks. Of course, the FIA is there to try and make Formula 1 better, but it doesn’t always work like that.

F1 isn’t the FIA’s only motorsport priority, and it’s only fair that they should give their other series as much attention. However, it is the most high-profile sport, the one that gets into the news bulletins and features in the newspapers. It’s no coincidence that when many jokes began regarding the Max Mosley scandal, they all recognise him as the “boss of Formula 1”. This probably isn’t the way he wants to be seen. The FIA is much more than just F1’s governing body.

It seems as though visiting the important races is a good thing for the FIA. Turning up at the season opener in Australia presents a good image, and allows the organisation to get closer to the action. Then throughout the rest of the season, teams, drivers and other officials can just get on with the racing and forget about the politics.