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Monday, January 5, 2009

Jackie Stewart fires away at Bernie, Max

Jackie Stewart is back on the attack, slamming Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley for the way the run the sport.

Few people connected with the sport can “tell it like it is” without serious ramifications, but Sir Jackie is one who appears to have earned that right, so beloved inside and outside the Formula 1 world he can be brutally honest with his opinion.

Canadian Formula One Grand Prix: Practice

And “brutally honest” is a good description, as the Scot lets Ecclestone and Mosley have it with both barrels on a number of subjects in an interview with The Times.

“The era of big change is now essential because the sport has grown larger than either the governors or the commercial-rights holders. And that's just a fact,” Stewart said.

Chief among Stewart’s criticism of Ecclestone is the aging F1 chief has no exit strategy.

“I don't think Bernie can bring people in to help him in a transition phase. He has been so used to total control that if you look at his structure you have to ask yourself 'is there a successor?' and you would say ‘no,’ he said. “That is wrong. The commercial reality has to be recognised ... and there has be continuity that the aging process makes necessary.”

Singapore Formula One Grand Prix: Race

Additionally, Stewart complains that Ecclestone’s and Mosley’s relationship (commercial vs. regulatory) is too buddy-buddy for the good of the sport.

“They haven't looked after the house properly and the foundations are built on just this two-man working relationship. This has evoked concern and apprehension on the part of those involved in the sport,” he continued. “When Max Mosley had the scandal erupt around him, how many team principals or owners spoke out? None. Why, you may ask? When McLaren were, according to some, victimised, how many of the other teams thought, 'That could be us, we must stand behind them.' Who did? In fear of repercussions, nobody did.”

But the big problem, Stewart says, is how much money finds its way into their pockets as opposed to the teams.

"Nothing is coming back into the sport," said Stewart. "The financial distribution of Formula One appears to have been sorted out by two people who have directed it in whichever way they have seen fit.”

He also said it is “ridiculous” the series will not appear in North America this season, and panned Ecclestone’s medals idea.

Then Stewart fired away at Mosley, who once called him a “certified half-wit” who dressed like a “music hall artist,” calling for his resignation.

“I think Max should remove himself from the FIA completely and from motorsport and the motor industry," he says. "The FIA should replace him with somebody not from within its organisation or even within motorsport.”

This should certainly spark some responses this week, and conveniently carry us through to launch season.

In other news...

  • Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe will drive Penske’s entry at the 2009 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Practice is well under way for the Grand-Am season kickoff Jan. 24-25. Full coverage on the official site.
  • GP Update reports former STR boss Gerhard Berger let drop in an interview with Swiss magazine Blick “for 2009 the team has a good and fast driver in Buemi indeed.”
  • The site also reports Jos Verstappen received a fine and a suspended sentence for threatening his ex-wife
  • Ferrari reveals it will launch the F2009 January 12, with lots of supporting coverage on the Ferrari World Web site.
  • Mark Webber is back in training and aims to return to action for Red Bull by early next month, Setanta reports he told German publication Auto Motor und Sport.
  • Setanta also reports Fernando Alonso's agent, Luis Garcia Abad, said the double world champion was not in his private plane when it hit a building while preparing to take off and suffered a broken wing in Kenya.
  • Dakar is under way. Keep up to date on the official site.
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1 comment:

sidepodcast said...

"This should certainly spark some responses this week, and conveniently carry us through to launch season."

uncanny timing, no doubt about it. but good on sir jackie. if only others were as brave.

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