Looking at the Crashgate verdict from another angle
Continuing my line of thought from here (the final paragraphs) how does yesterday's decision play into the bigger F1 political picture?
The FIA summed up the case by describing it as being a breach of unparalleled severity, handed out a permanent disqualification, however then promptly took it away by suspending the sentence. Why would they do this given their own admission that the offence was worse than anything they had seen before?
Perhaps because it is in their interest to keep Renault in the sport. With 4 new teams confirmed on the grid for next year, 10 existing teams - in the meeting Renault announced their intention to stay in F1 - and only grid slots for 13.
BMW Sauber gave the FIA this one on a plate. By not signing up to the Concorde agreement, it opened the door for the FIA to push them off the grid and cause ruptures through the heart of FOTA. The FIA duly obliged and gave the F1 entry to another new team, Lotus.
This leaves the former BMW team in 14th place, and the future of the 500+ employees at the Hinwil based team firmly in FOTA's hands. Allow an expansion of the grid or seal the fate of one of their own.
In ordinary circumstances FOTA would not want a 14th entry, most of them - truth be known - didn't want an 11th, 12th or 13th entry. Prize money is distributed in part by the number of points scored in the constructors championship, the more teams the more mouths to feed from the same slice of pie.
At the end of last season 60% of the grid was controlled by manufacturers (I'm counting Mercedes here as the sixth), Max having declared war on them hasn't done badly when you consider at the moment it's looking like that figure has dropped to 30% for 2010.
The FIA has come up with another FOTA bomb to complement it's arsenal. Yesterday it announced,
Following suggestions that there is a differential between the performance of engines used in Formula One, the World Motor Sport Council has decided that should this be the case, and should the teams wish to eliminate this performance differential, they may be allowed to do so by reducing the performance of the more powerful engines. However, no engine upgrades will be allowed.
Chew on that one FOTA! If you wish to level the playing field - as per the FIA engine freeze rules - you 1) have to come to an agreement as to who has the most powerful power plants, and 2) then detune these offending units.
Oh boy, and thats before you even mention Williams' plans to run KERS next year while the rest of FOTA want a gentleman's agreement to mothball the technology.
If Max Mosley wants to create a glide-path for his preferred successor Jean Todt I'm not sure he could do a much better job than he's doing already.