What about GP2? Is anyone asking?
May 20, 2009 6 Comments
With so much focus on Max Mosley, Ferrari, FOTA, Bernie, etc. no one is asking: what about GP2? What is best for our category, a watered-down, budget-capped F1 or the current series? I will give you my opinion, trying to avoid getting into much detail with regards to the sad state of F1 politics.
First of all, I must confess I agree with both the FIA and FOTA. Each has valid points, and as with many things in life the best answer lies in a compromise of different positions.
- The FIA is right in containing the out-of-control expense level in F1. The category has evolved too far too fast and some teams are still managed by corporate results for which F1 is a mere line item. This is bad because when times are good they will spend mercilessly, but when times are bad they will pull the plug without much remorse. This has happened with Honda and could happen with Renault and Toyota any time soon.
- FOTA is right in opposing a budget cap of €44 million all of a sudden, especially if it will result in a two-tier series. Teams surely understand the need to contain costs, not only for one season but structurally, but it cannot happen overnight.
That said, we are so busy with all this that no one, not even Bruno Michel (do you actually work between races?…. must be nice), has stated a position regarding what’s best for GP2. Since no one has taken this position, I will.
GP2 is best off with the best F1 show possible. If the FIA and FOTA do not agree and somehow end up splitting up, as I understand it GP2 will stay with the new “decaf F1” since it’s owned by the CVC private equity group that bought Bernie’s “show”. This scenario would immediately devalue GP2, bringing it down to WSR levels (about half its current value). Why? Because the premium commanded by GP2 is greatly associated with the exposure to F1, to the team owners, to the big-hitters and to the overall glamour. If this is not there, it will be just another great racing series with no atmosphere, no global TV coverage and partially empty grandstands.
More importantly, the gap left by GP2 will be filled by someone, and the new constructor’s F1 will have its new support series. Understandably, drivers looking for that same exposure would migrate to this series.
Or maybe, just maybe (conspiracy theory here), the FIA will “stick” is crappy F2 with the new crappy F1 and let GP2 go and find fortunes elsewhere, even with the FOTA-led runaway series.
Let’s hope in several days this will all be just conjecture, and the successful F1-GP2 partnership will continue for many years to come. Let’s hope so…
All this said, it would be nice for Bruno to speak up, state his position and raise his voice for his team owners. Oh, I forgot… you don’t do that, you just follow orders. Sorry, sorry…. you can go back to sleep now.