Thursday, September 13, 2007

Formula One - bovvered?

If we were to discover that, let's say, the veg buyer for Sainsbury's had defected to Tesco and had taken with him the details of the prices his previous employer had paid for potatoes, we wouldn't be at all surprised. We wouldn't expect a governing body to levy a £50 million fine for breach of confidence. We wouldn't expect to see Tesco prevented from being a supermarket for a year. We certainly wouldn't expect it to be the second lead on the ten o'clock news.
Whatever has gone on between McLaren and Ferrari in the none-more- pompous world of Formula One racing is only the kind of bare-knuckled conflict we would expect between any two competing businesses. That's what they do. They will try to steal each other's secrets in the usually vain hope that this will give them a key advantage.
By conceding that some business intelligence was unfairly acquired and that this then gave one company a key advantage over another, the racing authorities are conceding the one thing we have long suspected - that Formula One is not actually a sport at all. It's a business and it works by asking us to get excited about which business is in front at any particular time.
And we don't much care. Any more than we do about Sainbury's and Tesco.


  1. The recent price fizing by ba and virgin got similar coverage. impressive fine though you couldn't see fifa fining Real Madrid so much they may cease to exist. one suspects it will be in courts for months. hamilton is being spared as he's turned around the sport

  2. Perfectly put sir. I note from Popbitch that:
    "The ailing Spyker team is being bought by a Monaco-based Indian businessman. Ecclestone is lining up an Indian GP as part of the deal."

    If true - Ker-Ching!

    The look on the once-so-smug Ron Dennis' face as he came out of the "courtroom" was worth every cent of the 100 mill, in my book. Some even funnier business going on there though; only half the story's out yet I reckon.

  3. No, we don't care.

    I can't stand the noise.

  4. I think totally unrealisitc fines are great and shold be an example to all sports. Wayne Rooney swears at the ref - that'll be a £20m fine for Man Utd. West Ham play Tevez - that will £250m please. Phil Vickery trips someone up - that'll be £10m fine for RFU. The possibilities are endless.......

  5. Formula One is all puffery these days. It is no doubt the most boring 'sport' in the world. The outcome is never a surprise and the victor is usually the bloke whi can get hgis tires changed the quickest.

    Maybe the governing body have seen the light and this whole spying nonsense is their attempt to try and make it interesting. It hasn't worked of course because the only people interested are motor racing journo's who see it as a chance to write about something more fun than watching paint dry.

  6. Try Moto GP or Superbikes instead. That's real motor racing. No pitstops, just a flat-out, wheel to wheel race (on 50% fewer wheels mind you) with numerous changes of lead, lots of overtaking, a few accidents where the riders slide down the track on their arses at 100mph and manage to be back on two feet almost before they stop sliding and desperately trying to pick up their (usually twisted) bikes to start racing again.

  7. It just goes to show that there is corruption in every sport. Come to think of it - is Formula One actually a sport? Doesn't it fit into the golf category - is it or isn't it?