A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

About two weeks ago, the FIA announced via the press that the Canadian Grand Prix had been dropped from the 2009 Formula One World Championship, causing an uproar among fans the world over, particularly those residing in North America. The continent and major motor-industry market have lost a key race, especially so given that there is no USGP at the current time. But the reported nature of the way the race was dropped has started a war of words between the Grand Prix du Canada organisation at the FIA and FOM.

I wrote back on the 9th October of my disgust that an international organisation could pull a major sporting event from the schedule without even giving the decency of prior notice to those involved. Instead, it was reported that the Canadian Grand Prix organisers only found out by reading the same press release as everyone else.

Since then, and perhaps because of the lack of transparency over why the race had been dropped, the two parties have been hurling accusations across the Atlantic Ocean like they’re going out of fashion. It was reported on Autosport that Bernie Ecclestone had informed team principals that the race had been dropped because of the Canadian Grand Prix defaulting on payments. Ron Dennis had quite a lot to say on the topic.

I won’t give you the exact figure but they did not fulfil their contractual obligations in 2007. There was a carry over which was a concession given for 2008, and there was an assurance by the Montreal government that they would stand behind the 2007 figure and the 2008 figure – and that was something confirmed on the Sunday morning of the grand prix. But that money, which is north of 20 million dollars, is not forthcoming. Ron Dennis.

The Canadian Grand Prix officials responded last night with a strong rebuttal of the accusations.

It is totally untrue to suggest that our organisation has defaulted on payments owed for the past three years.

It is true that we have a commercial disagreement regarding our monetary obligations, but only for 2008. This is the result of an historical difference within the contractual understanding between the two parties.

We were working hard to resolve the matter in order to meet our 2008 obligations when Mr. Ecclestone, without notice, surprised everyone by unilaterally dropping the Canadian Grand Prix from the 2009 FIA schedule on October 7th. Paul Wilson, Canadian Grand Prix.

Whatever the reason, and whatever the whys and whereabouts of what happened, the FIA recently received a good dose of their medicine, which has sparked confusion for the very organisation that should be leading the rest on good practises in business and communication.

When France pulled their race from the calendar last week, citing financial difficulties as the main reason, the FIA got a bit ticked-off. You see, it would appear that the race organisers, FFSA, didn’t bother to officially inform anyone at the sport’s governing body prior to cancelling their race. This prompted a letter to be sent to the FFSA’s president Nicholas Deschaux to seek clarification on the matter.

The FIA secretary general has written to the president of the FFSA today to seek an urgent clarification of the situation of the French Grand Prix. Up until today we have heard nothing and we are gravely concerned. FIA Spokesperson.

All I can say is that I believe the FFSA followed the example set by the very organisation that governs them.


  • Thank you, you article is spot on. I think it is time for Bernie and Max to conduct things in a professional way. There is no doubt that Bernie would like to make the sport reach new audience outside Europe, but by the way he announced dropping of the Canadian GP many fans will be upset – specially when there will be on more GPs in North America for 2009. And when you look at it this way, he contradict the very essence of F1 Marketing and reputation as an global sport.

  • I seem to remember an ancient culture that said, “You reap what you sow”. Looks like it is still true, even in motor racing.

    Will the FIA ever come right and stop acting like a government under fire and start acting like a progressive leader in motor sports? Have they ever enjoyed a strong positive relationship with their stakeholders?

  • @F1Punter: Thanks, great minds think alike. 🙂

    @McLaren Fan: Thanks. And I pretty much agree with everything you say in your comment. Thanks for stopping by and voicing your thoughts.


    Will the FIA ever come right and stop acting like a government under fire and start acting like a progressive leader in motor sports?

    I just love that line/question. Succinct and accurate.


    Ron Dennis said that? I thought it was Bernie.

    I don’t have an ‘original’ transcript myself of this one (I sometimes get them emailed to me, but I probably haven’t signed up to this particular source), but Autosport are quite clearly saying it was Dennis.

    @Pink: Hehehehe. 😀

  • The FIA should consider themselves lucky this stunt hasn’t been pulled on them before now. It underlines more than ever that it’s the powers-that-be rather than the teams who need to do the cost-cutting – and the first cost-cutting measure would be to get a president who has a more sporting sense of direction than simply cutting costs and being a glorified advertising board.

  • Regardless of whose fault it is or who started it, coducting your affairs in the public media is never a good idea. What’s more, if you choose this as a means of gaining advantage or precedent, just remember: there is always someone bigger and badder who will come along and repay the favour ten fold. Usually when you least expect it.

    I have no idea who is at fault here or who’s story holds water but running it through the media is never going to end well.

  • Possibly the funniest thing I have read in years was the FIA’s reaction to the FFSA. The only thing that could top it would be the teams putting out a press release with the dates for their new championship without telling the FIA or Bernie.

  • These people deal in bilions, they scoff at millions. But now the economic worm has turned, they will be your best friends for thousands. The Chartered Accountants that deal with these scumbags must be doing overtime, can you put my house`s in to the limited company that is about to go bankrupt, therefore ensuring I keep rich and the poor stay poor, and not only poor, they pay for my new mansion, because `thats just the way it goes`

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