Last week this column related how F1's three primary factions - the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone - are squaring up to negotiate a renewed Concorde Agreement, the covenant which governs this most complex and expensive of sports. If it erred in any way it was in underestimating the full extent of the politics raging between the FIA and the Formula 1 commercial rights holder.
No sooner had this column predicted an escalation in hostilities than Ecclestone reportedly referred to the FIA as "a joke".
He went further, suggesting FIA president Jean Todt, previously the architect of Ferrari's recent F1 domination and of Peugeot's success in rallying and sportscars, was "a poor man's Max [Mosley]". He also said Todt's initiatives had "not had a positive effect on Formula 1."
Besides Red Bull Racing's utter domination of the Australian Grand Prix, the question of how much longer Todt would stand for such accusations was one of the main talking points of the Melbourne paddock. There was even speculation over what it would take for the FIA's World Motor Sport Council to bring charges against Ecclestone - a member by right of the WMSC - for bringing both the sport and governing body into disrepute.
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South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken