Back in March 2009, at the height of Formula 1's spending race, this column broke news that then-FIA president Max Mosley had hatched a cunning plan to prevent the sport from out-pricing itself.
This plan was to circumvent the European Union's imposition that the governing body refrains from involving itself in commercial matters after leasing the rights to the sport to, ultimately, CVC Capital Partners for over a century for a relative pittance.
Mosley proposed two-tier regulations; Those teams that agreed to work within a budget cap (initially US $40million) were afforded greater technical freedom than those that had unlimited budgets. Thus he could plead innocent on any commercial charges by stating that the regulations afforded the teams the choice of budget, and that the FIA did not impose them.
It was clear to anybody with an abacus that the system was unworkable, and it soon became even clearer that this was a continuation of Mosley's standard modus operandi: impose the ridiculous in the hope the teams would accept a halfway compromise - one about 45 per cent further down the road than they would have gone to voluntarily. It was, in the words of one team boss, "a provocation, no more". In the days before the Formula One Teams' Association, such tactics had worked a charm every time, but at that stage the alliance was already eight months old.
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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