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[Finished] Case #16: Fans vs FIA - FIA bias in treatment of some teams and drivers


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#1 Marcel Schot

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Posted 23 December 2001 - 12:18

Several members have brought forward to the court arguments that have a uniform background of dealing with the position of the FIA in the sport, and how its activities affect the fans of the sport. The court has chosen to bring these arguments together in a case known as Fans vs FIA, and to divide this case into three distinct subcases for which separate hearings will take place.

Subcase A: The FIA actively favors particular teams and/or drivers in decisions made by its stewards, The International Court of Appeal, or the World Motorsport Council.

The judges residing on this trial are Jackman and Marcel Schot.

This case shall examine whether the FIA lets the identity of a driver and/or team influence the decision its stewarts, The International Court of Appeal or the World Motorsport Council make.

The court seeks claims made against particular FIA decisions, such as the unjustified punishment of a result or the lack of punishment where the FIA's Technical and/or Sporting Regulations allow for such punishment. Furthermore the court seeks analysis of whether or not certain drivers and/or teams have been favored significantly more than others.

This case will open on 26 December, after which hearing will be open for 2 weeks (14 days). No later than 7 days after the end of the hearing, the judges will post their verdict.

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#2 Marcel Schot

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Posted 26 December 2001 - 11:56

The hearing is now open. Good luck to all participants.

#3 jpv

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Posted 28 December 2001 - 16:43

Although the FIA has a spotty record regarding enforcement against dominant teams or drivers, an allegation that the FIA has actively favored a particular team or driver is totally unsubstantiated.

Two examples come to mind:

The Lotus 80 (I think that was the model number) dual chasis car ... Lotus was still a dominant team with dominant drivers at the time and the car was banned before it even turned a wheel in competition.

The Brabham BT46B "Fan Car" won its maiden outing in Sweden and was immediately banned by the FIA.

I am sure that other instances of action by the FIA against dominant teams or drivers exist, I just do not have the time to investigate it at this moment.

Just to put the argument in perspective, I will admit that at times the FIA has appeared to favor particular teams or drivers and someone may actually bring up the infamous "Ferrari bargeboard incident" as proof. One instance (or several isolated instances) of not-too-great decisions cannot, however, be construed as active conduct to favor a particular team or driver, which is the case under trial.

I would also like to mention that I refer to "dominant" teams or drivers, because the FIA has never (to the best of my knowledge) been accused of favoring non-dominant teams or drivers.

JPV

#4 imaginesix

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 07:20

Counter-agument to jvp:
The fact that some cars from top teams were quickly banned after their introduction in no way goes to show either fairness or favoritism in the application of the rules.

I think that the only way to show that preferential treatment has occurred would be for a member of the governing body to have said so himself. Just like arguing whether or not collisions were intentional or not, it is impossible for us to know for sure because they may just as easily be the resulty of incompetence rather than wrongdoing. We can't get in anybody's head, so we can't know intent.

We may be able to conclude beyond reasonable doubt, but even that would take a blatant pattern of unjust ruling in favour of, or against, a particular team/driver.

By the way, there may be a case to be made against Jean-Marie Balestre, with regards to his treatment of Ayrton Senna. Since both parties are no longer involved in the sport however, such debate may not be of any current relevance?

#5 philhitchings

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Posted 29 December 2001 - 11:18

It is my belief that this case does not merely concentrate upon the legality of one car or another or even the legality of one incident with another one.

There are far more issues at stake here. however it would be both foolhardy and presumptuous to list all of them, therefore I shall not try to address all of them that is for the forum as a whole to bring forward.

What I would like to bring to the attention of the court is the apparent mistreatment of lower ranking teams. Namely the allocation of money for each team based upon the previous years results. Minardi Vs Ferrari if you like.

Travel money is earned when a team gets points in a season. those teams who do not gain any points are penalised the following year by virtue of the fact that they must allocate money for travel expenses. These are precious funds that could be used on car development. Something that all teams must do but that the lower ranking teams needto undertake desparately if they are to achieve the aim of scoring points.

The paradox is that as long as the ruling organisations penalises teams in this way than it will renain an almost impossible task for them to improve much beyond the satisfaction of qualifying within 107% of the pole man.

The cars will remain relatively underdeveloped, the tail end teams will find it difficult or will be unable to score points, the budget will be compromised for the following year, and as an additional problem, sponsorship will be less appealing for those who would sponsor them as their performance as tail enders will not encourage the money that the lower ranking teams so evidently need.

This bias suits the FIA and all concerned as there is a prestige to be gained in being at the pinacle of the sport however I believe that the mistreatment of teams in this way is both unfair and shortsited.

Who would want to see a formula one grid that contiains a dozen or so cars? This situation a the risk that is greater than many people (including the FIA) realise. For me the most entertaining races have been at a time when there were teams fighting for a grid position, some being unlucky to even start the race. For me and I would suggest for many fans, provide plenty of interest on both Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday itself.

We don't see this situation now as teams can no longer afford to spend vast amounts of money to travel to races when their car is so under developed that they would not qualify anyway.

Freeing this financial burden so that all teams benefitted would be a move in redressing the imbalance that currently exists.

I would argue that this is a true indication whether the FIA is biased. In that there are large sums of money involved and that in itself taxes the honesty of the most just and fairminded of individuals; let alone a committee.

#6 Wolf

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 02:08

I think that point was painfully obvious when FIA announced that three teams have been caught cheating, and not only not have sanctioned them (taking away the points or something similar), but haven't even named the culprits, hence giving them the benefit of anonimity... If that's not a proof, or stewards decision to red-flag the Hockenheim race last season to allow M. Schumacher to partake in his home GP doesn't either, I don't know what is...

#7 imaginesix

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Posted 30 December 2001 - 22:52

The red-flagging of the race at Hockenheim in 2001 that has been brought to the court's attention by Wolf was in fact consistent with the FIA's previous actions on such events.

The FIA has shown that it is more inclined to red-flag a race if an accident occurs within the first lap or so, (before the cars have begun to spread out), than it is inclined to bring out the pace car, even if the early-race incident does not appear to be as severe.

Examples of this are:
-1998 Montreal: A 4-car collision of mid-fielders at the first corner brings out the red flag, even though all the drivers are safe, there is no fire, and most of the debris is off the racing surface.
-1999 Montreal: A similar multi-car collision brings out the red flag again.
-1996 Melbourne: Martin Brundle's Jordan is thrown into the air and tumbles down the gravel trap at the 3rd corner on the 1st lap. The red flag is brought out.
-2001 Melbourne: At the same corner as Brundle's crash, but on lap 5 of the race, Ralf Schumacher and Jacques VIlleneuve collide, Villeneuve's car being pitched into the air in a similar manner to Brundle's car had been, but along the fencing. Despite the fact that two cars were involved, that more debris was lain on the track, and that a marshall was (at that point) at least severly injured, the FIA only used the yellow flag.

The conclusion is that the FIA has frequently used the red flag rather than the yellow for seemingly mild incidents, if the crash occured early in the race.

Wolf did however spark in my memory some events of 1995 in Brazil, when two top teams (Williams and Benetton) were found to be using illegal fuel at the end of the race, and thus disqualified from the results. The two drivers from those teams (David Coulthard and Micheal Schumacher) who had scored points in that race however, were allowed to count their points (6 and 10, respectively) towards the driver's championship.

This is a blantant case of two drivers profiting from acknowledged illegal equipment. The questions that remain then, are:
1* Have their been any similar cases, where drivers were allowed to keep points earned through the use of illegal equipment?
1A* If so, were these other drivers also 'top contenders' at the time?
1B* If not, are there any other cases where either of these two drives were ruled over favourably by stewarts?

At this time I do not have complete evidence to answers these questions, but mention them in order to prompt anyone into submitting any evidence that they know of.

In the case of question 1B, I can recall in Silverstone in 1998 events that should have led to the imposition of a 10 second stop-and-go penalty on Micheal Schumaher, eventually causing no penalty to him at all.

Details can be found at this site.

Though this particular occurence reeks of incompetence, it is impossible for us to know with certainty if that is the case or not. This example therefore must be weighed in totality along with all other examples of apparent favouritism towards Micheal Schumacher that might be brought to the court's attention. It is the pattern of rulings that I think will be relevant, not their individual validity.

#8 Foxbat

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 01:26

Originally posted by Wolf
I think that point was painfully obvious when FIA announced that three teams have been caught cheating, and not only not have sanctioned them (taking away the points or something similar), but haven't even named the culprits, hence giving them the benefit of anonimity...


How do you suppose F1 (and by inference the FIA and Bernie) would have looked to the world if they had made a fuss of it and declared 2 or 3 top teams illegal. They wwould be derided as the NASCAR of openwheel racing, and lost tv audience. Better to hush it up then, not out of favoritism but out of self-preservation :(

If that's not a proof, or stewards decision to red-flag the Hockenheim race last season to allow M. Schumacher to partake in his home GP doesn't either, I don't know what is...


Having the cars drive through the debris once was very, very close to incompetence. Doing that for a dozen laps with marshalls skitting on and off the track to clear it would a mockery.
To suggest that the FIA restarted the race to favour MS also neglects to take into account two vital points:

1) The race should have been stopped in the first place
2) Yet he race was initially kept on despite the FIA knowing, even before the end of lap 1, that MS had crashed

#9 rtcoman

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 03:08

Originally posted by imaginesix

This is a blantant case of two drivers profiting from acknowledged illegal equipment. The questions that remain then, are:
1* Have their been any similar cases, where drivers were allowed to keep points earned through the use of illegal equipment?
1A* If so, were these other drivers also 'top contenders' at the time?
1B* If not, are there any other cases where either of these two drives were ruled over favourably by stewarts?


Mika Hakkinen, 2000 Austrian Grand Prix

#10 Wolf

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 03:54

I would like to ask the Court to disreagard my remark on Hockenheim race, not only by virtue of being successfuly disputed by Imaginesix and Foxbat but the irrelevance of the point to the case. I wrote:

... or stewards decision to red-flag the Hockenheim race

. although, AFAIK, stewards are being appointed by FIA, they are more of a track officials, and even if I was prowen right their demenour might mot have reflected FIA's stand on the matter.

#11 Rene

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 06:15

The FIA actively favors particular teams and/or drivers in decisions made by its stewards, or more correctly there is proof that the FIA actively takes punitive actions vs certain teams when given an opportunity to do so.

I would like to bring to the courts attention a number of instances which show the bias/punitive nature of the FIA.

The first peice of evidence which I wish to introduce was the intention of British American Racing (BAR) to run two unique liveries in the 1999 season. The team went so far as to launch their cars in dual liveries, prior to the result of the agreed arbitration procedure to settle the issue (which eventually found in the FIA's favour). BAR also appealed to the European Commission over the head of the FIA concerning these rules.

BAR began its life in F1, by going toe to toe with the FIA, statements from the team at the time of the dispute, were combative to say the least. That is until BAR was brought before the World Council on March 7th 1999. From this point forward, BAR marched to the beat of the FIA drum, blaming previous statements on lawyers who acted without instructions from MD Craig Pollock and made statements that did not represent his views, or views from the team.

In short BAR made some enemies in the FIA, and as I will show the FIA has consistantly and unfairly ruled against them at every subsiquent opportunity.

Melbourne, 2001, Olivier Panis, was initially well rewarded with a fourth place finish until a 25 second penalty was added to his race time for passing the Sauber of Nick Heidfield under yellow flag conditions. Olivier Panis had overtaken Heidfeld under waved yellow flags after Enrique Bernoldi's accident on lap 2. The 25 second penalty seems very harsh given that the incident took place on the second lap of the race, and should have been dealt with during the race (i.e. a 10 second stop and go).

Panis describes the incident as such

"What makes me furious is that I was found guilty without any evidence," said Panis. "There was no report from the track marshals and it was all based on accusations made by Nick Heidfeld. It was his word against mine and they said he was right.

"I actually overtook him on the other side of the track, not where there were yellow flags. At that point there were no cars stopped on the track and I didn’t see any flags.

"I don’t see how Nick could have seen them, because when I passed him he even shut the door on me and made contact."


Clearly this was not a cut and dry situation, since the evidence of any infraction against Panis/BAR is anecdotal at best. The FIA and its stewarts jumped at the opportunity to take punative action vs BAR.

During the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix, there was another event which seems to suggest the FIA has a bias against BAR. During that race, Raikkonen passed backmarker Luciano Burti while there were waved yellow flags. In this instance, there was no doubt that the incident did indeed occur, as it was caught by the cameras. Instead of instituting the same 25 second penalty the FIA passed out to BAR earlier in the year, the FIA decided to forgive Raikkonen for his breaking of the rules.

In essence the rules have not been fairly applied. We have one case, were there is no proof that Panis broke the rules at all, yet we have the FIA hand down a costly penalty to BAR (in the end these two incidents cost them 5th in the WCC), and in the other instance when clearly there is proof that Raikkonen broke the rules, no penalty is called at all, which once again hurts BAR.

Finally we have a case where Jordans Jarno Trulli is disqualified from the US Grand Prix because the skid block thickness was 1.5mm below the minimum regulations. The FIA has in the past taken away drivers results (and even a WDC ask Senna) for such infractions. If Jordan loose the appeal, BAR keeps 5th place, and all the TV money which come for being 5th. Instead the FIA once again take a decision which hurts BAR even though there is clear evidence of an infringement of the rules.

In conclusion I think its clear that the FIA have a bias against BAR, and rule consistantly against them, even if that means breaking precidents they themselves have set.

#12 titrisol

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 17:15

I believe FIA is biased in many of the decisions they make, not only in the money allocation (which I agree should be in the opposite way as it is now) but also in the making of the rules and "bending" them a little to accomodate tha interests of the team that is in good standing with the FIA masters.
In the early 90's we had the Senna vs jean-marie-Ballestre case, showing a lot of biasing against that driver/team
Lately there's been many examples such as penalties to one team/driver and not another that did the same thing, several teams have gotten away with faults t the rules, such as barge borads, measurements, fuel, refuelling rigs, etc.

FIA as any political/human institutions has a lot of faults and one of them is biasing.

#13 Hotwheels

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Posted 31 December 2001 - 21:19

I do wish that the court had listed all the 3 sub cases , allowing us to see the full scope of the case. But as it has not .........

Yes the FIA is Biased - because as it is made up of humans it has to have some bias - but whether this bias clouds its judgements is the question.

The fia IS BIASED - and it is biased to making the FI as lucrative and a money spinner as possible.
Time and again the FIA has demonstared that the rules are not written in stone - if this helps the championship (and hence the TV revenue ) go as close to the wire as possible. The 1999 championship is a recent example - with Ferrari and the Mayalasia race.

Another way the FIA shows this bias is to keep the championship "interesting " by constant change . I doubt if there is any other sport which has fundamental changes to the equipment as often as F1 has had. This is disguised as safety / development etc - but in reality allows constant newness and cyclic dominence . Which of course keeps it interesting and the TV revenues coming in.

As the distibution of these funds is not uniform , a catch 22 sitution has been created wherein the big fish get the bigger slice and hence the big become bigger and so on.

Over and above this the FIA is also biased in favour of Ferrari - which is most likely due to personal likes and dislikes and also due to the massive religious like loyalty to this team and the massive TV revenues it generates

In 1997 MIka won the australin race and it was presumed that Williams and Mclaren had an pre race arrangement. The FIA warned of action for any such future "collusions" . Taking the spirit of the rule - that no team(S) can have a pre race arragement - Ferrari has a transparent blatent team order policy. (Austria 2001) As the WDC is an individual sport , one understands that if a team member pulls over and grants extra championship points- so should other teams be allowed -- even for NON team championship contentors. Or the FIA should not allow Ferrari to do the same.
We had another ruling in favour of MS - in Brazil 2000 where the top 5 cars had illegal measumemts dur to the rough track and ONLY DC was stipped of his points - this helped MS in his championship battle.

Finally a "top team" was accused of cheating and not named - Ferrari reportly has been running illegal TC prior to Spain 2001 , and the fact that it was the ONLY team with no teething problems with the introduction of legal TC ---- this is speculation but a very valid one.

Hence i conclude that the FIA IS BIASED - towards the bottom line and in this carries the team it has to . to ensure the hype.



#14 Foxbat

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Posted 01 January 2002 - 16:31

Originally posted by Hotwheels

The 1999 championship is a recent example - with Ferrari and the Mayalasia race.


While this example smacks of an attempt to postpone the decision of the world-championship, it should also be taken into account that Ferrari presented a strong case against their exclusion.

Over and above this the FIA is also biased in favour of Ferrari


I don't think there is nearly enough evidence to consider this a fact, the evidence often given for this popular supposition is fragmentary and inconclusive.

[..] The FIA warned of action for any such future "collusions" . Taking the spirit of the rule - that no team(S) can have a pre race arragement - Ferrari has a transparent blatent team order policy. (Austria 2001) As the WDC is an individual sport , one understands that if a team member pulls over and grants extra championship points- so should other teams be allowed -- even for NON team championship contentors. Or the FIA should not allow Ferrari to do the same.


The FIA took what is mostly likely to be their harshest action in any such case, regardless of the team involved. They issued a formal warning.
The FIA failing to act on hat is effectively a toothless rule is hardly evidence, compounded by the fact that the FIA does allow team-tactics to determine an individuals outcome in the WDC standings. For example it is allowed to hold-up a competitor on a different pitstop strategy, even if the sole intent of such a move is to help your teammate.

We had another ruling in favour of MS - in Brazil 2000 where the top 5 cars had illegal measumemts dur to the rough track and ONLY DC was stipped of his points - this helped MS in his championship battle.


Again this seems rather inconclusive, the fact that the FIA ruled in favor of all drivers except Coulthard seems to speak against a favoring of Ferrari. It should also be noted that all cars were uniform in their abbaration from the norm, suggesting a common cause, Coulthards car was illegal in a differed from requirments in another manner altogether.

Finally a "top team" was accused of cheating and not named - Ferrari reportly has been running illegal TC prior to Spain 2001 , and the fact that it was the ONLY team with no teething problems with the introduction of legal TC ---- this is speculation but a very valid one.


Idle speculation, there is no way of knowing which team the fia accused of cheating. Ferrari was not alone in making a smoot transition to the new TC era, in fact unlike BMW-Williams the Ferrari team did have teething problems with it's launch control system.
The reports that speak of Ferrari using illegal traction control have to my knowledge no basis in eiher technical fact, nor in witness statements from teammembers. In fact equally credible reports on the use of illegal launch control systems by the Mercedes-McLaren team can be found.

#15 Hotwheels

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 06:22

Foxbat - i see you have posted 2 replies but have not clearly stated what your stand exactly is. Are you of the opinion that FIA is not biased?? is biased?? or do you not have any opinion other than shoot down other arguements??

Meanwhile on reading the mandate of this case , i realise that the wording of the Court :

The FIA actively favors particular teams and/or drivers in decisions made by its stewards, The International Court of Appeal, or the World Motorsport Council.



and

The court seeks claims made against particular FIA decisions, such as the unjustified punishment of a result or the lack of punishment where the FIA's Technical and/or Sporting Regulations allow for such punishment. Furthermore the court seeks analysis of whether or not certain drivers and/or teams have been favored significantly more than others.



is too general and can never be PROVED.

The FIA has not favored a team consistently -- but it has favoured the influence that Bernie Ecclestone has over the sport and hence indirectly favoured the objective of Ecclestone - be it the prolongment of a particular championship / or his likes and dislikes to a team or to an individual.


Having said this , over the last 3 or so years Bernie (and hence FIA) have favoured Ferrari to win the championship. I could not find the exact interview where BE had said this - that of course he wanted Ferrari to win- but i am sure i will find it over the next few days as i have read it earlier.

Meanwhile what i have found in the similar vein are the following quotes

"Schumacher has no competition. He has a greater ability to concentrate
than Hakinnen."

"Michael Schumacher is a lovely guy. Lovely, lovely, lovely guy. People who say he's arrogant don't know him."

These are 2 quotes from Bernie in an interview in the recent past and clearly show a personal like for MS -

Hence to close my arguement:

FIA is greatly influenced by Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone has a single objective - to make as much revenue over a single championship and hence can and does ensure that a championsship is as prolonged as possible.
Bernie has a personal like for MS - and was of the opinion that it was time for Ferrari to win the championship.

#16 jpv

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 17:29

Upon further review of the case, the first thing I can find is that, in reality, it is a bad case that will forcefully have to come to the conclusion that the FIA is not guilty as charged. Why? Let's see, the case is:

The FIA actively favors particular teams and/or drivers in decisions made by its stewards, The International Court of Appeal, or the World Motorsport Council.

The first defect the case has is the fact that the FIA is to be tried based on the actions of three different sets of people:

Race Stewards
The International Court of Appeal
World Motorsport Council

I find it highly unlikely that the FIA could actually influence each one of these bodies to a sufficient amount as to create a situation of active favoring/disfavoring of a particular team and/or driver.

As a matter of fact, the Race Stewards, as a body, should be totally left out of the discussion since key members may change from race to race and the particular actions of the stewards themselves may or may not reflect the views and position of the FIA. The fact that they may, or may not (do or not whatever), is enough to eliminate race stewards from the discussion.

At the center of the discussion, then, is the question, what is actively favoring/disfavoring a particular driver/team? I dare suggest that this active conduct be understood as actions taken solely for the purpose of favoring/disfavoring a particular team/driver. I have included the disfavoring part in response to Rene's complaint that the FIA is on a mission to bust BAR.

So, just for the sake of discussion, I suggest we look at the case in the following light:

The FIA actively acts or refuses to act with the sole intention of favoring a particular team/driver or with the sole intention of disfavoring a particular team/driver.

I would also like to point out that it is the FIA and its conduct under trial and not the rules or contracts governing the sport. Allegations of a FIA bias because of rules for distribution of travel money (for example) are totally out of context because, as rules, they are not the conduct of the FIA and, again, as rules, they are a part of the Concorde agreement and therefore the province of FOCA and not of FIA.

I see no pattern of consistent action/lack of action by the FIA for the sole purpose of favoring/disfavoring a particular team/driver. I do see an immense amount of cases where the FIA and/or its officials have acted negligently, carelessly or incompetently. Teams like Ferrari, Williams and McLaren (not to mention Lotus or Mercedes in the past) have all been on the receiving end of actions or lack thereof that either benefited them or hurt them in the same season or under the same executive bodies of the FIA.

In conclusion, I think that the case is badly stated and, as it has been submitted to trial, the FIA should be declared not guilty of actively favoring particular teams and/or drivers in decisions made by its stewards, The International Court of Appeal, or the World Motorsport Council.

If the question were is the FIA careless, to the detriment of the sport, in its decision making process we would probably have a totally different story ...

JPV

#17 Hotwheels

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 17:59

To further support my claim that the FIA has a pro MS (Ferari) bias, largely on the basis that the FIA
is greatly influenced by Bernie and his objectives i have found the following qoutes from various sources on the Internet:

I get a bit fed up with all these complaints about Michael Schumacher’s driving. He’s a racer and it’s a pity we’ve not got more like him. He’s good for the sport, and like Senna and Mansell he’s prepared to take a few risks. We don’t want drivers pussy-footing, we want them racing and competing. Michael’s a big boy. He’ll cope with the criticism on and off the track. Whingers are losers."



"I can take the heat. Listen, I've got promoters and television to think about. Michael was a silly boy, but they want him at the races. People will forget about this soon enough."

On Jerez 1997

Look they're just special, that's all, aren't they ?"

On Ferrari cars

The above, over a period of time , shows that BE has a very pro MS / Ferari bias.

And yes , i do equate BE to the FIA - and hence use these quotes. If one really believes that the FIA is an independent body , without BE's INFLUENCE, well then..........

#18 daveturbo

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Posted 02 January 2002 - 19:27

Bernie is not the FIA and he's allowed not only to have a favourite, but also to be truthful about it.

Hotwheels, I do not believe that the FIA favours MS or Ferrari, eg they had the perfect oppertunity at Spa when DC took Michael out. Probably the most dangerous action anyone's ever done in F1 yet, despite Michael and Ferrari losing out, NO action was taken.

I think the FIA does strongly favour a close battle. They banned Michael for 2 races in order to give Damon a shot at the title yet allowed the dodgy barge boards to give Eddy at shot.

As far as driver actions go, I think the FIA acts only when the suspect driver FAILS to achieve his goal! The examples of this are widespread, Almost every Damon/Michael incident, every Villenerve/Michael incident, even that famous DC Spa incident.

#19 Foxbat

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Posted 03 January 2002 - 03:27

Originally posted by Hotwheels
Foxbat - i see you have posted 2 replies but have not clearly stated what your stand exactly is. Are you of the opinion that FIA is not biased?? is biased?? or do you not have any opinion other than shoot down other arguements??


My position is that the FIA has not demonstrated a favourable bias towards any team or driver for any period of time. But I doubt my ability to make a viable case so I have no intent to play an active role in the proceedings, so I guess you could consider me a witness of the defence ;)

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#20 Flying Panda

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Posted 03 January 2002 - 12:31

Originally posted by Rene
Melbourne, 2001, Olivier Panis, was initially well rewarded with a fourth place finish until a 25 second penalty was added to his race time for passing the Sauber of Nick Heidfield under yellow flag conditions. Olivier Panis had overtaken Heidfeld under waved yellow flags after Enrique Bernoldi's accident on lap 2. The 25 second penalty seems very harsh given that the incident took place on the second lap of the race, and should have been dealt with during the race (i.e. a 10 second stop and go).

Understood, but remember also, Jos Verstappen who had unfortunatly faild to finish int he point in the Australian Grand Prix was also given the same penalty, for overtaking Heidfeld at the same time as Olivier, and with the 25 second penalty was classified 10th behind Jean Alesi.

The official stewards decision for Jos Verstappen reads-

Having received a report from the Race Director that the driver of car 14 (Jos Verstappen) was involved in a possible yellow flag infringement, involving car 16 (Nick Heidfeld), the Stewards decided to investigate the matter having interviewed the drivers and their representatives and having viewed video recordings and having reviewed timing records, the Stewards of the meeting decided that there was a yellow flag infringement and impose a 25 second penalty on car no 14 Jos Verstappen and order that 25 seconds be added to the elapsed race time of the driver and that the results be amended accordingly.


and is available to the public here

The official stewards decision for Olivier Panis reads -

Having received a report from the Race Director that the driver of car 9 (Olivier Panis) was involved in a possible yellow flag infringement, involving car 16 (Nick Heidfeld), the Stewards decided to investigate the matter having interviewed the drivers and their representatives and having viewed video recordings and having reviewed timing records, the Stewards of the meeting decided that there was a yellow flag infringement and impose a 25 second penalty on car no 9 Olivier Panis and order that 25 seconds be added to the elapsed race time of the driver and that the results be amended accordingly.


And is available to the public here

The wording of both documents is almost identical. I would like to know, given Rene's argument, why the FIA hate Arrows, and/or JV ? But I am not one to rule out this was bias treatment against British American Racing, and Arrows and Jos Verstappen were punished simply because thier name was on the appeal sheet.

The wording does also say 'possible yellow flag infringrment', meaning they are not sure if it actually took place, they are just taking the word of Nick Heidfeld and Peter Sauber for real. They did however say thet video footage and telemetry was checked, but they did not classify what type of infringment had occured. Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen (both Sauber driver) each gained one point from the decision, and in return gave Sauber two extra points.
Which leads me to believe that this may not only be a case if bias against British American Racing, but also a case bias in the favour of Sauber.

Any way you look at it, this decision ruined the weeked for two highly respected drivers.

It is also my humble opinion that there be a statute of limitations set as for when decisions like this can be made. If there already is one, then it shuld be moved closer to the completion of the Grand Prix.

#21 squiggle bob

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Posted 03 January 2002 - 13:43

I would tend to think that if the FIA were bias towards one particular party, the other parties would object.

Bias is NOT when a decision is made ruling in favour of a driver or team that you do not support. Bias is NOT when a decision is made ruling against a driver or team that you do support. Bias would be if numerous rulings were made in favour of a particular driver or team constantly OR if two cases with similar facts were brought before the WMC and two completely different decisions were reached. Even in the event of the latter being true, more evidence would be required before the FIA could be labeled as bias, such as a number of occasions where the latter was repeated.

I can not see any evidence that suggests the FIA favours any particulr driver or team and nor can I see any evidence that suggests when two cases raising a similar issue have been brought before the WMC, that one decision has been completely the opposite of the other.

Furthermore, the FIA rules and regulations are NOT black and white. There are many gray areas which exist to enable the teams the OPTION to push the envelope. If a team is accused of bending the rules too far, they need to convince the court that they were not gaining an unfair advantage. Therein lies the only glitch of the judiciary. If one party can afford better counsel than an another, they will have more chance of getting a more favourable judgement. Yet that glitch exists in most courts worldwide.

#22 HSJ

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Posted 03 January 2002 - 14:15

Originally posted by Hotwheels
I do wish that the court had listed all the 3 sub cases , allowing us to see the full scope of the case. But as it has not .........

Yes the FIA is Biased - because as it is made up of humans it has to have some bias - but whether this bias clouds its judgements is the question.

The fia IS BIASED - and it is biased to making the FI as lucrative and a money spinner as possible.
Time and again the FIA has demonstared that the rules are not written in stone - if this helps the championship (and hence the TV revenue ) go as close to the wire as possible. The 1999 championship is a recent example - with Ferrari and the Mayalasia race.

Another way the FIA shows this bias is to keep the championship "interesting " by constant change . I doubt if there is any other sport which has fundamental changes to the equipment as often as F1 has had. This is disguised as safety / development etc - but in reality allows constant newness and cyclic dominence . Which of course keeps it interesting and the TV revenues coming in.

As the distibution of these funds is not uniform , a catch 22 sitution has been created wherein the big fish get the bigger slice and hence the big become bigger and so on.

Over and above this the FIA is also biased in favour of Ferrari - which is most likely due to personal likes and dislikes and also due to the massive religious like loyalty to this team and the massive TV revenues it generates

In 1997 MIka won the australin race and it was presumed that Williams and Mclaren had an pre race arrangement. The FIA warned of action for any such future "collusions" . Taking the spirit of the rule - that no team(S) can have a pre race arragement - Ferrari has a transparent blatent team order policy. (Austria 2001) As the WDC is an individual sport , one understands that if a team member pulls over and grants extra championship points- so should other teams be allowed -- even for NON team championship contentors. Or the FIA should not allow Ferrari to do the same.
We had another ruling in favour of MS - in Brazil 2000 where the top 5 cars had illegal measumemts dur to the rough track and ONLY DC was stipped of his points - this helped MS in his championship battle.

Finally a "top team" was accused of cheating and not named - Ferrari reportly has been running illegal TC prior to Spain 2001 , and the fact that it was the ONLY team with no teething problems with the introduction of legal TC ---- this is speculation but a very valid one.

Hence i conclude that the FIA IS BIASED - towards the bottom line and in this carries the team it has to . to ensure the hype.


To this list you can add the following:

In Sepang 99 MS drove to benefit EI in the WDC. But when a year later it was possible for DC to drive similarly to help MH in the WDC hunt, FIA banned it after DC drove like that at Indy. Why did FIA not ban it after Sepang 99? A journalist asked Charlie Whiting(?) whether it was the correct interpretation that it was no longer legal to drive like MS did at Sepang 99. Whiting answered simply that yes, it was no longer legal.

#23 squiggle bob

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Posted 04 January 2002 - 04:22

Originally posted by HSJ

In Sepang 99 MS drove to benefit EI in the WDC. But when a year later it was possible for DC to drive similarly to help MH in the WDC hunt, FIA banned it after DC drove like that at Indy. Why did FIA not ban it after Sepang 99? A journalist asked Charlie Whiting(?) whether it was the correct interpretation that it was no longer legal to drive like MS did at Sepang 99. Whiting answered simply that yes, it was no longer legal.

I am sorry, but I do not see your point? MS drove to protect EI's WDC chances in 1999 (Malaysia). One year later, DC drove to protect MH's WDC chances in 2000 (USA). And you know WHY I fail to see your point? Because there is NO point. The FIA made the decision to stop the championship interference at the end of the season. If the FIA had taken action against DC or Mclaren after Indy 2000, I would think THAT was biased.

Originally posted by Hotwheels
The fia IS BIASED - and it is biased to making the FI as lucrative and a money spinner as possible.
Time and again the FIA has demonstared that the rules are not written in stone - if this helps the championship (and hence the TV revenue ) go as close to the wire as possible. The 1999 championship is a recent example - with Ferrari and the Mayalasia race.

You seem to be certain that "time and again the FIA has demonstared that the rules are not written in stone" yet you only provide ONE race as evidence.

Originally posted by Hotwheels
Another way the FIA shows this bias is to keep the championship "interesting " by constant change . I doubt if there is any other sport which has fundamental changes to the equipment as often as F1 has had. This is disguised as safety / development etc - but in reality allows constant newness and cyclic dominence . Which of course keeps it interesting and the TV revenues coming in.

It's called clutching at straws and paranoia. Stop it, its annoying. Despite what you think, Formula One is NOT designed for one team to win. Constant FUNDAMENTAL changes? The only FUNDAMENTAL changes in recent times came in 1998. I also see a pattern in your train of thought. You seem to believe that, through wanting to create revenue, that the FIA are biased. But how does that mean they are biased towards any particular team/driver?

Originally posted by Hotwheels
Over and above this the FIA is also biased in favour of Ferrari - which is most likely due to personal likes and dislikes and also due to the massive religious like loyalty to this team and the massive TV revenues it generates.

In a Court of Law, you would be sent to jail for contempt for making such a statement without evidence. So cough up, where is your evidence, that proves to the Judges, BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT, that the FIA are biased towards Ferrari " due to personal likes and dislikes and also due to the massive religious like loyalty to this team and the massive TV revenues it generates".

Originally posted by Hotwheels
In 1997 MIka won the australin race and it was presumed that Williams and Mclaren had an pre race arrangement. The FIA warned of action for any such future "collusions" . Taking the spirit of the rule - that no team(S) can have a pre race arragement - Ferrari has a transparent blatent team order policy. (Austria 2001) As the WDC is an individual sport , one understands that if a team member pulls over and grants extra championship points- so should other teams be allowed -- even for NON team championship contentors. Or the FIA should not allow Ferrari to do the same.

For your argument to be valid, you would need EVIDENCE of other teams following the example Ferrari set at Austria 2001 and being PUNISHED. I hope you brought your toothbrush.

Originally posted by Hotwheels
We had another ruling in favour of MS - in Brazil 2000 where the top 5 cars had illegal measumemts dur to the rough track and ONLY DC was stipped of his points - this helped MS in his championship battle.

maybe if you brought forward evidence, it would SUPPORT your case. That's right, the evidence would prove that your belief was WRONG.

Originally posted by Hotwheels
Finally a "top team" was accused of cheating and not named - Ferrari reportly has been running illegal TC prior to Spain 2001 , and the fact that it was the ONLY team with no teething problems with the introduction of legal TC ---- this is speculation but a very valid one.

ACTUALLY, it was THREE. And it was said that it did not effect the championship result. Other teams also had no teething problems with TC. Again, EVIDENCE to support your claims would be nice.

#24 Hotwheels

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Posted 04 January 2002 - 12:19

Squiggle Bob --- This is not an actual court nor am i a lawyer . If you really want to go through this with a fine comb - than the mandate of the particular case is impossible to rule upon.

This case shall examine whether the FIA lets the identity of a driver and/or team influence the decision its stewarts, The International Court of Appeal or the World Motorsport Council make.



Subcase A: The FIA ACTIVELY favors particular teams and/or drivers in decisions made by its stewards, The International Court of Appeal, or the World Motorsport Council.



The crucial word is : "Actively" . Of course it is not actively - it is implied or suspected. Also to compare we need the EXACT same situation with two different results - with the same track / same set of race Stewarts / similar appeal etc

My entire case is built on speculatuion and heresay - as is yours or any body on this BB .Was anyone present in any appeal to really know what was the actual defence and hence the outcome??
If NO - then either this case should be allowed on analysis built around popular opinion such as Bernie Ecclestone is actually the FIA, his and the FIA objectives are the one and same / etc etc etc.

OR we dont waste time discussing futile cases which we are not competent to do.

#25 Rene

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Posted 05 January 2002 - 04:25

Originally posted by Flying Panda
Having received a report from the Race Director that the driver of car 9 (Olivier Panis) was involved in a possible yellow flag infringement, involving car 16 (Nick Heidfeld), the Stewards decided to investigate the matter having interviewed the drivers and their representatives and having viewed video recordings and having reviewed timing records, the Stewards of the meeting decided that there was a yellow flag infringement and impose a 25 second penalty on car no 9 Olivier Panis and order that 25 seconds be added to the elapsed race time of the driver and that the results be amended accordingly.


I would like to thank Flying Panda for his excellent post, which perhaps more clearly makes the point I was trying to make. The FIA itself states that Panis and in this case Jos Verstappen possibley broke the rules (despite the denials of Panis, see my earlier post), while Raikkonen clearly passed Burti while there were waving yellow flags. The incident in question was caught by the World Feed, so there is no question that the rules were in fact broken. However no penalty was brought down on Raikkonen, in fact BAR appealed the decision, and of course lost.

The official press release states

The International Court of Appeal met in Paris on 1 June 2001 in order to examine the appeal brought by the Royal Automobile Club - Motor Sports Association (MSA - United Kingdom) on behalf of the team Lucky Strike Reynard British American Racing Honda (British licence-holder) against the decision of the Stewards of the 2001 Formula One Austrian Grand Prix (document number 44 - rejection of the protest lodged by the team Lucky Strike Reynard British American Racing Honda against car number 17 - Kimi Räikkönen, Red Bull Sauber Petronas - for alleged overtaking under yellow flags).

Having listened to the explanations of all the parties involved and examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court rejected the appeal and decided to confirm the Stewards' decision (document number 44) of the 2001 Formula One Austrian Grand Prix.

The results of this event are therefore final.


Seems odd, that a possible rule infringement costs BAR chamionship points, while a confirmed rule infringement nets no penalty at all! The rational of the FIA leaves a lot to be desired, in this case they don't even try to define why the ruled against BAR.

It seems clear that BAR initially thumbed their noses at the FIA, and have paid the price for it whenever the FIA gets a chance to make any type of decision which effects them...

#26 philhitchings

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Posted 05 January 2002 - 21:11

Originally posted by daveturbo
Bernie is not the FIA and he's allowed not only to have a favourite, but also to be truthful about it.

.............


I saw on TV a couple of years ago, Max Mosely talk about his preferences, at Monaco, and he clearly stated that he always liked to see Ferrari do well, as he believed that most people do.

However, the points made above in relation to partisanship, are both petty and, for the purposes of this case, misleading. The FIA has, in the past shown bias to Williams, Ferrari, and Mclaren at different times. they have also shown bias to Schumacher, Senna et al at different times as well. There is also the long standing bias of the FIA to consider, as my own (small) contribution relating to allocation of money shows

The point here surely is not whether one team or another fares better than its competitors, but rather that, there is favour in one (or more) garage(s) than any of the others at all.

Surely this is the crux of the case, and not the understandable bias of the fans who have posted here. Ferrari did this, Mika hakkinen, did that DC was showed this, MS got that, Damon...... etc. etc. etc.

All the arguments appear to be that, the FIA is a biased group who unfairly penalise/support one (or more) team(s)/driver(s) in favour of another. petty squables merely dilute a case that is evidently proven.

#27 Rene

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Posted 07 January 2002 - 06:24

Originally posted by squiggle bob
I would tend to think that if the FIA were bias towards one particular party, the other parties would object.


This is not what I would expect at all. The FIA have repeatedly punished teams over the years for appealing their decisions (eg Benetton appeal of the MS staying out while being blag flagged), and BAR who went so far as to legally challenge the FIA, and has been punished for it ever since. Therefore it is in no teams interest to point out the elephant in the room....if any team principle were to point out the bias of the FIA, he could expect to be roasted for it for many years to come...

Originally posted by squiggle bob
Bias is NOT when a decision is made ruling in favour of a driver or team that you do not support. Bias is NOT when a decision is made ruling against a driver or team that you do support. Bias would be if numerous rulings were made in favour of a particular driver or team constantly OR if two cases with similar facts were brought before the WMC and two completely different decisions were reached. Even in the event of the latter being true, more evidence would be required before the FIA could be labeled as bias, such as a number of occasions where the latter was repeated.


Bias is defined as a preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment. An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice. Bias has nothing to do with which driver or team we support as fans, bias has to do with FIA inconsistantly and unfairly applying the rules. In my previous posts, I have clearly shown that the FIA, when presented with two very similiar situations, acted with bias against BAR.

Originally posted by squiggle bob
I can not see any evidence that suggests the FIA favours any particulr driver or team and nor can I see any evidence that suggests when two cases raising a similar issue have been brought before the WMC, that one decision has been completely the opposite of the other.


Australia 2001 Panis 25 second penalty for 'possibly' passing during waved yellow flags
Austria 2001 Raikkonen clearly passed under waved yellows, yet all was forgiven

The bias above cost BAR 5th place in the WCC, which amounts to several million dollars in lost revenue...

Originally posted by squiggle bob
Furthermore, the FIA rules and regulations are NOT black and white. There are many gray areas which exist to enable the teams the OPTION to push the envelope. If a team is accused of bending the rules too far, they need to convince the court that they were not gaining an unfair advantage. Therein lies the only glitch of the judiciary. If one party can afford better counsel than an another, they will have more chance of getting a more favourable judgement. Yet that glitch exists in most courts worldwide.


The FIA rules are in fact in black and white, and can be found at www.fia.com

If I may quote the rules...
b) Yellow flag:
This is a signal of danger and should be shown to drivers in two
ways with the following meanings:
- Single waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake and be
prepared to change direction. There is a hazard beside or partly
on the track.
- Double waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake and be
prepared to change direction or stop. There is a hazard wholly or
partly blocking the track.

Thats pretty black and white to me....

#28 RaggedEdge

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Posted 07 January 2002 - 18:57

Recent FIA judgements against McLaren and in favour of Ferrari. Some may be slightly speculative:

1998 Brazil: Judgement against previously cleared McLaren braking system simply based on race stewards' judgement
1998 Silverstone: Overturning a stop-a-go penalty against Schumacher for overtaking under yellow
1998 Austria: Allowing Irvine to move over for Schumacher despite ruling against such behaviour after the Melbourne 1998 race

1999 Sepang: Overturning Ferrari disqualifications for the Sepang race. Allowing Schumacher to drive unsportingly by brake-testing Hakkinen

2000 Brazil: Disqualifying DC for similar infringement to Sepang 1999 measurement-fiasco, and not disqualifying Schumacher & Co for plank-wear incident
2000: Outlawing McLaren's energy-storage system
2000 Spa: Outlawing McLaren's previously approved torque-bias(?) differential

2001 first four races: Supposedly allowing Ferrari to run a system simulating traction control by superfast gearshifting (?)



#29 squiggle bob

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Posted 08 January 2002 - 07:06

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rene
This is not what I would expect at all. The FIA have repeatedly punished teams over the years for appealing their decisions (eg Benetton appeal of the MS staying out while being blag flagged), and BAR who went so far as to legally challenge the FIA, and has been punished for it ever since. Therefore it is in no teams interest to point out the elephant in the room....if any team principle were to point out the bias of the FIA, he could expect to be roasted for it for many years to come...[/quote]A team is NOT punished for appealing. As I understand it, the race stewards make a decision, and the team/driver can either ACCEPT it, or APPEAL to the WMC. The WMC then looks at the incident and then makes their OWN decision. Whether or not this decision is less or more than the race stewards decision, has NOTHING to do with the fact that the team appealed.

So if the other teams can not point out such a bias, why wouldn't teams who believed that the FIA were biased against them complain? What would they have to lose? It seems strange to me that bias is only ever mentioned by the fans, and never the teams. As I have previously said, bias is NOT when a decision is made against what you believe the outcome should have been.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rene
Bias is defined as a preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment. An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice. Bias has nothing to do with which driver or team we support as fans, bias has to do with FIA inconsistantly and unfairly applying the rules. In my previous posts, I have clearly shown that the FIA, when presented with two very similiar situations, acted with bias against BAR.And you have not proven, BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT that the FIA have acted in "preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment. An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice" for or against ANY team.

For example. They did not act with bias against BAR, you percieved it that way. The race stewards at the race made the decisions, and BAR lost their apeal to the WMC. Just like a court of law hands out different penalties for the same offences and specific penalties for other offences (fines etc), the WMC can hand down different penalties for similar offences or set penalties for cetain offences (25 seconds for passing under yellow). If you appeal from a lower court, you ALWAYS run the risk of an increased penalty.[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rene
Australia 2001 Panis 25 second penalty for 'possibly' passing during waved yellow flags
Austria 2001 Raikkonen clearly passed under waved yellows, yet all was forgiven

The bias above cost BAR 5th place in the WCC, which amounts to several million dollars in lost revenue...
Again, that comes down to race stewards, as I said above. You can not honestly expect race stewards not to make mistakes and different dicisions, especially when each race has a different race steward. [QUOTE]Originally posted by Rene
The FIA rules are in fact in black and white, and can be found at www.fia.com

If I may quote the rules...
b) Yellow flag:
This is a signal of danger and should be shown to drivers in two
ways with the following meanings:
- Single waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake and be
prepared to change direction. There is a hazard beside or partly
on the track.
- Double waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake and be
prepared to change direction or stop. There is a hazard wholly or
partly blocking the track.

Thats pretty black and white to me....
[/QUOTE]Maybe I should have made myself clear when I said rules and regulations, meaning TECHNICAL as well as SPORTING.

#30 squiggle bob

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Posted 08 January 2002 - 07:25

Originally posted by RaggedEdge
Recent FIA judgements against McLaren and in favour of Ferrari. Some may be slightly speculative:

1998 Brazil: Judgement against previously cleared McLaren braking system simply based on race stewards' judgement
1998 Silverstone: Overturning a stop-a-go penalty against Schumacher for overtaking under yellow
1998 Austria: Allowing Irvine to move over for Schumacher despite ruling against such behaviour after the Melbourne 1998 race

1999 Sepang: Overturning Ferrari disqualifications for the Sepang race. Allowing Schumacher to drive unsportingly by brake-testing Hakkinen

2000 Brazil: Disqualifying DC for similar infringement to Sepang 1999 measurement-fiasco, and not disqualifying Schumacher & Co for plank-wear incident
2000: Outlawing McLaren's energy-storage system
2000 Spa: Outlawing McLaren's previously approved torque-bias(?) differential

2001 first four races: Supposedly allowing Ferrari to run a system simulating traction control by superfast gearshifting (?)

Thats a nice list of most of the decisions concerning Mclaren and Ferrari over the past few years. Yet it doesn't really prove anything. Each case is looked at on a case by case basis. I agree that there have been similar decisions concerning Ferrari and Mclaren. Yet were the outcomes that different?

Sepang vs Brazil: Ferrari lose WCC points, while Mclaren lost BOTH WDC and WCC points. Was it justified, apparently so. While the Ferrari was a manafacturing glitch or whatever, it had nothing to do with the drivers or the way the drove, set up the car. The WMC was of the opinion however, that in David Coulthards case at Brazil, that due to his setup, his car and no one else's suffered damage to the front wing end plates. While his car, and others suffered plank wear, it was decided that since "Schumacher and Co." had suffered this it was due to the track. Had "Schumacher and Co." damaged their front wings, I DOUBT David Coulthard would have been penalised. Remember Spa 1994 Schumacher was stripped of his race win because of plank wear due to a spin, that was his fault and he was punished.

You can distort facts and rumours in any way you like, to come up with almost any conclusion you like. I could turn those same facts around and say that Mclaren are constantly cheating and being caught. At the end of the day, you have not proven that the FIA is bias. You've proven that you're bias towards Mclaren. Slighty speculative is an understatement.

#31 imaginesix

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 08:41

Following the multitude of cases that have been brought to this court's attention, I thought it would be beneficial to summarise them in order to bring some perspective (and accuracy) to the argumentas before the case closes.

The following is a break-down of all the FIA rulings that have been mentionned so far, along with one or two additionally relevant ones. Each is followed by the names of the drivers and teams that had the most to gain (In +brackets+), and those that had the most to lose (In -brackets-), based on the outcome of the trial. Also included is a link to the most relevant source of infomation that I could find for each case.


1995 Brasil: The cars of M.Schumacher and Coulthard are found to have nonconforming fuel after the race. Reasoning that the fuel provided no performance advantage, the International Court of Appeal (ICA) reinstates the drivers' standings, but not the teams'.link
- Individual driver: +M. Schumacher+/-Berger-
- Individual team: +Ferrari+/-Benetton-

1997 Belgium: Hakkinen and McLaren are excluded from the race results after the ICA finds that the car's fuel sample is non-conforming.link
- Individual driver: +Frentzen+/-Hakkinen-
- Individual team: +Williams+/-McLaren-

1998 Great Britain: M. Schumacher passes a car under yellow flags. The Race Stewards fail to provide notice of any penalty in the time and manner prescribed by the rules,.nor is a post-race penalty imposed.link 1 and link 2
- Individual driver: +M. Schumacher+/-Hakkinen-
- Individual team: +Ferrari+/-McLaren-

1999 Malaysia: Ferrari demonstrate that their barge board is legal if tilted slightly. The trackside inspectors failed to measure the inclination of the barge board, so the ICA could make no claim as to it's legality.link
- Individual driver: +M. Schumacher+/-Hakkinen-
- Individual team: +Ferrari+/-McLaren-

2000 Brasil: The skidplates of 5 top finishers are excessively worn. The ICA cites 'track roughness' as an extreme mitigating factor, allowing them all to retain their standings. Also, Coulthard is disqualified for a front wing endplate that is below the minimum height. The ICA does not allow 'track roughness' as an extreme mitigating factor in this case.link
- Individual driver: +Fisichella+/-Coulthard-
- Individual team: +Benetton, Jordan and Williams+/-McLaren-

2000 Austria: A seal on one of Hakkinen's electronic units is missing. The Race Stewards concede that it remained impossible to tamper with, but fined McLaren and withdrew their race points for the infringement.link
- Individual driver: +Hakkinen+/-Coulthard-
- Individual team: +Ferrari+/-McLaren-

2001 Australia: Race Stewards uphold Sauber's claim that Heidfeld was overtaken under yellow flags by Panis and Verstappen. Neither BAR nor Arrows appeal the decision to the ICA.link
- Individual driver: +Heidfeld,Frentzen and Raikkonen+ / -Panis-
- Individual team: +Sauber+ / -BAR-

2001 Austria: BAR's appeal of the race stewards' decision regarding Raikkonen passing Zonta under yellow flags is rejected by the ICA. No explanation is given.link
- Individual driver: +Raikkonen+ / -Panis-
- Individual team: +Sauber+ / -BAR-

2001 United States: One of the three stewards that are required to record an infraction was absent from scrutineering, so the ICA could make no claim as to the legality of Trulli's skidplate.link
- Individual driver: +Trulli+ / -Alesi, Irvine and Heidfled-
- Individual team: +Jordan+ / -BAR-

***With regards to the statements that Ferrari were allowed to use team tactics when nobody else was, these are utterly false. The FIA only ever re-stated it's existing ruling against "any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition" after Coulthard let Hakkinen pass him in Australia in 1998, causing a public uproar. Team were always allowed to strategize within their own teams, never in partnership with others.link***


From this information, we can quantify the number of rulings any driver or team has accumulated in a further attempt to distinguish bias for or against them. Each driver or team can be given a rating from the list of rulings above, that indicates the number of times rulings fell in their favor, for the total number of rulings that affected them. Any outcome close to 1 (1/1, 2/2, 3/3...) or 0 (0/1, 0/2, 0/3...) suggests bias. The outcome is more meaningful for those individuals with a higher count of cases affecting them.

M Schumacher: 3/3; Berger: 0/1; Frentzen: 2/2; Hakkinen: 1/4; Fisichella: 1/1; Coulthard: 0/2; Heidfeld: 1/2; Raikkonen: 2/2; Panis: 0/2; Trulli: 1/1; Alesi: 0/1; Irvine: 0/1.

Ferrari: 4/4; Benetton: 1/2; Williams: 2/2; McLaren: 0/5; Jordan: 2/2; Sauber: 2/2; BAR: 0/3.

The most striking appearance of bias, according to this method, is against McLaren. The next most striking occurence is the bias that appears in favor of Ferrari.

This appearance of favoritism can further be supported by closer examination of each case file. The Brasil 1995 and 2000 cases for example are almost contradictory in and of themselves. The first one rules in favor of Ferrari, the second one rules against McLaren.

Finally, and most convincingly, comparison of the two cases of Brasil 1995 and Belgium 1997 shows how two identical situations will result in two entirely separate outcomes, depending on which teams are involved. Again here, Ferrari benefits where McLaren suffers.

In conclusion I urge this court to find that based on all reasonable evidence, the FIA has, at the very least, tended to be lenient towards Ferrari and harsh towards McLaren, if not outright favoritist.

#32 imaginesix

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 16:49

Originally posted by squiggle bob
A team is NOT punished for appealing. As I understand it, the race stewards make a decision, and the team/driver can either ACCEPT it, or APPEAL to the WMC. The WMC then looks at the incident and then makes their OWN decision. Whether or not this decision is less or more than the race stewards decision, has NOTHING to do with the fact that the team appealed.

This is false.

After Villeneuve's exclusion from the results of the Japanese GP in 1997, Mosley publicly recommended to Williams NOT to appeal due to the risk of being penalised additionaly, such that Villeneuve would not be able to contend for the World Driver's Championship at Jerez.link

Not only does this demonstrate the risk of appealing, but it also shows favoritism by the mere fact that Mosley advised a team not to deal with the FIA in advance of the appeal being heard.

#33 jpv

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 21:41

A most commendable effort by Imaginesix

Unfortunately, all that effort goes to proving nothing. Let's see ... Ferrari is 4/4; that could also be construed to mean that Ferrari is more oftenly put (unfairly) under scrutiny and, therefore, most oftenly comes away clean, as it should.
McLaren is 0/5; that could mean that McLaren is most prone to cheating/bending the rules/"being creative" and therefore is caught more and comes away with a penalty, as it should.

Please note I do not espouse either of these two views; they are just additional appreciations that can, just as validly, be made from the facts offered.

The lack of complete checks by the local stewards in a race, which in turn may impede the ICA from reaching a decision, cannot be construed to be any type of conduct by FIA; at most, I would be willing to accept that the FIA is negligent in ensuring that stewards and scrutineers perform to desirable levels.

Once again, the key word is active bias by the FIA. There is no proof that the FIA as been actively seeking to influence the results for/against any one particular team/driver. Quote cannot be taken out of context. Max did in fact say he enjoyed seeing Ferrari win, he did not say that was his interest nor his prime commitment. Bernie has said many things ... Bernie is not the FIA nor is he so powerful as to determine the FIA's decisions.

I also consider that arguments such as "teams will not complain because they are afraid of FIA retaliation" are totally unacceptable. Please remember, this is a multimillion dollar business. As a business, it is subject to the common courts, such as national and international (EU) courts. The participants in the sport have taken action against each other and against the FIA in those common courts at such time as when they have felt that their rights have been infringed upon. The fact that the teams are not complaining/taking action against those supposedly obscure and actively biased FIA actions is a very clear indication that the teams/drivers themselves at lest recognize that the FIA has acted in good faith, if also with poor judgment.

This is the reason I, once again, submit that the FIA must be found inocent of the charge ... and I also repeat, the problem is that the charge is badly formulated.

JPV

#34 The Kanisteri

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Posted 09 January 2002 - 22:45

I have noticed that in situation where Bernie Ecclestone likes some driver or team, driver/team can 'stretch the rules' several times without consequences. And in meantime closest rivals team/driver under BE favour has 'suffered' unfair treatment.

But we are talking about influence by FIA.
What would be FIA's status without Formula 1?
- Their major class would be World Rally Cars and lighter Formulas and GT/LM cars.
- Without F1, association would not have same popularity, wealth and valuation as with F1: FIA would be same level than some 'world cricket association' - which no one really cares nothing.

And F1 is sport organisation what is deep on BE's holding. So:
- FIA will try to keep as good relationship with BE as possible and don't really want argue with him due corporation with BE.
- FIA will keep silence or looking elsewhere when Bernie is 'rushing' with his personal reasons.
- With F1 FIA will get major deal of 'revenues'. So : agree with BE, get some money, survive and deal with it.

We know Bernie really likes red cars and descendant(s) of german shoemaker so it isn't so hard to think driver or team which have those advantages, will manage very succesfully, as long Bernie likes them. Pity the rivals...

#35 Marcel Schot

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Posted 10 January 2002 - 06:50

The hearing has now been closed. Everyone thanks for participating.

A judgement will be posted within 7 days.

#36 Marcel Schot

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 21:02

Preamble
The goal of this case has been to examine whether the FIA lets the identity of a driver and/or team influence the decision its stewarts, The International Court of Appeal or the World Motorsport Council make.

Body
Numerous cases of alleged biased treatment by the FIA have been brought forward in this case. From the detailed analysis made by imaginesix it appears that the McLaren team is most often on the negative end of a FIA ruling, while Ferrari is most often on the positive end of a FIA ruling.

However, as jpv correctly stated, this could mean nothing more than Ferrari being watched closer by the FIA. Without having access to data about the actual scrutineering, it's impossible to say whether this was the case. No evidence of this kind has been presented in this courtcase, eventhough a detailed report about scrutineering in the 2000 season is readily available at the FIA website (http://www.fia.com/P...-Tech-Check.pdf).

Furthermore, jpv also suggested that McLaren could well be on the negative side of FIA decisions because they operate closer to the edge of what is and what is not allowed. This too cannot be proven without having access to McLaren's development data, something the team will keep from public view at all costs, if only to keep the competition from having a look in their kitchen.

Almost all allegations have been made have been weakened in the course of this session. This does not necessarily mean they were unfounded though. In many cases, the standpoint of the prosecution would stand in any normal discussion among fans. However, in a courtcase, an allegation needs to be proven beyond reasonable doubt and that has rarely been the case.

The only exception has been the case in which the BAR team has allegedly been treated unfairly by the FIA. Rene brought forward a case consisting of two pieces of evidence, namely the 2001 Australian Grand Prix in which a 25 second penalty was imposed on BAR driver Olivier Panis for having overtaken under yellow and the 2001 Austrian Grand Prix in which Sauber driver Kimi Raikkonen was not given any penalty for the same offence, eventhough television camera's registered this event.

Eventhough the court finds this action of the FIA disputable and the reasoning on why BAR would be mistreated by the FIA likely, this still is a single case in which a team has been treated unfairly. Considering the short history of the BAR team as such and the period of time that has expired since the team first clashed with the FIA, the future could prove otherwise, yet at this time the court has no other choice than to assume this is a coincidental case.

Verdict
Considering all evidence presented, the court finds that active bias in favour of a driver and/or team by way of a FIA position has not been proved beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore the court declares the FIA not guilty.