The two have rarely been the easiest of bedfellows, so Sir Jackie Stewart is not the most obvious candidate to defend Max Mosley over the much-criticised current state of play in F1, but the three-time world champion argues that the fault for what has been slated as a 'Mickey Mouse' situation by Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber [see separate story – click here
] cannot be laid at the door of the former FIA President – well, not entirely anyway.
Ferrari recently lambasted Mosley for having 'waged a holy war' on the top flight's manufacturers that led to a mass exodus last year, with Honda, BMW, Toyota and to all intents and purposes Renault all pulling the plug on their involvement in F1 over the space of barely twelve months.
The Englishman's 'crime', according to the Scuderia
, was to have blindly and belligerently pushed ahead with a controversial and ill-conceived budget cap initiative that was anathema to the big-spending manufacturer outfits – and practically impossible to achieve in the timeframe in which Mosley wanted the ever-escalating scale of expenditure in F1 to be dramatically slashed.
The objective was to attract more smaller, independent, less well-heeled operations to come in and swell the field – and whilst that has been accomplished, it is debatable as to whether thus far the 2010 newcomers have added to the sport or conversely detracted from it.
'Two teams will limp into the start of the championship, a third is being pushed into the ring by an invisible hand and as for the fourth, well, you would do better to call on Missing Persons to locate it,' read Ferrari's caustic statement on the matter [see separate story – click here
], referring to Lotus and Virgin's testing woes, the eleventh hour salvation of Hispania Racing – formerly Campos Meta 1 – that looks likely to make its grand prix debut in Bahrain without so much as a single testing lap under its belt, and worst of all the shambolic and very public failure of USF1 to make the grade.
Whilst acknowledging that Mosley's reforming, cost-cutting zeal could have been moderated somewhat and that the 69-year-old might have been a little more accommodating and willing to compromise rather than ultimately going 'too far', Stewart philosophically contends that manufacturers have always been a transitory element in the sport and that the man who once infamously described him as a 'certified halfwit' in relation to his dyslexia should not bear the full brunt of the blame for their departure.
“Everybody has had to cut their cloth, not because of any regulation of Max Mosley's,” the Scot – who ran his own eponymously-named team in F1 from 1997 to 1999 – is quoted as having said by Planet-F1
, “but I think he overdid the threat in trying to take out a lot of the big companies from the sport so small companies and teams could come in.
“It's been demonstrated [that] smaller teams are not coming in very well. We've lost BMW and Toyota, for example. You mustn't start saying it's bad for the sport to have the big companies in, but I don't think we can blame Max Mosley for this – not all of it anyway, [even if] he probably went a bit too far.
“[Manufacturers] will always come and go. Everybody has great ambitions; not everybody can pull it together. The financial climate in the world at the present time doesn't make life very easy.”