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Does the FIA Need Stability Control?

There is some talk of stability control being introduced into F1 in the future. This, of course, is a direct result of the manufacturers being involved in the sport – already they have used such systems on production cars and it makes sense for them to get their own private testing ground, F1, to help them develop the idea further.


This should be anathema to anyone interested in seeing F1 continue as a sport; the fans look forward with hope to the standardized ECU as a means of getting rid of traction control and now it emerges that the FIA is talking to the car industry about allowing stability control in F1. Nothing could more clearly illustrate the way in which the FIA has sold its soul to big money in the form of the manufacturers. Stability control will do much more than traction control in reducing the influence of driving skill as a factor in races – it will make the driver a mere passenger without opportunity to demonstrate his skill. Where is the sport in that?

It is quite apparent that the aims of motor sport and car manufacture are mutually incompatible. The primary intent of F1 must always be competition between drivers and nothing the FIA can do or say will alter that fact in the minds of those who care about the sport. The manufacturers, however, are in F1 only to demonstrate to potential customers that their designs are the best – a marketing exercise, in other words. They do not care about the sporting aspects and would be betraying their company’s interests if they did.

The irony lies in the fact that, as the cars become laden with driver aids in the cause of “relevance to the production of road vehicles”, the fans will drift away because the human element, the drivers, are no longer competing in any meaningful way. Once the viewing public has dwindled to the point of insignificance, the manufacturers will leave and put their money elsewhere.

At which point we might, just might, get our sport back, if there is anything left to salvage. My fear is that a governing body as blind to the obvious as the FIA is showing itself to be will find a way to make things even worse.

In a way, it is good that these matters are becoming apparent now, rather than later. As sanity at last begins to make an appearance in the global warming debate, the FIA’s commitment to “green-ness” will be shown up for the subservience to the manufacturers that it is. Once their credibility as a governing body is destroyed (and it is fairly rocky already), it might become apparent that the only change that is needed is in the way F1 is governed and by whom.

Hopefully, that will happen before all the idiotic rule changes they have lined up can come into effect.

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