Thursday, October 19, 2006

World Rallies Commission - A logic-free zone

I'd love to know what the FIA's World Motor Sport Council is smoking. No sooner do they release the 2007 calendar for the World Rally Championship, featuring three new rallies, then they reveal the 2008 calendar with all three replaced!

They haven't even run Rally Norway, Rally Ireland or the Rally of Portugal and they're booted off the schedule. It's so weird. I for one thought that the pairings of snow rallies in Sweden and Norway and rain rallies in Ireland and Great Britain were inspired, and made for a nice cost-cutting measure.

But now they've added rallies in South Africa and Jordan for 2008, which are extremely expensive to get to. Aside from the cost of air freight, administrative procedures such as customs clearances, posting bonds and local transportation are far more costly than in any European country. Of course the lack of restrictions on cigarette advertising surely has NOTHING to do with their inclusion....

I'm all for globalizing the sport, but it has to be done in a considered and careful fashion, and replacing rallies which have only appeared on the calendar for one year seems to be the wrong way to go.

Even more insane is that the third event that will displace the 2007 rookie events is the return of the Cyprus Rally, which was removed due to the cost to teams of replacing all the bits that get broken on cars in the notoriously rough event. Will somebody please explain the logic of this to me, because I can't come up with a single reason.


Adel said...

You want the game to be globalized, but you don't want the rallies to be anywhere outside europe because of the cost! what about non-european drivers and sport fans?

Nicebloke said...

Globalization is great if it's done properly. Don't send crews all the way to New Zealand, and then NOT have them go to Australia too. Why they don't pair Argentina and Mexico, I'll never know.

My issue is with the FIA who are doing exactly what you say: preaching cost-saving, then axing brand new European rallies to go to expensive destinations. I'd love to see the WRC back in Africa and North America, as well as expanding in Asia, and a reduction in European events will be necessary to make this happen. So I find it extremely strange that they add 3 new European events for 2007, then remove them for 2008.