…Following a meeting of the FIA?s World Motor Sport Council attended by the teams in Paris, President Max Mosley revealed that they were deemed guilty of not being in possession of suitable tyres for the event, but with strong mitigating circumstances, and of wrongfully refusing to allow their cars to start the race.
The teams were cleared of three other charges of refusing to race subject to a speed limit, of combining to make a demonstration damaging to the image of the sport by stopping after the parade lap and of not informing the race stewards of their plans to withdraw.
Okay, that’s insulting enough. If that wasn’t a "demonstration damaging to the sport", what does it take? The people in the stands booing and giving the thumbs down for the race really appreciated the demonstration.
Then the bizarreness continues, and really gets insulting:
However, the Council decided to delay a decision on what punishment the teams will receive until a further extraordinary meeting on September 14. Before then Mosley said they would be considering the steps taken by Michelin and/or the seven teams to compensate fans who attended the US race and to ensure nothing similar happens again.
Speaking in a press conference following the Council meeting, Mosley hinted that if the situation has been satisfactorily resolved by then, penalties were likely to be financial, rather than extending to points deductions or race bans. He stressed that the FIA?s primary concern was the American fans and the image of Formula One racing in the United States.
What in the world? If Michelin covers the ticket price for those who attended the race, it’s all OK? This is some small consolation to those who attended (though I’d hold out for reimbursement of my travel, lodging, etc), and those of you who are fans who watched on TV, well, tough luck. This isn’t nearly harsh enough, and the delayed nature of the fines is a perfect example of F1 making the future worse (and appearing even more incompetent at best) by trying to avoid the present unpleasantness.
Here’s where this blows up in their faces, and just makes their failure to take their medicine and move on worse: Waiting until September 14 leaves three races left in the season when the hammer falls, and nobody is going to be happy with the result on September 15th. Why? If the penalties assessed change the constructor’s or driver’s championship significantly, those teams are going to be howling until the (very near) end of the season; if it’s perceived as not being a significant enough penalty, favoritism will be alleged by the Bridgestone teams (who did bother to race), reviving the well-deserved feckless reputation of F1 leadership.
Either way, this just keeps the issue boiling until the lid comes off September 14. Mark my words, postponing the punishment is going to poison the entire season, not just the USGP at Indy.