Thursday, June 30, 2005

Volume 7 - Congratulations Formula One

I’ve been a racecar fan from my earliest memories of my father tearing engines apart, rebuilding them, and repeating the process innumerable times. Pictures of him, hang in my office, winning the midget championships in 1937 driving a Chrysler special number 7, and running stock, modifieds, and even, in 1956, owning a Chrysler 300, which ran in the then category of ‘new cars’. He was one of the very first to experiment with power steering, something taken for granted today in NASCAR. Speaking of that organization, NASCAR, it has grown exponetially because, ‘the powers to be’ still recognize its fan as the most important ingredient, and may they always keep us (the fan) as their core value. Other major sports, from the NFL to the NBA and Major League Baseball, who can’t deal with their drug problems, strikes, and other business miss-managements, have all long forgotten the fan.

Thank goodness for auto racing in all of its forms, whether it be a sanctioned NASCAR event, a Friday night at your local dirt track, the 24 Hours of Daytona with the DP prototypes, a Grand AM or a SCCA event, the BAJA 1000 or the IRL with the presence of a contending female in Danica Patrick to Formula One. Excuse me, did I say Formula One? The same people that this past Father’s Day Weekend ran a total of six cars at Indianapolis, because they couldn’t settle a dispute among themselves about tire safety (and control of organizational power)?

Congratulations Formula One. You have now joined the ‘big’ leagues of major sports. You aren’t any better than Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA or even the NHL (arguably a question of whether this is a major sport), as they all forgot about the fan years ago. For stadiums, team owners, city and state administrations that don’t have the courage to say “no” and all collapse under the pressure to give tax payer money away to multi-millionaires, rather than change some rules and get the monies to local schools or State health care for their needy residents. Now, FIA, you show up at the only event you run in within the United States and with the largest tire manufacturer in the world, that can’t resolve a problem, that I’m sure, didn’t raise its ugly head until right before the race. So much for the American Market, take your internal struggles and go back to Europe, Asia or South America and insult other major racing markets with your insolence, ego and attitude, but spare us your rhetoric.

It’s simple. It’s all about the fan. The fan didn’t cause your problems, but, they always pay the price. You should understand Business 101, it’s all about the focus on the customer. It’s about on-time, complete shipments at a fair price. Those that listen and execute this core value have successful enterprises; those that don’t, think of a million excuses for their failure. They call in experts from afar, they blame the economy or even the workforce, but they never look in the mirror. It’s too bad that I’ve already given out the June 2005 ‘Stupid award’ (check earlier blog) for the FIA, from Mosley to Ecclestone to Michelin to the individual teams should all be able to share it!

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