Martin Brundle hits back at the FIA over ‘bullying’

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Martin Brundle has hit back at the FIA following the news that the sport’s governing body intends to sue the Sunday Times over one of his articles.

In a new piece today entitled “How can Formula One justify blatant double standards?” Brundle defends his earlier claim that the FIA is engaged in a witch-hunt against McLaren and cites its failure to prosecute Renault over allegations of spying to be further proof.

In the article he also reveals that this is not the first time his journalism has been criticised by the FIA:

I expect my accreditation pass for next year will be hindered in some way to make my coverage of F1 more difficult and to punish me. Or they will write to ITV again to say that my commentary is not up to standard despite my unprecedented six Royal Television Society Awards for sports broadcasting. So be it.

He describes the McLaren judgement as being about “negativity and suspicion of possible use of Ferrari information” while the Renault investigation has an, “understanding and supportive nature and one only of occasional ‘strong disapproval’.”

I’ve not quite made my mind up about the Renault verdict just yet – it’s a gigantically complicated affair and I don’twish to jump to conclusions. In between writing this article and the inevitable festive shopping I’ve been poring over the available documents and am preparing what I hope will be a very thorough analysis of them.

Brundle however has set down his case quite clearly and is tackling the FIA head-on. Good for him, I say.

If the FIA are happy they’ve delivered a fair verdict, they have nothing to fear from the kind of logical, rational, transparent criticism that Brundle’s broadcasts and writings are renowned for.

More on F1’s spying investigations

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Martin Brundle hits back at the FIA over ‘bullying’”

  1. As he points out, it would be silly for the fia to go against a person who has been honered for his work many times over :)
    He is very respected and the fia knows they don’t look good for the masses!

    1. Doesn’t mean that their aren’t a load of big ego’s in the FIA who think that they can crush Brundle, more fool them is all I say.

      I just wonder what Todt’s take on all this is, afterall here is a chance to have a real swipe at the old guard in the FIA and clear out some of Max’s guys if he wants to….

  2. I cannot find the words to describe the total arrogance of the way Max Moseley and the FIA behave towards a sport that they singularly do more to damage than anyone else. Blatant bias towards Ferrari- including Ferrari representatives on the FIA world council, anyone thinking that F1 is a level playing field can just forget it! Ask Ron Dennis if fair is a word used by the FIA? It is plainly, painfully obvious for anyone to see the outrageous unfair rulings that come out from this comical governing body.Mclaren, Martin Brundle, who next?? Fancy doffing up Murray Walker Max? Or is he a scared old man??? A bully by any other name is Mr. Moseley- be careful- what goes around comes around………………..

  3. Martin mentions that it may be more difficult for him to get accreditation for next season. Is that possibly why there is no mention of the action on the ITV F1 website or forum?

  4. You’d think the FIA would have enough work on their plates: delaying the McLaren car approval, maybe trying to work on their PR a little bit – but no. Instead they’re going out of their way to mess up, as plenty have said already, an established reporter. Nevermind Brundle’s accolades, if it weren’t for Martin Brundle these days, I would not bother with ITV coverage.

    These acts by the FIA, imo, are more damaging to themselves than the actual decisions they’ve taken affecting the sport directly. Why would they even bother directing any energy towards this pointless excercise? Another high aim for the FIA to set another precedent that they won’t bother with again?

    I don’t like getting involved in anti-FIA decisions, because mainly there’s not that much anyone can do about them, but when an organisation is singling out an individual for doing their job, and doing it well, you can’t exactly keep schtum.


    If they needed to further alienate the F1 fanbase then this was pretty much the way to do it. Not content with making ‘interesting’ decisions throughout the season (because regardless of your views on those decisions, they haven’t always ran along any recognised lines of logic), they now make personal attacks on the characters that make F1 the sport it is.

    Genius. Pure genius.

  6. The FIA is inviting a lot of trouble for itself. The libel case against Martin will inevitably reveal certain flaws in the FIA’s thinking, and open the way for it to be prosecuted – most likely at EU level. In the end, the FIA risks self-destruction by going down this path.

  7. Does Mr Brundle think he can publish what he likes?
    I was shocked to read how many awards he has won, does no one else think that the ITV commentators are always missing the point?

    I watch almost all the races with live timing screens, and they are always way off the mark with their predictions over stuff like pit stop strategy, and the time it takes to make a stop etc, how many times have they got it wrong thinking someone has to stop again….

    It wouldnt be a bad thing if they changed the commentators, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION!

  8. All I can say at this time is good luck Martin in defending your right to speak what we all think but dont get as open a platform too speak it on – as for the pass I mentioned earlier that would be the path that organisation may take – you are the most relative commentator on itv f1 coverage and the main problem – will they stick by you as they may want to take the path of least resistance to keep their new found advertisers on the back of the lewis hamilton interest?
    the times though has been sued and defeated many self interested parties before now and I think they will stand by you – else why do they have mr clarkson for a collumnist fr example – so good luck again

  9. There is something missing in this picture. If anything, the FIA has picked its battles to ones it can win. Quite honestly, when was the last time the FIA lost in court? The FIA seems to believe they have an ace up their sleeve. They are made up of lawyers and they won’t go into this headfirst without having thought it through.

    Are the FIA better connected in European politics than we think they are? They have been completely confident in what they’re doing.

  10. From my understanding if you’re going to sue someone for libel you generally do it in England as its laws are more favourable towards the prosecutor. And the FIA couldn’t have picked a much more conspicuous target.

  11. Good point, Keith. The case in itself might won’t win, but I think the damage the FIA is looking for lies outside of the case and more of the impact of there being a case.

    Who knew Mosley would become Balestre II? Ah, nuts.

  12. Right on, Keith- the FIA absolutely could not have picked a more conspicuous man to go after in the eyes of the public.

  13. The FIA shouldn’t have gone against Brundle as he is so popular in F1 circles, he’s much better than James Allen, his gridwalks are always entertaining and he genuinely seems like a nice bloke. I hope he doesn’t end up losing his job on ITV as that would mean we would probably end up with Ted Kravitz, who is even more slimy than Allen.

  14. “Does Mr Brundle think he can publish what he likes?”

    Actually, he can, provided it’s not defamatory or libellous. I guess we’re going to find out if what he wrote is, though it looks just like an opinion to me.

    “I watch almost all the races with live timing screens, and they are always way off the mark with their predictions over stuff like pit stop strategy, and the time it takes to make a stop etc, how many times have they got it wrong thinking someone has to stop again….”

    That’s your opinion, but following Max’s thinking Brundle would have good cause to sue you for that.

  15. Don’t you just love M.B.

  16. Max & the FIA have just shot themselves in the foot & perhaps in the head as well. The world of journalism is larger than they think. To persecute investigative journalism, Max & the FIA have just gotten themselves lower in the PR war. In the US, they’d have been crucified by the media – nationwide.

  17. the thing that concerns me, that i’m not sure anyone else seems bothered about…

    WHY are the FIA writing to ITV offering opinions on their commentators in the first place?

    what business is it of the FIA?
    how often have they done this, and who else?
    is such a practice even legal under EU law?

    sound like propaganda to me.

  18. The FIA’s case is against the term witch-hunt, as used by Martin. A witch hunt is generally defined as:
    “the searching out and deliberate harassment of those (as political opponents) with unpopular views”

    The FIA is the governing body of motorsport. By saying the spycase against McLaren is in reality a witch-hunt, somebody says that there is not really a spy case, but the FIA is after McLaren for other reasons.

    Some may agree with that, but I can understand that the FIA is upset and cannot accept that their authority is undermined.

  19. But he didn’t say it “was” a witch hunt, he said it “had the feel” of a witch hunt.

    Massive difference.

    It will be nice to see the FIA defend their actions in a real court instead of the kangaroo ones they normally run.

  20. I see the FIA have responded to Brundles article from this weekend. They seem to me like a paranoid girlfriend. They seem all to happy to create these media slagging matches that are far to public, then shoot them down. Where is the professionalism in that? There will always be opinions, and they will never be able to control what the media thinks, they are just perpetuating more dislike and fueling more reason for pundits to comment on them! I agree, with Nellyweb, I would really like to see an investigation to the FIA and the clarity and consistency of the organisation! I hope Ron Dennis is just biding his time compiling a 780 page document on Max!

  21. Nice one, Scott! We need the journalists to be able to say what they think is happening, not just copy whatever the FIA thinks is best. And a 780-page document on the FIA would be amusingly ironic, given the regularity with which we’ve seen that number in recent times…

  22. Powerline2007,
    In section 4 it says ‘is seen as an attempt to silent investigative journalism’
    Shouldn’t that be ‘is seen as an attempt to silence investigative journalism’

  23. nellyweb, you are right, and I also would agree, if the headline would have been different to
    “Witch-hunt threatens to spoil world title race”

  24. For those who think the FIA have a leg to stand on ,the british system is favoured TOWARDS the press and journalists, but more importantly, the sunday times has the ability to outmuscle the FIA thanks to good old Rupert Murdoch and new corp.

    But don’t forget positives of this case. If Brundle were to lose his pass, he would have free reign to write as he pleases, and may encourage more to do so. This is the sort of pressure needed against the FIA which is more like a despot rigging results and ensuring it will upon all than a governing body.

  25. My understanding of libel and defamatory laws is at odds with yours, Kieran. I always understood that people prosecuting libel cases preferred to do so in England because the laws are more favourable towards them than journalists, who are very often the defendants in such cases.

    In modern libel cases it is often possible for prosecutors to choose which country they prosecute in, because the article would have been ‘published’ in a large number of countries as it has been put on the internet.

    If Brundle were to lose his pass, he may write what he pleases, but denying him access to the paddock would severely compromise his ability to provide first-hand coverage of Formula 1. Would the FIA do that to such a high-profile figure?

  26. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t done so to leave a comment against Martin’s latest column.

    Petitions are fine but have little chance of reaching the appropriate people but we know the FIA are monitoring Martin’s column. The blazers at the FIA are in the self-protection business above all and if they feel that getting rid of Max is going to give them an easier ride then they will get rid. We have to let them know how we feel. It is also not going to harm any legal case if Martin has a stack of comments and very few negatives. It may also motivate News Corp to go after Max and co if Max bottles out of the court case.

    If you have a racing site or blog post the link and encourage people to comment at Martin’s column.

    As a result of Max’s stupidity Martin is the best chance we have of achieving a change of direction for the sport. Do everything you can to encourage or help Martin. He may be our only hope.

  27. ITV can be contacted at

    Send messages encouranging ITV to support Martin and to let Martin know we are right behind him.

  28. After McLaren have now “wholeheartedly” apologised to the FIA, it may be a good idea for Martin and The Sunday Times to follow in Sunday’s column.

  29. martin said it was a witch hunt by the fia on mclaren, looks like it was all justified.
    Mclaren are cheats. The result for the championship was the right outcome.
    So now its time for martin to apologise then QUIT.

  30. Why does Max Mosley continue to belittle and insult Jackie Stewart ? It’s offensive, considering That Jackie is dyslexic. It lacks professionalism, particularly from the premier position of F1.

    Martin Brundle must continue to be a thorn in the side of the FIA, or they will get their own way all the time, instead of most of the time.

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