LONDON (Reuters) - Step forward the man in the pub -- Formula One needs you.
The International Automobile Federation, the sport's governing body, says it wants the public to come up with ideas to help it out of a hole.
The problem? What to do about blatant and unpopular 'team orders', such as the sort seen in Austria when Ferrari told Brazilian Rubens Barrichello to let team mate and world championship leader Michael Schumacher win.
The FIA's solution? Not quite answers on a postcard but almost -- ask the fan in the street to send in e-mail and faxed suggestions instead.
"We've got a problem," FIA president Max Mosley said after Ferrari, Schumacher and Barrichello escaped sanctions for applying team orders in the Austrian race in May but were jointly fined $1.0 million on Wednesday for podium misdemeanours.
"The problem is that none of us like team orders in certain circumstances, such as those in Austria. But how do we stop them? If you simply prohibit it, they can do it clandestinely.
"Maybe there is a solution and if the public can tell us what they think we should do, if it sounds sensible we will do it. But we at the moment don't have a solution."
AXE TO GRIND
The world was quick to condemn what Ferrari did, sending a tidal wave of e-mails into the FIA headquarters, so maybe the world would like to sort out the problem as well.
But Mosley was quite right in saying that the problem is hideously difficult, probably impossible, to resolve to everyone's satisfaction.
"As far as team orders are concerned, I have no axe to grind because they have always been a feature of Formula One. Even I suffered from them," said Stirling Moss.
The main trouble is that, when carried out as blatantly as in Austria, the sky falls in.
"The man in the pub, he thinks 'Don't like that. Barrichello won that race and somebody stopped him at the last minute and let Schumacher pass him. Shouldn't have done that'," said Mosley.
"If you leave it at that, he will sit there unhappy.
"If you say to him 'yes, well, for the following reasons we find it under our existing rules difficult to sanction but we can change the rules -- What change should we make?' then the man in the pub will find that quite difficult.
"When he thinks of the obvious -- 'Ban do you do when they take a little lteam orders' -- somebody will say 'Well, what onger over the pitstop or mess up the refuelling or lose the rear wheel?
"Motorsport is different to other sports.
"It is massively complex. Take football: You can have endless arguments but in the end they have only got that ball and it doesn't change a lot.
"But this thing of team orders, which is quite a straightforward question, we don't actually know the answer to.
"So it makes a lot of sense to say to these people who say 'We don't like what you do': 'Well, fine. We understand why. Now you tell us how to change it, how to do it better."
There will be no shortage of suggestions.
"What we need to do is make the public aware of what may happen," said former driver John Watson, quick off the mark with his own opinion. "Motor racing shouldn't be orchestrated. Teams should declare their intentions before the race so everyone knows what to expect."
One can only begin to imagine some of the other ideas shortly to be sent to the FIA through their website. The man in the pub is sure to have his say.
You know nobody screamed like this when Michael ran interferance for Edward Irvine in Sepang. But if Michael is the one getting the help it's different story. The world didn't come to an end when Mika got the win in Australia over DC because the Team screwed up then the same team never repaid DC for his help. They called DC a Gentleman for his actions and Rubins a patsy for his.
Got a job
Race a bike
Regardless of how they decide to determine if team orders were used, the only way to fix the problem is take away points - lots of points, because that's what they are trying to get by using the strategy. Fines really mean nothing, but points or making the offenders sit out a couple of rounds sure put the championship ball back in play.