Tim

Posts Tagged ‘FIA’

F1 – My conspiracy theory

In Formula 1 on 05 June, 2009 at 11:00 pm

It’s no secret that Formula One is going through a very messy, political, money-orientated peiod at the moment, just when it should be promoting itself to new fans as not being all about Ferrari and McLaren, with BrawnGP and Red Bull leading the charge.

There’s even a #maxout campaign on Twitter, trying to get Max Mosley to resign from office, or at least not stand again, come November!

Max wants to impose a budget cap on the teams for next season, in a bid to attract new teams to the sport, and make the current teams more sustainable.  Originally, this also included more technical feedom fo the teams who accepted the budget cap, but apparently, this “Two Tier” F1 idea has been dropped.

The biggest problem is that F1 as a sport generates a HUGE amount of revenue… but only about 40% of that goes to the teams, and a miniscule amount to the FIA.  The rest goes to CVC Capital Partners, who in turn pay Bernie Ecclestone to find more ways of generating even more revenue – leading to F1 races being held in empty stadiums in countries whose governments have the cash to spend and see F1 as a marketing tool to promote their countries and improve their global image.  The teams have pointed out regularly that they help generate this money, but most of it goes to CVC to pay off their less profitable revenue streams and debts…

Give the teams a better share of the profits, and they could ALL focus more on developing their cars, and less on tying to find sponsors.

Here’s my theory, then.  Max and Bernie WANT the teams to leave F1.  They want them to go away and set up a new series that would be Formula One in all but name only.  Bernie could help broker track deals with venues no longer tied into F1 deals, without CVC’s involvement,  with FIA safety regulations, etc.  The circuits could afford to offer cheaper tickets, the fans would be able to attend more races, and the teams could all run at a profit.  What is left as F1 would slowly fade into a spec series, like a slightly faster GP2 or F2, while GP1 (a name that Bernie registered a few years ago) takes over as the “New Pinnacle of Motosport” with races in Canada, the USA, Silverstone, France, Germany, Italy, etc.

Over time, CVC would stop earning money fom F1, and offer to sell it back… and GP1 would simply become F1 again, but profiting the teams, like it was supposed to do, all those years ago, when Max and Bernie took on the FIA…

I hope something happens soon, because once again, the politics of F1 are starting to encrouch on what is a fabulous season of sport!

So I say, #CVCout!

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My thoughts on Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification

In Formula 1 on 05 April, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Before the second race of the season had started, the FIA stewards in Malaysia called on Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and their respective advisers to once again explain the final stages of the Australian Grand Prix.  It should be noted that this was not due to Toyota protesting Jarno Trulli’s 25-second penalty, as they had already decided not to.  Instead, it was because the FIA had noticed discrepancies in what had been officially stated in the Stewards room after the race and what had been said to members of the press…

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F1-Time for Regime Change?

In Formula 1 on 23 March, 2009 at 9:55 am

A long time ago, in a sport not too different to the one we know now… A floppy-haired man in an open-necked white shirt decided that the evil Emperor who governed his sport was out of touch with the fans, and (more important in his view) the teams… He had a friend who had Legal experience and understood political machinations… Between them they organised the teams to stand together against the governing body, and forced a change where one of them took control of the money, and the other took the reins of the governing body…

Now we are in a state where the teams once more are banding together against the establishment. FOTA – the Formula One Teams Assocciation – are trying to have more of a say in the rules of their sport and at the same time, trying to extract more money from FOM – Formula One Management – in order that they might actually run all the teams at a modest profit.

Bernie Ecclestone (FOM’s spokesperson on behalf of CVC Capital Partners, who actually own it) is renowned for his ability to play hardball. His remit is to generate as much money as possible for FOM, by charging astronomical fees for hosting races that have reached a level where National Governments have to subsidise the tracks!

Even while Max Mosley (President of the FIA – the sports governing body) has been pushing through cost-cutting regulations, in order to make it easier for the smaller teams to compete with the larger budgets of the manufacturer teams, Bernie has used this as ammunition against FOTA, to say that if costs are dropping, then surely they don’t need more money from FOM, they could actually have LESS!

The teams (particularly those owned by the car manufacturers) want to be racing in North America. Currently there are no races at all on that continent!

There has even been talk of the teams staging their own race!

All these political machinations are ruining the sport I love. Last minute attempts to introduce a “Winner-takes-it-all” scoring system have thankfully been postponed, after a large number of prominent drivers and team bosses spoke out against it. The FIA promptly did a U-turn and passed the blame onto Bernie, claiming that he had assured him that all the teams were actually in favour of the idea!

There probably won’t be a regime change anytime soon, but there should be. Bernie and Max need to recognise that they have had their turn in the sun. They have both done an amazing amount of good for the sport, but if they aren’t careful, and know when to quit while ahead, they could destroy the sport and turn it into a shadow of its former self…