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When GP2 is F2

NEWS STORY
29/06/2008

Behind the scenes a battle in F1 seems to be raging between Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone. The two are said to be at loggerheads over Mosley's refusal to stand down after being engulfed in the infamous sex scandal. Every so often the battle boils over and a letter is sent or a newspaper interview is given. Wednesday's World Council meeting was one of the more public insights into this battle and what came out of it seemed pretty brutal. However it's now coming to light that things may be even bloodier than they seemed.

One of the biggest bombshells to have come from the World Council meeting was that the FIA is inviting tenders to run a Formula Two series as a low-cost feeder for F1 from 2009. Its aim is for budgets to be around €200,000 per car each season which received immediate scepticism. However, the biggest eyebrows weren't raised by the details of the project but by the overall concept itself which would be designed to compete head on with GP2 - a series for which Ecclestone directly owns the trademarks.

F2 was the recognised F1 feeder series from the early years of the World Championship through to the end of 1984, when it was replaced by Formula 3000 and later GP2. However, Mosley's choice of the name F2 for the new series may have even more to it than history.

Close examination of the company documents for GP2 Motorsport, which holds the commercial rights to GP2, show that the business was originally named F2 Motorsports when it was set up in December 2003. This revelation makes Mosley's move seem like an even more direct attack on GP2 in name and spirit.

Whether Mosley's F2 can get off the grid is another matter. Whilst the cost of competing in F1 has been widely reported less time has been spent looking at GP2 and so it's tough to tell just how far it is from (or near it is to) the proposed €200,000 budget for F2.

This question should be answered in detail over the next month when the 2008 edition of Formula Money, is launched. Amongst other exclusive additions to its exhaustive analysis of F1's costs and revenues, this year's edition of the book will break down the value of each GP2 sponsor as well as listing the typical team budgets. Let's hope that the FIA is getting its order in.

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