Site logo

Teams frustrated at exclusion from Strategy Group

NEWS STORY
19/10/2013

Force India's Bob Fernley has hit out at the new F1 Strategy Group claiming that it represents the "unethical" and "undemocratic" manner in which the sport is being run.

The F1 Strategy Group, which replaces the Sporting and Technical Working Groups, is the fruit of the newly signed agreement between the FIA and the commercial rights holders CVC and Bernie Ecclestone.

It comprises 18 voting members split between the FIA, the commercial rights holder (FOM) and six leading teams. Those teams are Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes, together with Lotus - the highest placed team outside the top four - and Williams - for historic reasons. Leaving Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Marussia and Caterham without a voice.

While some will say that the F1 Commission will allow the smaller teams to eventually have their say, the fact that that the commission also includes promoters and suppliers means their chances of speaking out is further minimised.

At a time when many feel the self-interest of the big teams is destroying the sport - the perfect example being the introduction of the new V6 formula for 2014 and the resultant increase in spending - the exclusion of the smaller teams from future decisions will only worsen the situation.

Ferrari, for example, which has made no secret of its desire to see teams run third cars and even the return of teams running customer cars, will push for rules that favour it, as will several others involved in the new group. Indeed, there is a fear that the sport will eventually be divided into works and customer teams.

Ironically, two of the teams that sit on the new Strategy Group are also thought to be in financial trouble, while according to Pitpass sources Mercedes HQ in Stuttgart is demanding a major step forward from its F1 team in 2014 otherwise it will pull the plug.

"All teams basically pay the same amount to go racing," Fernley told the Daily Telegraph. "The only differentials are in drivers' salaries and hospitality. And yet some teams have no say in how the sport is run. It could certainly be deemed abuse of a dominant position."

Indeed, Fernley claims that "two or three" of the teams on the Strategy Group may reserve their legal position ahead of Monday's inaugural meeting and that the FIA should be concerned.

"Some of the teams have grave reservations about the legality of it," he said. "There is genuine concern among some of the teams on the Strategy Group, particularly the ones who are public companies. This is not ethical governance.

"To have an arbitrary system of governance based on two bilateral agreements is not good enough," he added, referring to the fact that previously there was a tripartite pact involving the FIA, Ecclestone and the teams. "We would hope that the FIA will look at this."

The frustration of the smaller teams was made clear over the Korean Grand Prix weekend, the week after the FIA and Ecclestone announced that the new Concorde Agreement was operative.

"Clearly we don't have the voice at the strategy table but we'll hopefully get people to use common sense in the right direction," said Caterham's Graham Watson.

"We still have our meetings that we've been having for the last few years in the same format," he continued, referring to the Strategy Working Group. "We proposed a question to Charlie (Whiting) individually about where we stand going forward and he's very adamant that our meeting will continue in the same vein, helping to structure the sporting regulations going forward into 2014/2015. Most of the rules that are in for next year have been decided through the same group. We'll give it three months and see what happens."

"I don't think the process is as good as it used to be," added Force India's Andy Stevenson, "certainly for the smaller teams, we don't have as much say as we used to.

"We're still meeting on a regular basis and we have a voice and sometimes we have to maybe raise our voices and to speak up," said Sauber's Beat Zehnder. "We, as a group, have to work out proposals which will be accepted or not by the Strategy Group."

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by MKI, 22/10/2013 12:48

"I'm not clear on the logic of competitors being overly involved with rule making; it is not the norm in any of the traditional sports. A player advancing an opinion is perfectly reasonable, but a proper independent governing authority always makes the final call - that is a function of its job - and it's for the competitors to play according to those rules. Why is motor sport different?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by The Rumble Strip, 20/10/2013 15:44

"It seems only right and fair that all the teams competing in F1 should get an equal say as regards the rules that govern the sport.

Although it seems logical that prize money is awarded in terms of on track success, that shouldn’t preclude the so called lesser teams from having a voice and one can understand their frustration at this seeming exclusion from the top table.

Without being able to air their views, it would be understandable if they were to consider their position and leave F1 altogether, thus causing an even greater image problem for the sport down the line.

Hopefully, the advent of the new Concorde agreement and the upcoming presidential elections can sort the current status quo out.
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2019. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms