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Mosley: Teams must agree or F1 will implode

NEWS STORY
07/04/2015

Former FIA president Max Mosley has warned that F1 cannot continue on its current course of spend, spend, spend.

Mosley, a former racer, team owner and FIA president from 1993 to 2009, fears for the future of F1 if it continues on its current course.

While his successor keeps a worryingly low profile - something that could be never said of the Briton - Mosley is concerned that unless the teams put self-interest aside and get together and talk, the current problems will snowball.

Melbourne saw just nine teams take to the track, and whilst Manor was up and running by Malaysia, the fact is it faces an uncertain future. Furthermore, at least three teams, Sauber, Force India and Lotus are in financial difficulty and have had to ask Bernie Ecclestone for help.

Having seen the writing on the wall, Mosley worked hard to limit team spending during his time as FIA president and worked hard to introduce a budget cap. But, as ever, the teams failed to agree and whilst the problem appeared to go away for a while, it is clear that F1 has, as he puts it, "a real problem".

"The only way to deal with it is to get everybody to agree," he told DPA News, Christian Hollmann. "You can sit all the teams down and say look collectively we've got a massive problem because some of you have got enough money but most of you haven't and if we go on like this Formula One is going to collapse, so I am inviting you all to agree to a change.

"But they would have to all agree," he continued. "You can't do it without unanimity unfortunately. I think that could be done but it needs people to make very clear to them that there is a real problem."

Mosley has long argued that much of the spending in F1 is wasted, in that the money goes into technology that much of the public is totally unaware of.

"Of course the technology is amazing," he admits, "but a great deal of it is concealed so the public don't actually see - 90 per cent, 95 per cent of what goes on is not visible to an outsider and even kept secret within the teams.

"So it's changed enormously, but whether it's changed for the better; I think it's gone too far," he said. "I think it was good that it should become more sophisticated, more technical and so on but at a certain point there should have been a restriction on how much you can spend, and indeed I've tried to bring that in at the end of my time at the FIA but I didn't succeed."

The Briton believes that the way the money is currently shared out is wrong and that it should be "divided equally among the teams". Under the current system, he argues, the wealthier teams get more money and are consequently able to spend more, become even more successful and thereby attract more sponsorship. Mosley believes the teams should be spending the same with the more successful outfits increasing their earnings by attracting more sponsors.

"At least half the teams simply can't compete because they haven't got enough money, and that to me is wrong," he said. "You obviously wouldn't allow one team to run a bigger engine than another team and yet if one team has got five times as much money the effect is exactly the same as if they had a bigger engine. It's not fair from the sporting point of view."

Interestingly, despite being a close friend and former ally of Bernie Ecclestone, he feels the current governorship of the sport is wrong.

"If everything is in one pair of hands then I think you have a problem," he said. "I don't know what's in the arrangements which have been made but my understanding is that Bernie together with the teams can outvote the FIA. I might be wrong about that and shouldn't really speculate but I get the impression the FIA is not perhaps in a strong a position as it used to be."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Hondawho?, 09/04/2015 16:07

"I hear Jean Todt is working on new state of the art, remote controlled belisha beacons and zebra crossings to be installed to ensure the safety of marshals when crossing the track!!

"

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2. Posted by Darvi, 09/04/2015 8:57

"Max created this problem wehn he gave up too much power to Ecclestone - and made it worse by not forcing through the cost cap, however, I agree that Jean Todt is doing nothing to help."

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3. Posted by Hondawho?, 09/04/2015 7:48

"I agree with most of what Mosley is saying, however, when a team such as McLaren fail to attract a major sponsor, something is telling me, no matter how much money there is available in the world, sponsors are not so interested in F1 any longer, that maybe the real issue?

If teams such as Enstone who are sponsored by Group Lotus, a company losing over 200m a year alone then that cannot last either?

I am afraid motor racing may have come to the point of "what more can be done" and as I have said on here many times, unless they make the cars fly then the oddpoint of a second here or there is really irrelevant surely."

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4. Posted by The stogie, 09/04/2015 2:00

"I have never been a big Mosley fan but I must admit on this one he is right on the money."

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5. Posted by petes, 09/04/2015 0:00

"Whilst your recollection is spot on Spindoctor please try and focus on the now so the future can be fixed."

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6. Posted by nealio, 08/04/2015 18:47

"The reality is that the teams who have convinced manufacturers to let them lead a rich and very fun life playing with cars are very cozy and are dead set against anything which would end their current lifestyle. There is a surplus of greed to spread around in F1."

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7. Posted by nealio, 08/04/2015 18:34

"Ecclestone blamed Wolff and said, "After 50 years of work, I will not allow F1 to be destroyed out of pure selfishness." Pot calling the kettle black, what?"

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8. Posted by Joop deBruin, 08/04/2015 13:53

"F1 is getting very close to spec and they're losing many of their longest, hardest core fans as a result. Last season I watched three, maybe four races. I used to watch every single race, without fail. Over the years we've spent a lot on F1, attending races in Melbourne, Monte Carlo, Spa, and many American venues. But no more. And they aren't just losing me, they're also losing the next generation with my 22yr old gearhead son. He raced quarter midgets and parts until he became too tall at age 13. He's just as sick of the countless rules as I. Guess that F1 will soon become another fond old memory for both of us."

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9. Posted by testa rossa, 08/04/2015 12:39

"The costcap proposal of Mosley was brilliant , less costs and more technical freedom,
Very sad and short sighted Montezemolo started the teams revolt to opose it."

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10. Posted by Spindoctor, 08/04/2015 10:24

"It's a bit late for this show of remorse from Mr Mosley.
It was, as I recall, one M. Mosley who sold F1 rights to one B. Ecclestone for a mess of potage, leading to the current situation.

"

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11. Posted by Ricky, 08/04/2015 10:08

"Right on the money ffracer - much appreciated."

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12. Posted by ffracer, 08/04/2015 7:02

"Ricky and gturner38,

I like your collective thoughts as I believe this concept is plausible indeed. Although Formula One is unique in that each team builds their own chassis, aero and suspension, and unlike Mercedes and Ferrari, the teams already deal in this manner with the four powertrain suppliers for complete PUs and all teams deal with suppliers for everything else on the car, be it from complete damper systems to carbon brake discs. So, in very crude terms:

- Regarding fitting the components like engine, gearbox and aero/bodywork: if the rules require certain dimensions (engine mounts, bellhousings, id/od of front and rear bulkheads of chassis) then competitor parts would in theory bolt on, for lack of a better term. Regarding the suspension, pick-up point positions would be given to the chassis builder. The front nose assembly would easily bolt on to the front bulkhead...unless ie - one chassis' footwell sits higher, then FIA approves mod.

Having said that, all top teams would still somehow spend billions buying everything and testing like crazy to determine the best 'build and set-up sheet'! What would be cool is that the minnows could copy that build sheet and be competitive. Then enter the fan favorite, Minardi!

Just my very humble one cent lol..."

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13. Posted by CL, 08/04/2015 6:46

"Joop - it doesn't matter if he's hanging upside down bound in patent leather with a pink feather duster sticking out of his...oh, never mind, some people will always have the tabloid mentality.

Max is right in that nothing can change without an impossible unanimity do nothing is likely to change, and that's a shame. Adding more rules will only complicate things further, changing the engine formula will only send away the engine manufacturers. It needs a full-on sweep of the cluttered contracts and agreements, but no one has the guts or the motivation to do such a thing. F1 will carry on as it is, blundering from one storm in a teacup to another until the big money boys loose interest, then it'll implide and recover.

Until then, we have some good racing going on occasionally, so I'll just enjoy that while I can."

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14. Posted by Joop deBruin, 08/04/2015 5:34 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 08/04/2015 8:16)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

15. Posted by Ricky, 08/04/2015 0:54

"Hi Gturner - very much consistent with my thoughts. The main hindrance to this is aero at this point, and I do need to give it some further thought. With the exception of that I think of lot of what you have mentioned is solvable. Its more once again getting all teams to agree on something as opposed to engineering restrictions.

The whole purpose of having so many variables from so many producers is to avoid auto-darwinism turning it into a spec series. I don't want racing teams having to run everything past an internal audit team, but then the arms race approach doesn't work either. I think this is a good approach that caters to all. The big teams can still go about their business and the teams behind get to discover this concept called going concern.

We have enough cars at the front of the grid, but past that I am very concerned for some teams. Mosley is right that the sports funds distribution needs to be addressed, but then CVCs profit share for the sport does work out to $2m a day, every day, with 0% reinvestment. Thats $2m leaving the sport every day.

The teams all need to agree for progress to be made. The hard thing about that is half the teams have a pre-prizemoney agreement with Bernie/FOM, so I doubt those teams (McLaren, Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams) will vote in favor of anything. By doing this Bernie has successfully driven a wedge down the middle of the teams, thus maintaining control.

Take Williams for example. Williams finished 9th in 2013. On top of their prize money they get a “historic teams payment” from FOM. For Sauber, Lotus, Toro Rosso or Force India to receive as much money as Williams who finished 9th those teams would have to finish at least 3rd in the WCC.

That is just wrong."

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