Brawn driving force behind Strategy Group change


Ross Brawn, FOM's new technical boss, was the driving force behind the move that sees all the F1 teams attending future meetings of the Strategy Group.

The controversial group, which was formed in 2013 and consists of the Commercial Rights Holder, the FIA, Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and whichever other team finished highest in the standings (currently Force India), puts forwards proposals which are then basically signed off by the F1 Commission.

Other than the nature of those proposals, the Strategy Group has always been regarded as controversial as not only does it exclude teams from its meetings, they are rarely given any insight as to what was discussed and the first they learn of the proposals is when they are put before the F1 Commission, by which time it is often too late.

Initially, any decision of the Strategy Group needed a unanimous decision, but with each team having its own fixed agenda, this was changed in 2016 so that only a majority is needed.

Ironically, one of the fiercest critics of the Strategy Group was Force India, but due to its place in the team standings over the last couple of years is now a member.

At its meeting last month, it was agreed that the non-member teams would now be invited to meetings of the group, but only to have access to the discussions, not to have any say in them.

The move demonstrates "the effective commitment of both the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder to improve transparency in the sport" we were told.

The move is also about FOM's desire to streamline the whole decision making process and governance of the sport.

Self-confessed poacher turned gamekeeper Ross Brawn mooted the idea of including all the teams suggesting that such a move was almost inevitable.

Understandably however, being given access to meetings where the direction of the sport - and thereby your team - is being decided but you are effectively gagged, has not gone down well.

"We at least know what is being said there," Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn told, her team, along with Force India, having taken its complaint about the sport's governance and decision making processes, including the Strategy Group, to the European Commission.

"We can theoretically have the opportunity to understand why certain proposals are coming from there," she continued. "Earlier on, we couldn't understand why they were coming up with certain decisions, nobody could, actually.

"Maybe that helps us a bit more in getting a better understanding as you can see what the different views are," she added. "But we don't feel more included, because that would mean we could participate in the discussion. At the end of the day, the group can't work in the way it is. We don't agree with any group having this kind of decision power."

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Published: 21/05/2017
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