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Formula One Team Bosses Create More Bureaucracy

Formula One Team Bosses Create More Bureaucracy

The Formula One team bosses met at Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters yesterday to discuss the future of the sport and it’s immediate concern regarding the Concorde Agreement – a document that outlines the commercial and financial rewards from competing in Formula One. Along with representatives from each of the ten teams, Bernie Ecclestone and CVC managing partner Donald McKenzie were also present. One result from the talks is the creation of a new association.

The meeting, that was described by Ferrari as “extremely constructive” was held to discuss the future of Formula One and how the teams will be involved in the decision making processes regarding rules and regulations. Obviously, the squads would like more input, and while the Technical Working Group do okay at working towards future technologies and (less well at) solving current issues surrounding the technical side of the sport, the teams want a more involved input into the things that directly affect them.

The Formula One Teams Association is to be created and they will be working on getting the Concorde Agreement finalised – a document that, in the eyes of Bernie Ecclestone – is very important. Whether or not Formula One needs yet another group (albeit made up of existing parties) getting involved is perhaps another matter for another day, but it does seem at the moment that the sport is getting a little lost among all the organisations and associations who want their voice to be heard.

It is important for those directly involved to be heard, but along with FOM, the FIA, the TWG, GPDA, GPMA and a few others, I have to ask if another is really necessary? The popular phrase too many cooks spoil the broth comes to mind, and while the sport will always have a political side to it, the more everybody concentrates on the actual job of racing cars around a circuit, the better.

Of course, going back the meeting at Maranello, not everybody felt the talks went far enough and Flavio Briatore feels more should be done to reshape Formula One. The Renault boss, who has run his team on a relatively small budget in comparison and [in his words] stuck to the letter of the rules, had more to say. When does Flavio not, though?

The Concorde agreement, the number of races, the costs, the spectacle, the imperative increase of revenues. Formula One needs to be re-designed.

I feel that it should be down to the teams to decide, by electing in turns a director of operations. A guy who does things, not a PR person.

On top of that, we need to decide with a 51% majority, not unanimously like now, otherwise we’ll carry on being stuck. Flavio Briatore.

When Briatore speaks of the teams having to agree unanimously on rule changes, he means those that are implemented at the request of the teams, usually done to correct or improve something that has not gone quite right once put into practice. These changes usually occur mid-season, and a good example of this would be the proposed abolishment of the pitlane closure under the safety car. For the new rule (and ECU software) to be implemented, there would have to be 100% agreement along the grid. However, the FIA could make it mandatory when they finalise the rules for next season if they so wished.

I’m not sure Formula One needs to be “re-designed”, but there are a lot of things that need to be improved. And while the FIA have in the past done okay with some rule changes, they generally fall short of doing anything appropriate. Dale Earnhardt Jr recently gave Formula One a slap when a NASCAR race faced a similar tyre issue that F1 faced in 2005. However, the difference between the two races was that the NASCAR event went ahead, but took intervals every 10 laps or so. The F1 event only fielded six competitors because Max Mosley refused suggestions from the teams and Ecclestone.

During the issues that have surrounded Mosley recently, Ecclestone appeared to have a bit of a falling out with the FIA president and during this time Ecclestone said he wanted more control of the sport, particularly the rules and regulations. I for one wouldn’t mind this being taken away from the FIA; I can’t see how FOM could do the job any worse.

Formula One needs to change with the times and keep itself relevant and exciting. But in all honesty, it does not need another group stirring the pot. It needs organisation, intelligent leadership and effective communication between the governing body, the teams and drivers and the fans.

Oliver White

6 comments

  • I need someone to explain to me the difference between FOTA and FOCA. As far as I can see they are both associations and each team has equal representation in each. I cannot understand why they are saying that forming a new association is significant when it merely duplicates what is already in place.

  • I don’t think giving Bernie more power is likely to help anything. And what happened at Indy Sunday wasn’t a race so much as a parade coupled to a pitstop competition. Max has to go. Whatever he may have brought to F1 is used up, and his new ideas are poor to say the least.

  • History repeating itself…

    FOCA was the original “F1 Constructor’s Association” formed by Bernie to enable the teams to negotiate and do battle with the all powerful FIA in the early 80’s.

    Bernie went on to build this into a billion dollar empire by gaining control of F1’s commercial rights (TV – Media – Licensing etc).

    FOCA became FOM (Formula One Management) FOA (Formula One Admin) and Formula One Licensing as the companies were prepared for a shares issue. After various companies invested (and lost) money the majority of the shares were aquired by venture capital group CVC Capital Partners (with Bernie still very much in control).

    As the interests of the commercial rights holders (CVC & Bernie) do not necessarily match the interests of the F1 Teams, the teams now find it necessary once again to form their own association, and we have come full circle in this story.

    No doubt copyright/trademark restrictions prevent them from using the name FOCA (basically Bernie still owns the rights to the name). Hence the new association will be known as FOTA (Formula One Teams Association)

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