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FIA accuses FOTA 'hardliners' of deal sabotage
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FIA accuses FOTA 'hardliners' of deal sabotage
Posted By:   |  15 Jun 2009   |  12:22 pm GMT  |  29 comments

We are currently waiting for the FOTA dossier, which was promised last week, detailing all the ways in which F1 is going wrong under the current FIA administration. It now sounds like we might get two dossiers, the other from the FIA itself detailing its dealings with FOTA and what it describes as ‘hardliners’, looking to scupper the process.

It’s strange because you hear from both sides that there is a detailed process of meetings going on behind the scenes and yet above the surface the mudslinging is in full flow.

The FIA issued a statement on Monday morning saying that it felt progress was being made towards a solution of the 2010 entry crisis, which is threatening to rip the sport in two. Last week at a meeting, four team principals and FIA president Max Mosley discussed help for new teams, budget levels, governance and financial controls.

There is another meeting today with the finance people looking at ‘resource restriction.’ This is the new buzzword for the process by which spending is controlled. Manufacturers, especially Ferrari, find it impossible to contemplate a budget cap because of the way its internal resourcing is done with cross linking across the road and racing divisions.

However FOTA is proposing ‘resource restriction’ as a way of achieving the same result. It sounds like the two sides are not too far apart on money levels either. Another meeting is planned for this week to look at governance and the Concorde Agreement.

What is interesting about today’s FIA statement is that it accuses a faction within FOTA of being ‘handliners’, who are determined to sabotage any deal to solve the crisis. This is part of Mosley’s heavy artillery I wrote about last week. I’m hearing that it is Toyota and Renault who are in the cross hairs. The Renault president Carlos Ghosn is also the head of the European Manufacturers’ Association which got involved in the row last week, calling for the FIA to review its current administration.

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29 Comments
  1. Moohcowh says:

    This sounds no different to the RMT negotiations with London Transport that are currently going on, both sides are trying to look like the innocent party here, but ultimately they could be considered as bad as each other.

  2. rpaco says:

    Split coming up, leaks now from both sides.
    Max cannot now give in, even ig his ego would let him,
    without the new teams exiting before they begin.
    FOCA cannot give in without being seen as weak and a terminal ego fracture for Luca. A split is the only way forward.

    James please tweet from keyhole.

  3. Michael Roberts says:

    I wondered why Bernie was being so quiet but now it is obvious. He is planning his next billion by unveiling an iPhone app that costs £5 a grand prix to use. Nice.

  4. Tomys says:

    Toyota? Toyota was presented on last week’s meeting, therefore according to FIA, it could be only McLaren (unlikely), BMW (unprobable) or Renault.

    I know that Toyota was making noise during Monaco meetings but John Howett was with FIA last week…

    And Renault notified its suppliers about possible departure from formula one…

  5. Alex M says:

    The way this is being run is a sick joke, not only must FOTA win, but Max MUST GO. I know young children that could run this sport better [mod].

    If Max wins and we are forced to watch the teams and sport we love dissolve, Farce1 will have every F1 fan on the planet fighting against it. Can you seriously imagine the Italian GP once Max has bullied Ferrari out ? No, me neither, the Tifosi will simply not let the travesty/race take place and I will be amongst the crowds of fans making sure that happens.

    Think about the logistics…..

    United we stand, divided we fall.

  6. mayhemfunkster says:

    I’m increasingly getting the feeling that this is all a scapegoat for Toyota and Renault’s withdrawl from F1. Even this year, Toyota truly haven’t made the leap to frontrunners and Renault have clearly peaked and are heading towards a natural trough (as Renault/Benetton etc usually does after a couple of championships).

    In comparison the other teams are relativley quiet on the subject. Ferrari of course, is posturing away trying to blame everyone one else for their poor performance while trying to get back their uncompetitive advantage.

    Anyway, I’m off to Silverstone this weekend so as long as there’s not a political “incident” that prevents a good race I don’t really care until next week!!

  7. VictorA says:

    Guess what, if the FIA had agreed to this a couple of weeks back, everything would have been resolved. I think it is not right for FIA – a synonym for Mad Max – to be pointing any finger at FOTA. He had gone too far and he needs to go. He alone embodies the problem of F1. He is the malignant cancer and should be cut off.

  8. Mattw says:

    The reotoric comming from FOTA is not that of an organsation looking to find a solution – but rather establish the escuse for a split.

    Splitting F1 will be hugly damamging for the sport, but I would not be surprised if FOTA announce this at Silverstone (with a round to take place at the track next year?)

    sigh..

  9. Peter says:

    I simply do not believe that the teams agreed even in principle to extend the old concorde agreement untill 2014.

    The press release suggests that FOTA are demanding a new concorde. I dont think thats the case at all. I think the rule changes are the stick and the concorde is the carrot. FOTA are willing to do it if it would make a difference but they dont particularly want to.

    They would be doing Max and Bernie a favour by signing.

    Peter (the other one)

  10. The Flying Finn says:

    My feeling is that at the end of the day it is all about the money. The teams are trying to extract more control over the sport, hence how the $ is distributed. For those who believe Max is trying to ruin the show, financially it just does not make any sense as supposedly FIA stands to benefit from a bigger pie. Manfacturers on the other hand all have their own axe and are all trying to extract a bigger slice of pie for themselves. What Max is trying to achieve here is to grow the pie by first taking a step back and shrinking it. I believe such is a necessary step forwards as compared with the past F1 has lost part of its raison d’etre. Technical rules are so restrictive already and cars so homogeneous that engineering ingenuity is severely limited and has turned into a budget race to see who can afford the biggest windtunnel, who can tweak the last 5hp out of the rev restricted engines etc. I mean 20 yrs ago, different teams had different design philosophies, engine types, etc. I think to go forward, we need to reopen the door for radical innovation but it is necessary to control the conditions such that it does not reward the biggest budgets but who can innovate given limited resources, which is the essence of how engineering should work in real life ?

  11. knoxploration says:

    Max is seeming increasingly desperate to try and break up FOTA, because he’s found himself essentially alone against every manufacturer – all of whom are in agreement that his ideas are bad for the sport. Even the two teams he’s managed to get unconditional entries from have both publicly stated that they’re against his overall package of changes. Williams and Force India both indicated that they were signing only due to commercial obligations, and would be sticking with FOTA if they had a choice in the matter. (Perhaps this could be why FOTA continues to refer to these teams as having been “temporarily” suspended, recognizing the difficulty of their situation).

    This latest statement from the FIA (read: Max) smacks of another attempt to try and turn fans against FOTA, and start internal bickering between the FOTA members in an attempt to weaken his opposition. I can’t see the strategy succeeding, and I get the feeling Max doesn’t vaguely comprehend the amount of ill will he’s generated towards himself (and by relation, the FIA) in the last year or so.

  12. Christian Stewart says:

    “The FIA was therefore astonished to learn that certain FOTA members not present at the meeting have falsely claimed that nothing was agreed and that the meeting had been a waste of time.”

    Given the Friday publication of the entry list for 2010 with unconditional inclusion of teams against their will and provisional inclusion of the other teams dependent on their lifting of FOTA’s conditions, what reaction exactly were the FIA expecting…..?

    James, have you attempted to gain a reaction from CVC Capital Partners? No doubt they will be reluctant to speak – but ultimately they stand to lose the most here.

  13. @Alex
    I see it differently to you! IMHO if FOTA win there will be no/too few new teams in F1 because the cost of entry is too high.
    Whilst this restriction might help Ferrari win races I don’t relish watching a series of F1 with only four teams battling it out…

  14. Caron says:

    So the war of words continues. FOTA put out a very sniffy response to the FIA statement basically saying that they weren’t going to keep adding statements containing accusation and counter accusation. They are running for the moral high ground – it was quite an artful put down, I thought!

    Like you, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in the dossiers.

  15. Vince says:

    I’m very close to giving up on the sport all together.
    I might take up watching Indy racing again, or Cart, or whatever it’s called now. I can’t believe I’ll be putting myself through hours of watching cars going around in circles.
    It should at least be more interesting than weeks of politics followed by two hours of over-restricted cars following each other around a twisty circle.

  16. phil c says:

    This has become a joke. What I find funny, nobody has asked Max what is the difference to what FOTA is proposing today vs what both Max and Bernie did back in the 70’s when they were standing on the otherside of the fence and argued until they won.
    This argument is all about money and regulations which were forced on the teams without any serious consultation and which are fundamentally flawed.
    Money wise, the teams, the ones that have spent billions have contributed and made the show what it is today. The only persons to benefit financially have been Max, (with ridiculous fines which had no base given the history), Bernie and CVC.

    It is the teams that make f1 what it is yet they only get 50% of tv revenue. Why should they live with only 50% when it is clear they are the ones that make f1 work. They should be getting 80% if not 90% of the revenue, if it were realigned as it should be there would be no financial issues.

    Regulations proposed are ridiculous. Max can argue financial this, and encouraging new teams. But when you have 10 teams, who all agreed on a way forward and put forward the proposal which reduced cost, why do you need to change things. We had total agreement.

    Max and Bernie’s whole agenda here was to split FOTA, because if the teams unite, it will be difficult to beat them. This was how it was done back in the 70’s and same goes now. This time the teams are untied unlike in previous battles and it wont be destroyed. The FIA and Bernie have more to lose this time.

    On the regulations no body has asked how can a budget cap be regulated and applied fairly. It has not worked in any other motorsport category in the world, what makes max thing it can work here.

    We have 10 teams operating out of different countries. We have teams that operate out of 2 countries, (torro rosso and BMW). Of all the existing teams they all operate in different currencies, generally pound, euro or US dollar. Every country has different tax, employee requirements, emission trading schemes etc etc the list can go on for every. Simple things like electricity are charged as different amount between countries. Does that give one team and advantage vs another. I know for a fact, we can build the same part in two different countries with the same method and costs will be different. It is impossible to police. How do you regulate somebody taking work home to work on a computer. THE FIA cannot control a government or a team for that matter.

    The only way to reduce cost is standardisation of parts that are non performance enhancing. We have standard engine, gearbox, ecu. We can have standard rims, no need for 10 different rims, why do we have 10 different type of brake discs, calipers etc etc , non exotic materials. Things that provide a strict window teams can design in.

    I still hope the teams stick it to both the FIA and Bernie, and get what they want. Because if it does not happen now we will have the same argument in 3 years.

    James one thing, Max has imposed fines on honda and mclaren for bring the sport into disrepute and fined them significantly. Now max brought the sport into disrepute, regardless of the circumstances with is sex antics and now this. Why is this not considered bringing the sport into disrepute when it clearly is. He should have been sacked. Every other person would have been dropped or sidelined for that, why is he different…. Hypocritical if you ask me.

  17. redmist says:

    Why on earth would the teams agree to sign the 1998 concorde agreement, when their part of the revenue was only 20% ?

    Max is just talking nonsense, if he doesn’t need the teams why dont he just leave them alone?

  18. snoozer says:

    I still think Bernie is the man to watch in all this. I think his relative silence in all this is no coincidence.

    So let me put forward this theory ….

    Bernie actually wants FOTA to split. Afterall, it’s not his money at stake – the asset belongs to CVC. So if FOTA announce they will be run their own series, what will CVC’s asset be worth? Bugger all that’s what.

    So … Bernie comes along and generously offers to buy out CVC at 20c in the dollar. Not a bad price for something that is essentially worthless.

    Bernie then signs a new Concorde agreement with the teams giving them 75% of the cake and the governance changes they want.

    What could be simpler.

  19. alex says:

    snoozer

    Yr theory… simple, beautifully simple…
    and very possible.

  20. rpaco says:

    I think you will find that Bernie owns little of CVC because it has huge debys that he ran up in buying F1 rights for 100 years. Only if he were to get those debts written off would it become attractive.

    I would guess that at the moment a large percentage of the income is going to service the debts, I dont think 75% is possible for the teams.

    I agree that Bernie is the man to watch, if he looses a chunk of income by F1 splitting (as I believe it has to now) he will be up a certain creek without a paddle. (But then Bernie has hovercraft and helicopters to get him out so don’t worry about him too much) He will sue everybody’s backside off until the legal bills equal a team budget, it may go on for years, some lawyers will get rich(er)

  21. john g says:

    bernie doesn’t stand to lose much if F1 folds, he’s already got most of his money out of the sport and now onlyowns and takes about 10% directly (although he takes more through that other company that he’s not involved in, in ireland, and probably a few other routes). he isn’t liable for any of CVC’s debts, he just sells the races for their income. however, if he loses ferrari and FOTA, the value of F1 decreases and he won’t want that. I wonder if there is actually anything stopping bernie from jumping off the sinking ship that is the FIA and to organise TV and circuit deals for a new race series?

    however, saying that FOTA and the FIA are close to an agreement on budget restrictions for next year means that they are probably 20% of the way to a resolution. other issues which won’t be so easy to solve are revenues for the teams (even though the FIA are not allowed to interfere with anything that affects the money in F1, they seem to be fundamentally involved) and the future governance of F1, about how the rules are developed and implemented, and how F1 is made sustainable for the future. Bernie has said that the FIA are regulators of the sport, not the rule makers. Max says the FIA make the rules for F1 and that’s how it goes.

    basically to me, this is all pointing in one direction, and that’s that max goes or at least the majority of his assumed powers are removed, hopefully along with all his cronies and mates that he’s assembled around him in the FIA. the sooner we get jackie stewart as the head of FIA (with regard to F1), and tony scott andrews back in as his chief steward, the better.

  22. Richard says:

    I think they’re referring to Luca’s words at Le Mans over the weekend. Ferrari were at the meeting but it was Stefano Domenicali rather than Luca that attended.

  23. Darren Shepperd says:

    Why is no one pointing out the basic flaw in the FOTA argument i am certain James you have read the 2010 reg or hope you have!!
    Why have you not pointed out that this mythical 40M cap is smoke and mirrors even the capped teams are budgeting for up wards of 100M.
    Fact
    the 40M covers transport, wages of key personnel and performance enhancing parts from design to manufacture.
    It does not cover safety, rightly so and even can be argued does not cover performance related items until they are fitted to the car. Make and test 40 wings but only fit one and only have the costs of that one wing taken from the 40M!!! as the other 39 clearly cannot effect performance if they are never fitted!!!
    Also any equipment that needs replacing will fall outside of the cap so we start to see the half truths that FOTA puts forward.
    Hows about really having a look at what FOTA claim and what is the reality of those claims. It made me see FOTA in a very different light.

  24. James Allen says:

    Not heard much from them, but I imagine they will be in Silverstone. We will see.

  25. Alex says:

    I think one of the big fears regarding governance is exactly how will the FIA interpret the 40m expenditure in the teams accounts. What will be the penalty of exceding it? Who will decide the correct penalty for overexpenditure? Accounts interpretations tend to be different and in some cases are not always consistent.

    The danger we have with the 40m cap is you might get an FIA’s accountant’s interpretation deeming a team to have spent over the cap resulting in a team being penalised.

    We already have the current inconsistencies of the FIA’s stewards almost deciding the championship e.g 2008, so I feel it will be foley to add FIA accountants to that. Concern has been expressed in most quarters about the inconsistencies in the FIA adminstration of rules regarding penalties; we dont want to add accountants to that. I think the teams have a valid point in this regard!

  26. Tomys says:

    But they are talking about FOTA (means member, I guess), not personnel.

    I think :)

  27. rpaco says:

    I wonder how Bernie keeps track of which company owns which part of the gravy train at what time. CVC owns five or six companies who in turn own various separate rights to the onboard tv, track advertising, promotion, marketing tv rights,
    etc.

    Max calling someone else “Hardline” that’s a bit rich.

  28. Rich says:

    Cheer up, Vince, it could be worse: You could have to watch NASCAR with their “racing” billboards!

  29. Peter says:

    but would it?

    More of the revenue would go back to the teams, the entry fee would be lower, sponsors might be more interested in a series that was not controlled by Max and Bernie.

    I wonder if we might yet see an Aston Martin Prodrive on a FOTA grid next year. or indeed a Lola?

    I also think that the teams realise they need more cars on the grid and would be willing to nurture new teams into the sport.

    Peter (the other one)

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