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FIA prime the lawyers, legal fight begins
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FIA prime the lawyers, legal fight begins
Posted By:   |  19 Jun 2009   |  3:29 pm GMT  |  98 comments

The row between the FIA and FOTA entered a new phase this afternoon as the FIA put out a statement saying that they were preparing legal action,

“The FIA’s lawyers have now examined the FOTA threat to begin a breakaway series. The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including wilful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari’s legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law. The FIA will be issuing legal proceedings without delay.

“Preparations for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continue but publication of the final 2010 entry list will be put on hold while the FIA asserts its legal rights. ”

The FIA is meeting fire with fire. Part of the reason for the delay is that some of the potential new teams have withdrawn, leaving a potential entry list looking thin.

The legal threat is serious, but it does allow a period of reflection and dialogue, if a way can be found to restart the talks. The next major stage is Wednesday’s FIA world council meeting. I still think that the FOTA strategy is to try to effect change, but Mosley seems to be very sure of his ground and his support.

Ferrari are singled out in the FIA statement and their contract with the FIA remains the single most important aspect of this.

They responded this evening by saying that they have already launched an arbitration process at a civil court in Lausanne, this was done on Monday. This will establish the validity of the contract.

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98 Comments
  1. allan walsh says:

    if the ferrari / FIA contract is binding, what’s to stop them racing in both potential championships and fielding a ‘B’ team in the FIA version?

  2. Luciano says:

    Only a a matter of days ago Max Mosley said, ‘If the teams don’t like the rules they should go and start their own championship’.

    Now they are doing just that and he is suing them…..

    Time for a new head at the FIA.

  3. Phil Bishop says:

    “Preparations for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continue but publication of the final 2010 entry list will be put on hold while the FIA asserts its legal rights. “

    leaving time for Max and Bernie to find a compromise with FOTA but without losing face.

    1 nil to FOTA i reckon

  4. Pete says:

    Havent the potential entrants withdrawn so that they can join the potential FOTA series?

    If that is true then the FIA is fighting a losing battle espicially as Ferrari can afford to pay compensation for breaching the contracts they have with the FIA.

  5. Aaron James says:

    Max: F1 is bigger than Ferrari, we don’t want to lose them, but if we do, we’ll move on
    Max: If they don’t like this championship they can start their own one
    Max: These are the rules, take it or leave it

    FOTA+Ferrari: We choose to leave it and take your advice
    Max: Let loose the hounds, we’re going to sue!

    This sort of nonsense is why FOTA have had it. And me, if it means we get to see Grand Prix cars thundering around proper race circuits, in front of fans that actually care about it, tracks like Imola, Silverstone, Montreal, ADELAIDE, Indy, Hockenheim, Suzuka, etc, etc, etc, then I’m for it.

    I think it’s far past time F1 was for fans of racing, not propaganda events for authoritarian regimes and an investment vehicle for some pinstriped muppets in the city.

  6. Chris says:

    What’s point in Max taking legal action and forcing teams who don’t want to be in the F1 championship in it’s current form to participate? This is simply going to act as a scorched earth tactic and store up yet more problems if he does win.

    The only solution I see is a change in FIA governance, Max should go and the teams should have a bigger say in the regulations.

  7. Bill Johnson says:

    So Max’s deadline was all a sham, eh?

    Round 1 to FOTA.

  8. Gilraen says:

    Isn’t that the normal response from Mosley?? Threaten the opposition and threaten them again. And when they take a stand you just threaten them again with legal action.

    Enough is enough. This man single handedly, no with the help of Bernie, has ruined our beloved sport.
    Bernie probably will change sides soon as CVC needs the money from televising F1 otherwise they will not be able to pay off their debt.

    FOTA may well be after Max’ head only and will enter the 2010 FIA F1 WC on the condition Max is out.
    Dennis was there, yesterday in the FOTA meeting. Is he back with a vengeance ??

    I want to watch the best teams and the best drivers compete at the best tracks. For now, my vote goes to FOTA.

  9. Raio says:

    I wonder now how will [mod] MAX justify the lawyers fees….If the whole plan was to cut costs then he should now play the hand that he has dealt. It was not so long ago when he said that F1 will survive without Ferrari…so now why does he want to SPEND money to keep them in. By the time this whole mess is over I am sure that the FIA lawyers will spend more than the the proposed budget for a team!!!! I do hope that FOTA go ahead with a series that gets back what F1 USED to be all about…. cutting edge tech, fast cars, the best drivers, engineers, designers, crew. Look at all the rule changes thrown in first V12 to V10 to V8.. if MM has his way soon the “FIA FORMULA ONE CHAMPIONSHIP!” will be with cars having maybe V2 engines with the driver being given extra boost via a set of pedals that he can cycle to overtake.. All the nonsense that has come with each rule change has been disproved as time has got on..I miss the V12′s, the old 1 hr qualy, the slicks, the excitement.. I do hope FOTA hold their resolve and give us fans back all that is missing, all that got us hooked onto F1 in the first place! GO FOTA!!!!!

  10. David says:

    The FIA have just blinked haven’t they? They needed a reason to not publish the entry list and the legal stuff is the pretext under which to do it.

    Max said openly that a breakaway series could run – Bernie was the one muttering about legal threats. Now it’s actually come to pass, and all of a sudden out come the lawyers. I think Max thought they would blink, and as they haven’t he is at a loss as to what to do next – this buys time for him.

    I don’t see how any team can be in breach of anything until the 2010 season starts. If the FIA believe that the teams currently on their list have to participate then all other statements notwithstanding, they have to work on the basis that those teams will line up on the grid in 2010 and deal with the consequences if they do not, at that time. I don’t see how you can sue for an event that hasn’t actually happened. As an aside, that statement seems to indicate that the whole team entry process for this sport is a complete farce. But then that’s nothing new these days.

    Sigh.

  11. Al (21prods) says:

    I’m not a lawyer from a common-law system, but it sounds weird to me than the FIA is entitled to seek any legal action against Ferrari and the rest of the members of FOTA just for having announced they are preparing a breakaway series. For breach of what exactly? Aren’t they entitled to race in different series?

    A different issue could be if some contracted teams to the F1 (allegedly, Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso) announced they would not be racing F1 next year, but I’not sure that’s the case here.

    Well, now it’s almost over. Either Max steps down and Bernie softens his pocket or we will have a new series. Either way, it seems clear we will be able to follow a motorsport competition among the best teams and drivers (the one where the FOTA teams finally race). In fact, I find FOTA proposal very interesting.

  12. Kirk says:

    Strange isn’t it that the FIA are all upset about the breakaway series now – considering Max said recently that F1 was bigger than and could live without Ferrari, and that if FOTA wanted a say on they rules they should… how did he put it… form their own series!!

    Now the fire is starting to burn near the pocket the FIA is back tracking very fast. To the point where even today’s deadline – that could not be put back NO MATTER WHAT – has suddenly… been postponed!!

    They don’t call this “the F1 circus” for nothing eh. Shame nobody is laughing at the jokes made by mad clown in charge of it.

  13. Mark says:

    By delaying the final 2010 entry list yet again it seems to me that Max has blinked first – he admits that F1 needs the current teams…

  14. Tom says:

    James, can you explain to us what “grave violation of competition law” is? Surely anti trust and anti monopoly laws contradict this sweeping statement?

  15. Dave P says:

    The FIA just blinked…

    Having said in public on many occasions that Formula 1 could manage without Ferrari, now they need to go to court to keep them. Then telling FOTA they could start up their own series if they wanted.. then have to go to court to change that…. Now they don’t have enough competitors… I was a judge.. I would send the FIA packing, telling them they were a bunch of amateurs with a bad leader who needed sacking.

    As for Bernie… no better.. he let this mess happen… a disgrace…

    Max and Bernie are two old men in this business who should be dissmissed immediately

    I just cannot believe the FIA is serious about lawsuits and is desparate now to buy time..

    In a way I hope they do not resolve their issues, The FIA collapses, and a new better body replaces it.

  16. Marco says:

    I fear that we’re really going to see the depth of Mosely’s arrogance here as the teams have made it pretty clear that he, specifically, represents the largest obstruction to an accord. A better man might step down and let the process move forward for the good of the sport – remember according to his statement in December, Mosely has only 4 months left to run anyway.

    But I’m expecting too much. If dragging the sport through last year’s degrading and embarrassing public spectacle couldn’t convince him, this certainly won’t.

  17. Nick says:

    I’m sure the new teams are feeling like pawns in a big game of egos. I hope they all pull out and opt for the breakaway series instead. This series certainly gets the thumbs up in all the fans forums.

    As for the legal challenge, even if they lose, surely they could all opt to run a bare bones team consisting of no name drivers with zero car developement in F1, and concentrate their main resources on the FOTA series?

    Wouldn’t it be good to have FOTA races on ITV, with James back in the commentary box!

  18. Phil says:

    Dunno about fighting fire with fire. Looks more like a fallback to a prepared position to me.

    Round 1 to FOTA. Unfortunately for them, round 2 will happen in a place where Max is highly skilled. Let’s hope they have good lawyers.

  19. The FOCA teams seem to have victory in their sights.

    As long as they stick to their guns they will be free to race at circuits we all love and in front of appreciative fans.

    They can also go back to the US and Canada rather than holding races in sterile desert circuits in front of a few camels.

    They will also be in charge of more money without CVC taking $500m out of the sport, so they can bring new teams on board and bring ticket prices down a little.

    IF they don’t waiver………………….

    Big IF though.

  20. MrExasperated says:

    Its amazing…I’d put money on the fact that if just one person was removed (well maybe two, but the second one is being strangely quiet considering how much is at stake), that this whole mess could be resolved amicably between all parties considered (even to the satisfaction of the likes of Williams and Force India and new entrants..*paper tigers for the most part that they are*).

    I’m amazed how little publicly Bernie is involved in all this (even down to saying go ask Mosley), unless all along his endgame plan is different.

    Why arent we hearing anything from CVC trying to protect their investment??

  21. Rusty0256 says:

    I think there might be another reason the FIA cannot publish an entry list; teams that previously applied for slots on the F-1 grid such as Lola, Prodrive etc. are seeing the writing on the wall.

    Sure, they were able to find sponsors willing to front up the money to get them onto the same grid as Ferrari, BMW, McLaren, Red Bull and Renault, but that was then and this is now. Suddenly the F-1 game is a whole lot smaller and a whole lot less exciting.

    Max may have got Williams, Force India, USF1, Campos and Manor (and I wonder how many of them are currently looking at exit strategies) but I suspect Max’s phone messages to the previous potential entrants are now going largely unanswered.

    In fact, I’d be laying pretty good odds on Lola and Prodrive having already begun discussions with FOTA on joining the new main game.

  22. Rik says:

    Max thinks it is “a grave violation of competition law” to set up in competition with the FIA. I think he has shot himself in the foot with that one.

  23. jose arellano says:

    i think bernie should jump ship, to keep the name FORMULA 1, and just replace the fia with a FOTA ruling body….

  24. chaostheory says:

    If FIAs legal actions against FOTA will delay the preparation for next year FOTA Championship – fans anger against Max &co will be even stronger. I wont follow FIAs F1 anymore – thats for sure. And I can imagine some potential new teams (and sponsors) thinking twice, or a hundred times before entering FIAs F1 ruled by a dictator who had drove Ferrari out of the sport :/

  25. Jonathan Dye says:

    Max should have gone last time he created a load of negative headlines. It seems as if its Max’s way or he will take the whole of F1 down with him fighting, what now looks to be a loosing battle.

    The FIA started this battle with the teams by changing the rules a week before this season started, and now less than half way thorough the season have let it distroy the entire series.

  26. David says:

    Personally I am sad that it has got to this point. However I believe that Max has truly lost the plot, it feels like Bob Mugabe is the president of our favorite sport.

    It breaks my heart, I don’t want to have to wonder if Williams could actually beat Ferrari if they were in the same series.

    I hope above hope that the Bernster finally opens his mouth and sorts this mess out. Usually I love the drama and the politics which drive F1, without them you wouldn’t have F1, but this is a bit too serious.

    In terms of which series to support? FOTA all the way, I want to see the best tech with the best drivers at REAL racing tracks which actually have passionate spectators and not army troops dressed in civilian clothes.

    Max, your time is up. Bernie, cash in and get out of there now.

  27. Rob says:

    Picture the scene 12 months from now,The British Grand Prix 2010 will be held in the car park of Donington Park Services M1 Jct 23a.The grid will consist of Campos Grand Prix, Manor and US F1,meanwhile Williams and Force India fail to make the grid due to the fact that they do not have any engines.At the same time we will all be down the road at Silverstone watching the real thing on a proper Grand Prix circuit.

  28. Carsten says:

    I am not so sure about that.

    Yes, Mosley has admitted in a way that F1 really needs the FOTA teams, their technology and their marketing might.

    But: I think he first tried to force them into accepting his rule(s), as this has failed, he now he lets them of the hook, expecting them not beeing able to set up a rival series and hindering them wherever he can, with legal proceedings and special deals for teams in order to break up FOTA. In the end, he expects, they all come back to F1. This is far from over yet, unfortunately.

  29. rpaco says:

    A statement from a gigantic ego! :-))

    Max talks as if his word is law, and no other exists on the planet. To mention competition law for him is shirley almost suicide, when it seems every action of his could be designed to prevent any competition.

    If the 2010 entry list remains on hold until the legal side is sorted then the 2010 season will be held in 2015.

    I would guess he will go for injunctions to stop any competing series, although this would seem to be against the idea of EU competition law, but not having seen the contract who can comment??? Has anyone seen the contracts? If only all the contracts were open and above board we could see for ourselves if they are “fair” contracts, but it is all hidden. No doubt disclosure of contents is also prohibited lest it makes the participants look bad in public.
    Come on Max, or Bernie or the FOTA guys, publish and be dammed! Are you ashamed of what you signed up to? We can take it, we are used to being shocked by our own money grubbing MPs and government officials even now voting themselves a nice £10K salary increase on top of the expenses debacle.

    Get Jeremy Clarkson in to mediate and bang heads or just scrap everything and heaven forbid allow common sense to creep in. (Tony Blair may spin in his luxury apartment at the thought of common sense being revived after he killed it off, but it is needed nonetheless)

    Failing Clarkson I fear that the legal proceedings of the next few years will eat up the teams budgets. How about having televised court sessions with advertising, full product placement allowed etc, then the team sponsorship can continue. Legal teams to be in team colours of course, with the old bailey turned into an ad man’s dream billboard. Then a twist, a phone in vote for the winner (which will be decided in secret beforehand by 2 marketing people who will later deny it.)

  30. Ben G says:

    Given the short amount of time to organise the new series, the simplest thing for FOTA would be to employ Bernie to organise and promote it, albeit with a greater share of control and the profits.

    Bernie has the circuits and the TV under contract, not the FIA, and he has the most to lose, financially, from a breakaway series.

    So the crucial person to watch here is not Max, but Bernie – will he cut his losses and jump ship with FOTA? I bet he does.

  31. Andrew says:

    So far there’s 100% consensus (here) on the fact that Max has lost the plot and FOTA are doing the right thing.
    Has Max finally pushed too hard? I hope so. I hope he’s out of the FIA soon and that someone with more common sense takes his place.

  32. Carsten says:

    I am not so sure about that.

    Yes, it is true that Max has admitted, in a way, that the F1 needs the FOTA-teams, especially Ferarri, their technology and their marketing might.

    But I fear a lot of what he does is strategy. At first, I think he tried to force them to accept their new rule(s) by putting time pressure on him, now as this has failed, he lets them of the hook, expecting them to find setting up a rival series very difficult. He will hinder them at every step, too, with legal procedings and luring teams away from FOTA with special deals. He is not to loose power (Fia) in the short term, apparently and with Bernie on his side he can afford to wait a little. There is, of course, the great risk that this strategy will blow up in his face, but I think he is a person that is willing to take risks like these, he might even enjoy it in a way. It is a sad day for the sport and all his fans worldwide.

  33. borolad says:

    Much as I find Mosley and Ecclestone to be quite loathesome, I can’t help hoping they win on this one. I think it’s because I can’t bear the idea that grand prix racing will return to being a 2 hour Ferrari commercial every other weekend.
    The win win situation would be an F1 still run by the FIA under a new leadership, with more elbow from the supporting cast in FOTA’s membership keeping a lid on the Ferrari lobby.

  34. David says:

    Hi all,

    Spent a few mins surfing for “grave violation of competition law”I keep getting to Article 81 of the EU treaty which has this to say:

    Article 81

    1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the common market, and in particular those which:

    (a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;

    (b) limit or control production, markets, technical development, or investment;

    (c) share markets or sources of supply;

    (d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

    (e) make the conclusion of contracts subject to acceptance by the other parties of supplementary obligations which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts.

    2. Any agreements or decisions prohibited pursuant to this article shall be automatically void.

    3. The provisions of paragraph 1 may, however, be declared inapplicable in the case of:

    - any agreement or category of agreements between undertakings,

    - any decision or category of decisions by associations of undertakings,

    - any concerted practice or category of concerted practices,

    which contributes to improving the production or distribution of goods or to promoting technical or economic progress, while allowing consumers a fair share of the resulting benefit, and which does not:

    (a) impose on the undertakings concerned restrictions which are not indispensable to the attainment of these objectives;

    (b) afford such undertakings the possibility of eliminating competition in respect of a substantial part of the products in question.

    Now I note the FIA have recently insisting that negotiations were not being done in good faith. I think this must be their angle – the teams never were serious (tough how the FIA proves this is beyond me) so therefore they are acting in a manner contrary to the above… Or they could be trying argue that they (the FIA) are customers of the teams and that the teams are agreeing to not supply a product in order to prevent the FIA from doing business…

    Anybody else able to provide an interpretation?

    (I left out the links didn’t knw if they would be accepted in comments)

  35. The Name is Swift, Jonathan ... says:

    Please can you advise: In the new Fota world order, will F1 journalists be any less supine? The oddest thing in this whole affair has been to witness the behaviour of what must be most “embedded” species of writer in the history of world journalism — the F1 correspondent.

    Clearly all F1 writers — re-educated has they have been in the ways of Bernie & Co — have all long forgotten they actually have a point of view. So we have been entertained by the graceless dance of a multitude of unreasonably well fed hacks eager to sound “opinionated” while at the same time not wanting to queer their patch with either side of the dispute. So whose side ARE you one, dude?

    I can’t wait till it’s over when at least some of you will boldly put the knife into whoever gets the boot at the end of this high farce between British toff and Italian Count.

    Maybe Fota should let it be known that they are will be offering additional sauna services along with accreditation … maybe THAT will get someone off that fence.

  36. Mattij says:

    Just curious about one detail which I have not seen mentioned anywhere:

    How can FIA force anyone to participate in motor racing? Even on spectator tickets it often says something like “motorsport is dangerous, attend at your own risk”.

    Is it not a huge legal risk to oblige someone to race and then have a serious accident?

  37. Ged says:

    James,

    In Mosley’s interview with the Beeb he said he that if he had any influence then F1 would be racing at Silverstone next year. Any word in the paddock and/or press-room regarding Mosley/Bernie trying to beat FOTA to Silverstone next year?

  38. Harveyeight says:

    And now we have Mosley suggesting that FiA F1 will be back at Silverstone next year. This after Bernie, who is responsible for the choice of circuit, has taken out a multi-year contract with Donington and also said that if they can’t run it then the race would go to another country. He called Silverstone sub-standard.

    Mosley has taken responsbility for something that is in Bernie’s domain. Not waving but drowning it seems to me.

    I’ve always believed that a threat of legal action is an admission of panic. It means that people are going to throw money at lawyers and give the impression that they are doing something constructive and they are in the right.

    I’ve heard that Bernie stormed out of the FiA hospitality (not one famed for riotous parties, I bet) motorhome – reported in the German media – and now I think I know why. ‘Back here next year, Bern. Will you tell the press or shall I?’

    Mosley’s myth of invincibility has taken more than a nudge, that’s for sure. Whatever happens, he’ll never be the same force again. The shame is that whatever happens, F1 will never be the same.

    There’s still time for a rescue bid. All that has to happen is for the wounded Mosley to be put out of his misery or be allowed to fall on his sword with a bit of spin (sorry for the confusing imagery) to save face: a speech that starts with: ‘It’s a far, far better thing I do now than I ever did as president.’

  39. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Of note: ACCUS and others threatened to withdraw from the FIA last year. The EU manufacturers association has backed a breakaway. Having support from those quarters may mean both a new series and a new international motoring association, maybe one working with the FIM? Ultimately, that may be the best solution.

  40. Jeremiah says:

    The new series is bound to be a success, among other things, because the loyal followers of top drivers and teams will follow them :

    — Spain is crazy about Alonso, and will follow him wherever he goes.
    — Italy will follow Ferrari wherever they go
    — Brasil will follow Massa wherever he goes
    — Germany has some rising stars in Vettel, Glock, etc and will follow them anywhere.
    — GB fans will follow Hamilton, Button and McLaren wherever they go.

    Wherever the attention of people is, so is the advertising and the money. I think it will be OK. Hope Williams will join soon.

    All this mess was not about Mosley. It was Bernie that was directing everything from the shadows.

  41. Tom Gower says:

    James,

    I and am sure others would really like to know how you feel about a split, what is your personal opinion as a long time fan not a professional?

  42. sean says:

    So what will the FOTA car for next year look like.Lets get ride of those snow plough’s,tiny rear thingy bring back last years car minus all the horns and wack V10′s in them.Revving to 22000rpm’s then lets see max try to sell his series as the pinnacle of automotive technology.
    James,have you or anyone tried to contact the new entrants to gauge there thought’s and where they wish to be.

  43. Hammad says:

    What else can we expect from a guy who’s almost 70? He’s lost his mind, and he should have retired ages ago. I understand why he would sue Ferrari and Red Bull, but why the other teams? They’re not legally obliged to enter. And as for Ferrari and Red Bull, here’s a thought. Without the FOTA teams, next year will probably be under budget capped rules. Surely all three teams can afford to allocate the required amount, and a bit more for salaries and stuff, and still have more than enough left over for the new series?

  44. nick says:

    James, what FOTA needs to do is withdraw ALL their cars from ALL forms of FIA racing. A TOTAL boycott. GT racing, touring cars ,WRC or whatever from they are competing in that falls under the realm of the FIA. What racing would there be save Le Mans or Nascar? This basically needs to be the revocation of the FIA on ALL levels, not just F1. The FIA have played with WRC so much it is almost irrellevant(sp) at this junction. To form an entirely NEW govening body that is aimed at the needs of the automotive manufacturers or big sponsers like red bull are essential. The current lack of F1 in KEY markets like north america show who the FIA serve, and it is not working anymore.
    I hope that the manufacturers say “I am mad as hell and I am not gonna take it anymore” and take ALL their cars out of competion through the whole FIA….

  45. nick says:

    What the FOTA manufacturers need to do is withdraw ALL motorsport from the FIA. From WRC to GT, from F1 to Touring cars. Withdraw from all their series, take the engines from GP2, or the remaining F1 teams.

  46. LynnD says:

    Does anyone else think there’s an awesome movie to be made out of the events of this weekend? A reconstruction-type thing like “the Queen”. :-)

    What we wouldn’t give to be flies on the wall of Bernie’s motor home today?!

  47. Sven says:

    Have not Max Mosely said that F1 can do without Ferrari, The FOTA teams are welcome to go away and form their own series, the 40 million budget cap is desperately needed and prefferebly F1 should be a spec series to make it even cheaper.
    Well now he can have it all, exactly as he wants! So way on earth is he making a fuz?

  48. Darren Fellows says:

    So what is getting at me is how would the FIA actually “Make” Ferrari race next year?

    Surely Ferrari can bring a couple cars to the GP’s that wont pass scrutineering and thus stopping them racing ….

  49. Luciano says:

    The Friday press conference with several team principals was very interesting. All three FOTA representatives gave intelligent well-thought answers to all questions regarding how we have come to this and what the future could hold. Surprisingly Ross Brawn was the most openly critical of the FIA.

    There arguments make a strong contrast to the ‘posturing’ of the FIA, whose statements all this week come across as vindictive rants.

    Long live FOTA!

  50. Matt says:

    I’ve been really hoping that it wouldn’t come down to this as I didn’t want to see a sport I love ruined.

    However, now it actually has I am far more convinced by the FOTA proposal and am actually quite excited by the prospect of genuine change.

    Max has really backed himself into a corner and has effectively made his position untenable. It is impossible now to see the FOTA teams come back into the fold with him still involved.

    Very strange behaviour from an international organisation such as the FIA the like of which totally reinforces FOTA’s arguments regardng governance.

  51. Mark M says:

    Unless there is a compromise, then, F1 is done; that would require a lateral advancement for Max (off a cliff). FOTA has to have changes in overall GP structuring, but to give the Teams absolute control will also not work in the long term. F1 governance needs a Board of Governors that would represent the teams/constructors, but also the drivers association, competition regulators, and well as the commercial partners. Changes to the competition or commercial format would require proposals from various groups to be reviewed by the entire board (likely modified) and then voted upon. The sweeping changes of the last several years have not slowed the cars, just injected the need for vast expenditures for complex design; all this while the Powers-That-Be try to change F1 into a Spec Series and continue to take the cream straight off the top. The Canadian GP chopped, no US race in sight, the richest car market ignored; Good Job – Max & Bernie!

  52. phil c says:

    James

    Just reading the press release, im assuming the FIA think the Manufactrures teams are in breach of the competition law, with the supposed 50million dollars agreement they have between them, in addition to Ferrari and redbull/torro rosso not entering into the championship and FOTA potentially geting involved with potential contracts assocaited with f1 regarding sponsors etc etc. (as per FOTA statement)

    I find it a stretch that the FIA have a case other then to delay. The FIA, cannot prevent another series starting, neither could bernie as this would be in breach of a competition law. The FIA cannot even prevent the existing teams competing in another series, subject to whats in the existing contract. Brawn could leave and move to any series at the end of the year he chooses to.

    Not only this if Bernie has contract with the FOTA team names within it, this is a problem for Bernie and CVC not the teams. Bernie and CVC provided a gurantee these teams would be competing, not the teams. Now they have had FIA fail in there bid, so we have a legal battle.

    I believe if Ferrari win or lose, they will leave regardless. If they win i think FOTA will start a new series and put f1 to bed. Bernie can have all the law suits he wants against FOTA, the reality he cannot prevent. Finanically it will be difficult for f1 to survive, FOTA will hold all the aces.

  53. milkboy says:

    It baffles me that anybody is surprised by the lawsuits. Yes he did tell them to start their own series, that does not release certain teams from contracts the FIA believe they have.

    It is really easy for FOTA to say they will start a new series. To do it is something completely different. 8 teams have split. You would imagine at least 2 of the teams who applied (like prodrive) would be happy to go along as well. At least three of the teams will be sued. That could get extremely nasty. I think it could easily ruin Red Bull Racing (and TR). And in worst case scenario could also destroy Ferrari (e.g. they loose the case and are forced to reimburse the FIA for the damage caused, which could be billions). Ok that is an extreme case I admit, but just saying. I would be surprised if the lawyers could not find something to charge all of the other teams with something as well. Now imagine these court cases drag out for months. It will be very difficult for FOTA to launch a new series while court cases are going on. Most likely they would run out of time, at which point certain teams like Mclaren and Brawn are really in trouble.

    Ok, if the court cases don’t take too long and go in favour of FOTA. The new series still needs to be organised. The cars are not a problem, as they can run with the current specs. Tracks also no problem. There are enough around. The two big problems, in my opinion, are TV and money. I don’t know what kind of contract the TV stations have with Bernie, but if they are tight and the stations can’t switch, FOTA is in trouble. In some countries there is a main national channel and some side channels, who might not be able to pay for the rights. In other countries, including the UK, it can see the rights going to pay tv channels, like Sky. Plus these contracts need time to setup. If FOTA does not get some good tv deals up very fast, it again could all fall apart. Without tv, there go the fans (only a minority actually goes to races) and also the sponsors.

    So less money from tv, less money from race tracks, less money from sponsors (some will jump), less money from fans (some fans will be lost and I can’t see this increasing the number of fans for a few years at least), less money from merchandise (f1 is a pretty strong brand). Yes they will get a bigger share from the profit, but profits will be drastically smaller and setup costs for the first few years also need to be taken into consideration.

    So the manufacturers will have to put some money in. Which is difficult to imagine at the moment. One or two could easily decide, actually they will save the money for a few years. Yes they all say they are committed, but that can be changed in one board meeting.

    Finally all of it relies on FOTA sticking together, putting their own individual needs/desires to the side and working together in an extremely efficient way. This from the group who has to take a certain amount of blame for this whole theatre. Max has been pushing them for years to drop costs. Individual selfishness has often stopped his attempts. Anybody remember the voluntary testing ban from a few years, which Ferrari happily ignored.

    I can’t see FOTA successfully launching a new series. But I can imagine them trying and none of us have anything interesting to watch next year.

    Shame on the lot of you to let it get to this point and playing games. That most definitely includes you too Max and Bernie.

    PS: Sorry James for the long rant, but I think some fans just don’t think about the consequences.

  54. ryokl1313 says:

    Well we were all worried that the Brawns running away with the championship would make this a very boring year in F1….Think again!

  55. jed says:

    There are other ways by which FOTA can start their own series without breaking their contractual obligations with the FIA. F1 racing is a professional sport with professional teams and therefore the teams are separate corporate entities in itself completely independent from their parent company. Thus, Marlboro Scuderia Ferrari has a different personality to Ferrari itself, so is Sauber BMW from BMW, Redbull Racing from Redbull and so on and so forth.

    So, if the FOTA manufacturers each make brand new teams with incorporators who are not part of the incorporators of the original teams then these “new teams” are not bound by contract to anyone.

    Moreover, it is the manufacturer’s teams that are bound by the FIA contract and not the manufacturers themselves. This is the reason why honda was able to withdraw from F1 despite being contractually bound to join in this season as it was the team contractually obligated to the FIA and not Honda motor company itself.

    The FIA can sue all they want but thye won’t be able to legally prevent a new racing series.

  56. Al says:

    James,

    Could it be possible that this is what Bernie wanted all along.
    With all the fighting between the FIA and FOTA,

    Could Bernie be setting up Max and possibly joining the FOTA series. Because of the debts CVC has, the investors would want to be part of the series with Ferrari, Renault, McLaren, BMW, Red Bull. Not the series with Williams, Force India. Because will all due respect to Frank Williams, his team doesnt really have the commercial appeal that the FOTA teams can provide.

    On the other, If Bernie stays with the FIA, wouldn’t that mean the Teams (FOTA) would be in a better situation financially. The initial outlay might be a bit expensive, and they need to set up some kind of governance to get TV rights but, the series would be running without the massive debts hanging over the its commercial rights holder. Therefore the tracks who couldn’t afford the such as Imola, Montreal, Hockenheim, Suzuka. (The Tracks that we all love to watch racing at) Have a better chance to be able to participate. Due to the fact they are not getting held to ransom by Bernie to pay off his debts. And the team would also get more of a percentage. Instead of 50-50 with Bernie. Which is a joke that administration side of a series should be make half the money. It should be with the teams. As they are spending all the money to put a show on. So in theory it could be very beneficial for them. Also would mean we go back to Silverstone.

    I also think if Max was so hell bent on saving money. KERS even if it was not mandatory. Should have been scrapped. The team spent mega bucks to just test the system. Then implement that. Seems like a waste. The only reason it seems to work in other series is there aero packages are no where near as good as F1. So less turbulence behind the cars. Easier to follow in the first place.

  57. PaulL says:

    FIA have again lost my respect.

  58. PaulL says:

    How about a poll for Breakaway series vs 40mEURO-capped F1?

    I vote Breakaway.

  59. Craig from Canada says:

    When Max said “I say, if you want to make the rules, then go and organise your own championship. Formula 1 is ours, we make the rules. We’ve started 60 years ago and we will continue like that.” wasn’t he (as the president of the FIA) giving the teams permission to create their own series? This would eliminate any legal basis for now suing the FOTA because they have done just that.

  60. Jamil says:

    My Message Part 1

    To start, I will emphasize that I want MOSLEY out and I think it is very very likely. I’ll argue :

    MOSLEY said first Formula1 doesn’t need FERRARI and said that another championship with uncapped budget doesn’t scare him and if the constructors want another championship with their own rules the FIA would be happy to embrace the championship…..

    Today, with the constructors announcing their breakaway series, not only MOSLEY didn’t put the definitive list of the entrants to next year’s championship, but he is challenging the teams in courts… That shows that MOSLEY was bluffing and the teams weren’t or at least if they are, they put MOSLEY in a situation where he couldn’t hide his bluff.
    Moreover, MOSLEY has only 5 teams right now bound to next year + (FERRARI, REDBULL and TORO ROSSO) if he wins in courts which makes it 8 teams at maximum.

  61. Jamil says:

    My Message Part 4

    If what I imagine happens (Mosley and Ecclestone’s yielding), it will open up another hell given that a championship managed by its own members is very hard to police and clearly tensions will run high. Now it is working, because they found an opponent against whom to regroup.
    But tomorrow they will be facing each other and within them there is an ogre disguised in a horse.

    So if the teams take control of a new championship or the current one, the need to carefully establish the foundations unless they will end up where they started. And the best solution is to have an independent authority to control everything.

    At the end, the best solution is to keep the current Formula 1 starting by sending MOSLEY into another galaxy, giving the teams their say on the regulations, and giving them more money step by step.

    The problem is when so powerful people take decisions, they do it with 50% BRAINS 50% EGO. These times in Formula 1, BRAINS are a rarity and their value is higher than diamonds in stock markets. The same phenomenon is observed in the CITY.

    Thanks for reading,
    Jamil K.

    P.S: excuse my English. You must have guessed it wasn’t written by Shakespeare. Well, I can’t say, I have never read something form Shakespeare. English is my 3rd language.

  62. Ian Abrahams says:

    There still won’t be a breakaway series run by the teams.

    Even if they can get the money together and the logistics and the level of TV coverage that’s going to be required to satisfy sponsors (and that’s highly dubious I’d have thought) the cracks in the FOTA facade of unity will chasm-sized the moment of them interprets a rule in a different way to the rest.

    Can you imagine a FOTA-run series grappling with the double-diffuser issue without half the grid threatening to split away again?

  63. roberto says:

    At this point I realy feel sorry for Peter Windsor, he has worked for almost 4 years to be a team owner and basically Max Mosley shatter his dreams.

    Very sad, very sad.

  64. Alex M says:

    Moseley “seems sure” … LOL, please James…..

    If F1 sues FOTA, it will probably come under EU anticompetitive business legislation, so, no you will not Max.

    If the FIA/F1 force teams to honour contracts, they can simply “Do an Indy” … do you remember the last time Max tried to bully unhappy teams to run – we have a precedent – they pulled in after one lap !

    If Max really just wants to ruin Bernie and F1 is just the mechanism, this would be a good way to go. FOTA will run the real Championship and the bullied Teams can turn up in name at the Farce1 show, do one lap, find some “Mechanical Problems” and all pull in… how long will that last with the TV Execs ? Sponsors ?

    What is that smell ?

    Well and truly Cooked Goose my friends.

  65. Skies says:

    The general feeling I get from various websites is that the majority of fans want a breakaway series. We want to see the top drivers in the top teams racing at historic, packed out circuits. And not tinpot teams racing at another half empty generic Tilke track.

    How about another one of your polls James?

  66. Ian Brooks says:

    Rightly or wrongly, legal action is all very well but if virtually the entire F1 field is lined up agains the governing body I don’t see any positive outcome (regardless of the legal outcome); forcing teams to race is unrealistic. The legal threats are surely a large element of bluff and brinksmanship in the high stakes poker game this farce has become.

  67. travelrat says:

    Questions, only questions …

    Was Mosley appointed or elected President of FIA?

    Isn’t there some sort of committee or council? Are these pronouncements a unanimous decision? Or, is it all ‘Yes, Max! Whatever you say, Max’?

    I got the impression last night that Moseley and Bernie Ecclestone don’t exactly see eye to eye. Could one of them be on the way out?

    Eddie Jordan for President!!

  68. john g says:

    thought max wanted new teams in F1 – from what he’s said over the last few weeks months and years, he couldn’t give a stuff about the manufacturers, and would be happy if they left – now he’s sueing them for doing what he wanted!

    anyway, max and the FIA sueing others for contravening competition laws!? haha. didn’t the EU commisioner a few years back say that upon investigating the FIA and formula 1 that the backroom deals that went on between max and bernie were the worst cases of anti-competition violation that he’d ever witnessed in his life?

  69. Adonis Megoulis says:

    Well, lets try a breakdown of the FIA legal arguments:
    1. “The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to wilful interference with contractual relations”, i.e. they accuse FOTA as a legal entity (union) and Ferrari also as a legal entity (company) that they presumably tried to talk Red Bull (for the rest of FOTA teams are not legally binded by any sort of contract with either FIA or FOM) out of their contract with a third party (meaning FOM or FIA). When you press ahead with a legal argument you have to prove what you claim. How the hell FIA are going to prove this, is beyond my comprehension, since within FOTA teams decide unanimously, therefore… nobody has the initiative. In order to prove the argument, FIA need internal sources and data from within the FOTA meetings (not very likely but also not impossible, given Bernie’s well established political tactics). If they claim that the interference was simply induced by the departure of Ferrari, which forced Red Bull to breach their own contract, there is no hope for FIA whatsoever.
    2. “Ferrari are in direct breach of their contractual obligations”: It all depends on the 2005 contract term, by which Ferrari was granted a veto right over changes of regulations. If the term is found to be substantial (and in my opinion, it is), then also FIA are in breach of their bilateral contractual obligations, since they proceeded with the budget cup without asking Ferrari. Therefore, Ferrari can declare the agreement void.
    3. “FOTA and Ferrari are in grave violation of competition law”: I’m not familiar with UK competition law, but I know european competition law quite well. According to it concerted practices amongst independent parties are prohibited. It is interesting that FIA deems FOTA (a simple union) to be in itself a forum of concerted practices by the teams against its championship. However, I don’t think that the argument is very serious and apart from that, it may backfire: In my opinion, it is FIA together with Ferrari, that tried back in 2005 to monopolize the market in which third parties are involved (via the notorious veto agreement) and this could lead EU competition authority to impose huge fines on both FIA and Ferrari.
    As a fan, I am with FOTA. Max and Bernie have done miracles in the past but they are past their time and the spirit of F1. I prefer european races over subsidised vacant asian ones. I prefer technical freedom over pretexts that aim only towards control of the sport. I prefer cheaper tickets and less sterilised paddocks. Max has created a political empire and the Bambino Trust has made enough money. Time to move on…

  70. KP says:

    The TV companies will not support FOM.

    The ECC will help FOTA setup the breakaway and smackdown any nonsense from the FIA and FOM.

    The same will happen with the market regulatory authorities in Japan and North America.

    You can bet your bottom EURO that the EU would not allow FIA or FOM to sue any of these auto carmakers for any kind of damages in this current political environment. Sarkozy’s got Renault’s back. Berlusconi’s got Ferrari’s back. Merkel’s got BMW and Mercedes and the UK government will do the same for McLaren, Brawn et al.

    The ACEA is behind FOTA. The entire automotive industry are behind FOTA.

    The sponsors are behind FOTA. The drivers are behind FOTA.

    The fans are behind FOTA.

    FIA and FOM hold no cards. The teams have finally realised this. About time. They are wobbling, time to finish of these odious organisations once and for all.

    It is an inevitable that people shall rise up against tyranny of all forms.

  71. mjroberts55 says:

    I would be very suprised if a breakaway championship can be put in place for 2010 as the teams only have 8 or 9 months to do all the deals.

  72. Jakob says:

    The contract says that no team controlled by Ferrari is allowed to race in a rival series.

  73. Sanity or Madness says:

    More to the point, what’s to stop them fielding a skeleton team (possibly as, say, “Dino”) in F1… then deliberately failing scrutineering at every single race….

  74. SiY says:

    The contract will also contain exclusivity clauses aimed at preventing Ferrari doing exactly that.

    After all, the whole reason the FIA threw money at Ferrari in 2005 to get them signed up was that they knew it would immediately kill any realistic chance of the manufacturers forming a breakaway series, as they intended to back then.

  75. blech says:

    Image and marketing.

    FOTA’s main point’s gonna be that they’re the “Real Championship” and F1 is just a bunch of third rate replacements. So if Ferrari’s gonna be in F1 they’ll have to handily dominate to maintain that image.

    Just showing up is gonna hurt them more than the FIA so they won’t do it.

    But I still can’t believe that this is gonna work.
    Even if Bernie gets the largest share of the pie FOM still hands out lots of dough and replacing that’s not gonna be easy. If TV stations want out of the old contract, that too will take a lawsuit and lots of time and I can’t see them offering remotely as much for a completely new series even with those teams.
    And the car manufacturers surely won’t pay billions in the current economic climate just so the teams can keep spending $300 million a year instead of a hundred (after expenses that aren’t under the budget cap).

    All this will accomplish is to ruin F1 the same way IndyCar died. Say goodbye to Fernando Alonso and hello to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

  76. Edward says:

    I had the same thought, albeit with a slightly more nefarious bent. Could not Ferrari field cars in F1 under a different marque, perhaps that of another member of the Fiat family? In a true act of civil disobedience, the “Fauxrrari” team could employ FOTA’s breakaway series as a title sponsor. Any attempt by the FIA to interfere with such a sponsorship arrangement would surely qualify as a “grave violation of competition law,” much more so than any threats to form such a breakaway series.

  77. Skaffen says:

    Absolutely, just give this year’s cars a lick of paint, splash advertising for the FOTA Grand Prix Series all over it, and get a bunch of engineering students and test drivers to turn up for each race.

  78. phil c says:

    nothing what so ever. The think is there is precendent already set with the FIA failing to chase honda last year. Not only this, the FIA in particular Max has publically said f1 does not need Ferrari.

  79. Spenny says:

    Part of the Ferrari contract is that they are not allowed to field a team, or support a team in a competing series.

    The FIA are essentially going to argue that FOTA have formed an illegal cartel, (the reported £50m golden handcuff arrangement being evidence of this), and they have connived to get Red Bull to break their contract (I doubt they could make that argument stick against Ferrari who seem to be ringleaders of the fight).

    The FIA may have some good legal grounds to support their case, but things are never black and white, and FOTA can happily claim to be doing what Max told them to do. Also, any attempt to stop the non-contracted teams from forming their own series would probably fall foul of anti-competition laws – which the FIA have been warned on before.

    What becomes more interesting is whether the FIA or FOM have anti-compete contracts with some of the circuits – I’d expect someone to be ringing around suggesting to circuits like Silverstone that they might not be hosting other FIA-backed races ever again if they get involved with FOTA.

    I have the suspicion that, if Max went to court to fight on anti-competition, this might backfire, and he might just find that he has to reveal some unsavoury elements to the confidential FIA and FOM contracts that might be interpreted as anti-competitive. A contract to commit unlawful acts is not a valid contract, and we could see some interesting confessions from Ferrari to make their case – which oddly enough could clear the air with the other teams, as they suspected such things existed anyway.

  80. Francisco says:

    I have mentioned this already on an earlier post.
    Ferrari & co. could use the F1 as a test.
    In fact, they could use the car to make publicity for the new series. How ironic that will be?

  81. Jeremiah says:

    Ferrari will send a couple of Fiat 500s with a lot of racing stickers to the FIA series, and leave the good cars for the FOTA races.

  82. Al (21prods) says:

    This is (just an example of) why I think Mosley cannot be seriously taken. He says one thing and next day he’s saying exactly the opposite. The problem is that he ‘dictates’ the rules, and so the situation is.

    Any one still wonders why FOTA teams decided not to accept Mosley’s invitation to lodge unconditional entries and discuss the changes to the 2010 rules afterwards?

  83. Jake Pattison says:

    I agree. Gave me a laugh too :D

  84. Rory Hawkins says:

    I do enjoy how you left the caps lock on for ADELAIDE!

    Going to Melbourne to watch the F1 every year I get the overwhelming feeling the majority of the population there do not even want F1.

    Some of my best childhood memories are of being on one side of a concrete barrier while the likes of Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher duelled it out on the other side just a few metres away!

    That was the real F1.

    F1 for Melbourne; FOTA For Adelaide!

  85. Sanity or Madness says:

    Actually, didn’t he claim to want four-cylinder turbodiesel engines as the end point not so long ago?

  86. Wingers says:

    Exactly what I was moaning at the office today…

    You can’t win with this situation, with Mosley you just loose! And unfortunately that means, you, me and everyone else loses!

  87. Brown Eyed Girl says:

    Bernie may want to change sides but I can’t see fota saying ‘sure come on over’ keeping in mind bernies previous history of wanting to tinker with F1 for his own commercial interest – exactly the type of thing fota want to move away from surely?
    Plus bernie isn’t silly. He will have those contracts locked down so the bbc will be stuck with a series that they have pledged to show at a prime time schedule even if there is just williams and force india.

  88. Snail says:

    The FIA are essentially going to argue that FOTA have formed an illegal cartel, (the reported £50m golden handcuff arrangement being evidence of this),

    That is not evidence of a cartel.

    A cartel is something used to fix prices at artifically high levels (A), prevent new entrants to market (B), prevent existing entities in the market from improving their position etc (C).

    None of the above describes FOTA.
    A, they aren’t selling something (yet) and when FOTA have a series, there will be plenty of competition for that.

    B, FOTA can’t prevent any other race series and are happy to have new members (they’ve already stated that).

    C, likewise, this doesn’t apply.

  89. Snail says:

    (d) apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with other trading parties, thereby placing them at a competitive disadvantage;

    Looks like FIA/FOM have broken the law with their dealings with Ferrari, because Ferrari have in the past been given preferrential treatment to the others.

  90. Snail says:

    V10’s in them.Revving to 22000rpm’s

    Oh dear, back to the old spend, spend, spend.

    Every extra 1000 rpm you add seriously increases the cost and decreases the lifespan. Never mind that they have spent all the money engineering V8s for a few years.

  91. Jeremiah says:

    “Could Bernie be setting up Max and possibly joining the FOTA series”

    The teams would have the same enthusiasm to continue with Bernie as they would to go to the dentist

  92. Jeremiah says:

    They could do it through DORNA or else hire the services of a top sports management company like IMG.
    It can be done.
    There is no need to have all the requirements of Bernie as far as grand looking boxes, infrastucture, etc. Who cares about infrastucture, what we want is historic racetracks.

  93. Spenny says:

    The only issue with doing deals is valuing them. Events can be televised at short notice, calendars can be provisional, contracts can be made dependent on delivery of viewing and so on.

    FOTA only have to charge half of what FOM were charging for the same product and the teams are as well off.

    The likely problem is that Bernie, facing massive losses next year, would try and swamp FOTA and the circuits with lawsuits. That might be enough to bog down launching the series. What might be interesting is launching at Monaco – Bernie wouldn’t start suing the Prince…

  94. rpaco says:

    You seem to have a much better opinion of the UK government than most of us. Since they refused to help either Silverstone or Donington I doubt they would lift an eyebrow in support of the UK teams.

  95. graham says:

    Red Bull are perhaps the most effective promoters of sport on the planet. They can match Bernie in every promotional and organizational discipline there is. And I bet they have more media outlets on speed dial than the Bernster. It is over for both Bernie and Max. I can hardly wait for a fresh new start without them. Affordable ticket prices, real rules, and those who invest in the sport (the teams) getting the rightful fruit of their labors.

  96. Adonis says:

    Take a look at my comments below.
    To my opinion, it is FOTA in itself that constitutes the concerted practice, i.e. a forum where the undertakings (in this case the teams) decide, according to FIA, to divide and monopolize a previously free relevant market (racing here).
    I am not of the opinion that the argument is well grounded though. I feel that it will trigger further investigation about the 2005 FIA – Ferrari contract, which could be very bad for both.

  97. Jeremiah says:

    If I were the Prince, I would have the two races, F1 and FOTA series, on the same weekend.
    Now that he sets up all the guardrails, etc might as well make the most money.
    LOL

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