Posted on June 25, 2009
Reaction to the F1 peace deal | James Allen on F1 – The official James Allen website on F1

News Digest by Lawrence Barretto

It’s been 24 hours since yesterday’s landmark decision which saw all the FOTA teams agreeing in principle to the Concorde Agreement and ditching plans to leave the series. Now the debate has moved onto whether FIA President Max Mosley jumped or was pushed.

While Mosley declared that he had always intended to step down as FIA President at the end of his term this October, it appears the media have seen it somewhat differently.

“Mr Mosley had gone to Paris talking tough and making it clear that he might continue bossing one of the world’s richest sports for another four years,” wrote the Times. “By mid-morning his 16-year reign was over and though he remains in office, he is without power.”

The Independent, meanwhile, wrote “Mosley had fallen on his sword, in a classic revolt of the ruled against their ruler. He has successfully hard-balled leading teams in previous disputes, emerging as victor in a series of turf wars, but the prospect of a rival series, which would leave a rump Formula One made up of only two current teams and assorted novices, proved too damaging to concede.”

The move was labelled as a ‘victory for the F1 rebels’ by the Mirror who went on to say Mosley’s time was finally up. “Mosley’s cost-cap proposals, plus his vicious politicking and name calling, branding team bosses “loonies”, proved a step too far for even his staunchest allies.” However they were keen to point that Mosley wasn’t all bad. “Although few in the sport’s upper tiers will mourn his demise now they may soon miss the content of his management, if not its style.”

Along with The Times, The Guardian highlighted Bernie Ecclestone’s role as peacemaker in brokering the deal as he sought to protect his business. “Ecclestone had more to lose than most,” wrote The Guardian. “It is certain that the sport’s commercial rights holder had come under extreme pressure from his partner, CVC, as the capital venture company, with no interest in Formula One other than making money, became alarmed by the serious intent shown by FOTA.”

However, as the Economist points out, in pushing through the deal to save the sport, Ecclestone sacrificed Mosley. “Mr Ecclestone seems to have deserted his old friend after FOTA won the backing of the ultimate authority in F1, the private-equity firm CVC Capital, which bought control of Mr Ecclestone’s sports-rights company a few years ago,” said the Economist. “Its bankers had been worrying that the sport it had bought might fall apart. In the end, it was Sir Max and Mr Ecclestone’s authority that collapsed.”

Ecclestone, though, defended his move and his friend saying “In fairness to Max he wanted to leave last year and I asked him not to go until things were sorted out. Let’s make one thing clear, absolutely no one could have forced Max to go if he had decided to stand for re-election.

“People forget he achieved a lot in his time. They forget the positive and concentrate on the negative.

“We’ve been friends for 40 years. He understood the sport and we knew how to do things together. When he needed support I supported him and vice versa.”

Whatever the reasoning for Mosley departing, the situation has now been resolved and we can finally get back to talking about the action on the track. The New York Times sums it up nicely – “Peace has been declared in Formula One… thank goodness we do not have two watered down championships next year instead of one strong one.”

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Reaction to the F1 peace deal
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  1.   1. Posted By: Michael C
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 1:05 pm 

    Nice to see Bernie defending his old friend loyally. Max has done a lot of good for the sport in the past – but surely finally sealed his fate (perhaps accidentally on purpose -conspiracy theory – sacrificial lamb) with the ‘loonies’ episode. Judging from the BBC news interview last night he is still not going to admit that he ever got anything wrong

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  2.   2. Posted By: Sven
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 1:18 pm 

    The teams did finally show what they can archive by sticking together. But it must not stop here. FOTA should now continue to use their new found strength to step by step correct all that still is not right with F1.
    More interesting cars, the overtaking problem is still not solved, races in Canada and the USA and that on proper tracks. A better deal for the fans, HD television and make sure there is a better balance between racing on new tracks in developing markets and keeping the classical ones.
    An idea to consider would be to have 20 races per year and let the teams have two sets of race track crew who alternate between races. It would both solve the problem with excessive travel for the crews and ease the need for redundancies.

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  3.   3. Posted By: Don
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 2:19 pm 

    Good-bye Mr. Mosley… powerless at last… roll on October when he has to leave his office as well! Hip Hip Horray!

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  4.   4. Posted By: PaulL
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 2:43 pm 

    Did Mosley really lose? I felt he would have liked a stronger mechanism over costs – the budget cap, but that what he has achieved through a lot of personal conflict and pain has been what he set out to achieve with costs.

    I do believe that with 8 teams against a budget cap it was right for it to go, but with the glide path and the costs reduced to “early 1990s levels” F1′s future is more secure and that Mosley’s service has been very worthwhile to F1.

    Now all I want as a fan is nicer looking F1 cars and possibly a winner-takes-all system, but that’s another topic!

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  5.   5. Posted By: Howard Hughes
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 3:01 pm 

    Seems to me like this was a classic Mosely maneouvre – he knew he wasn’t going to stand for re-election again, yet in order to finesse through various other initiatives he threatened that he would, watched it become the fulcrum of the dispute, then ‘graciously’ conceded not to if his other concepts could, in some form or other, be allowed through.

    You gotta hand it to him – to get largely what we wanted all along by obligingly doing what he was always going to do anyway – that’s class.

    I disagree with the relief many display that there won’t be a dual championship next year. I genuinely think it would have been the way forward, that F1 would have withered on the vine and the FOTA championship could have snapped it up in a few seasons anyway… We would have seen classic tracks as opposed to the McTilke desertdomes, far more revenues accruing to the teams, lower ticket prices, and perhaps a final end to the myriad daft and blatantly unjust examples of poor governance we’ve come to associate with F1.

    One finds it difficult to image a scenario occuring with FOTA like that which happened 2 years ago, with Alonso being penalised for ‘impeding’ Massa during qualifying…

    So I’m pretty cool on this sudden rush for everyone to jump back into bed together again. So much more could have been achieved.

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  6.   6. Posted By: Chris
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 3:27 pm 

    What Mosley forgot was that money will always out and in this case with CVC staring down the barrel of insolvency it did.

    It’s going to get very entertaining when Bernie tries to get FOTA to agree to a new contract for 2013 to continue to support his over-borrowed chums CVC. Just listen to the pips squeak.

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  7.   7. Posted By: Josh
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 4:41 pm 

    I totally agree Howard, classic Mosley and yes indeed he basically got what he wanted. All he had to do was leave when he always planned to.

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  8.   8. Posted By: Mike
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 5:11 pm 

    “It would both solve the problem with excessive travel for the crews and ease the need for redundancies.”

    the redundancies are exactly why this argument had to happen! F1 was in danger of teams tearing themselves apart by simultaneously being too expensive to fund themselves whilst sponsors (ING, RBS and more) pull out. The cost-cutting is necessary in order to save the sport, and staff culls are the easiest and most logical way. The way to minimise the loss is to move these to the new teams and to growing current teams (STR and Force India spring to mind).

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  9.   9. Posted By: Snail
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 7:19 pm 

    possibly a winner-takes-all system

    Thats “medals” by another name.
    We don’t want that, in any shape or form.

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  10.   10. Posted By: Snail
        Date: June 25th, 2009 @ 7:28 pm 

    I agree with you. Many people say a split would have led to two weak series just like with IRL/champ. But its not the same – with IRL/Champ you had some of the best teams in each series, so neither series could rightfully claim to be the best.

    But if FOTA had split from F1, then all the best teams, except for Williams would have been in F-Other-One. It would be obvious which was the premier series of the two. Williams and Force India could serve their contracted time and join later on.

    By doing it this way though Red-Bull and Torro Rosso don’t have to worry about their contracted position to FOM and the FOM/FIA/Ferrari spat will never hit court. But the interesting bit is that for the first time in many years, all the FOTA teams contracts will be up for renewal at the same time (is this true for Williams, Force India and the new teams or have they signed for 5 years?), which gives FOTA enormous leverage come 2012/2013 negotiating time, *PROVIDED* that they stay together.

    If they do, Bernie and CVC could well face a well organised breakaway which they’ve had time to sort through and organise and do properly, or Bernie and CVC can be more realistic about how the money is redistributed to the teams and what the circuits and fans are charged.

    Here’s hoping that they do all stick together through whatever happens between now and 2012/13.

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