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Todt prepares to stand up for FIA in crunch meeting with F1 teams and Ecclestone
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Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Oct 2012   |  3:11 pm GMT  |  93 comments

Tomorrow in Paris at the headquarters of the FIA, a very important meeting takes place with Jean Todt hosting the F1 teams and Bernie Ecclestone the F1 commercial rights holder.

On the agenda will be the new eight year Concorde Agreement due to start in January 2013, a new FIA regulated cost control mechanism (Resource Restriction Agreement) relating to both chassis and engines, and the subject of spreading the costs of the 2014 engines across the full eight years, so the development costs are not front loaded and too expensive for teams.

The idea of tomorrow’s meeting is to move as swiftly as possible towards getting a Concorde Agreement signed and there is great interest from the teams to see whether Todt and Ecclestone present them with a draft Concorde Agreement and/or any kind of fait accomplis at the meeting.

At present none of the F1 teams is entered for next year’s world championship and they do not know what the entry fee is going to be; there have been suggestions of €500,000 basic fee per team plus €7,000 per point scored in the previous year’s Constructors’ Championship.

On top of that two of the teams, Marussia and HRT, do not yet have a commercial offer from Ecclestone to take part in the 2013 championship, so cannot make any plans.

Ahead of tomorrow’s meeting I went to Paris last week with a colleague from the Financial Times for an interview with Todt – part of which is in today’s FT and part of which will appear in an F1 supplement with the paper during the US Grand Prix weekend.


There is uncertainty about the way forward for the RRA, with the two Red Bull teams refusing to go along with the other ten teams and Todt unwilling to force through something agreed by the other ten teams because he wants an agreement that works for everyone. Red Bull has dragged the process on because it wants a chassis and engine Resource Restriction Agreement and we asked Todt why he had not done what the 10 team majority wanted him to do,

“I think it is a fair view to say ‘Why have one restriction agreement on chassis and nothing on engine?’ ” said Todt. “So, I think it is fair to say that if we do something, we have to do it on chassis and on engine. Are we going to do something on the engine in 2013? No. So, I think it is a strong opportunity. On that I will say more than these ten teams agreed that it’s something which could be agreeable to all the competitors if we would include the chassis and the engine from 2014.”

One of the most important things to come out of this round of negotiations will be the position of the FIA in the rule making process. There have been a number of suggestions of what might come out, including a reduced role for the FIA.

The FIA has been very keen to get a better financial deal from F1, having sold the commercial rights for 100 years under Max Mosley’s reign to Ecclestone for around $350 million.


It seems some kind of improved deal has been agreed with Ecclestone – but not signed yet – and one of the key things we wanted to know was whether in agreeing that deal, the FIA had surrendered any of its regulatory and rule making powers. Todt said emphatically that this is not the case,

“For me FIA anyway must have a bigger impact, not erosion,” said Todt.

“I’m not a dictator trying to control. The contribution and the role of the FIA has to be protected, to be respected and I feel the FIA needed to have probably a bigger role, not as much as it had maybe 15 years ago.

“Sometimes it makes me smile when I read that we are going to lose control, that we are going to sell the… It’s not absolutely true. I am a legalist, so I will never do things which are not our responsibility but I will never allow things which are under our responsibility to be dealt with by anybody else.”

Part of the FIA’s new income from F1 will come from better terms from Ecclestone, but part of it will come from the teams with an enhanced entry fee and a “tax” (as the teams see it) on points scored the previous year.

“Successful teams, definitely they will have a bigger contribution,” said Todt. “For the smallest teams, they will have the lowest contribution. So, it’s not we just murder everybody. No, not at all. The biggest, with more income, will have to pay more. The smallest, with less income, will be able to pay less.”


Summing up the build up to tomorrows meeting Todt said, “It is time to put everybody around the table to make the final decision and the final choices. That is why on 23 October I have organised a meeting which we will host together with Bernie Ecclestone as commercial rights holder and all the representatives of the 12 teams to hopefully finalise the agreement and my dearest wish is that we are all happy about finalising.

“We have the last say to write the rules but I think it’s very important that we write the rules together with the people who are going to participate in the sport.

“We have had several discussions with the commercial rights holder, with CVC, with Bernie, and… I mean, on our side the situation is clear on what we are prepared to propose and to accept, which seems to be the same on the promoters’ level but until… We have to be very cautious until things are signed.

“My wish is to settle a balanced agreement between commercial rights holders, the teams and the FIA, respecting the rights and the duties of the competitors, the rights and the duties of the commercial rights holders and the rights and the duties of the FIA as a regulator and legislator. So, if you ask, am I optimistic? Yes. I think that what we have agreed in our discussions does answer constructively to my questions, the FIA’s questions, but until it is signed, it is not done.”

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93 Comments
  1. Rachel says:

    I hope there is a more equitable agreement between parties and we keep the current breadth of teams involved. I’m always surprised there isn’t more of an attempt by teams to work together to ensure they get a larger slice of the pie, instead if it going to service investor fund profit requirements.

    1. Rich C says:

      That would have been FOTA, so you see how *that works!

    2. W Johnson says:

      You need to direct the question,

      “why don’t teams work together to ensure they get a larger slice of the pie, instead if it going to service investor fund profit requirements”

      You need to direct this question to Luca di Montezemolo as Ferrari do have a habit of doing a deal with Bernie….and we saw this again when they walked away from FOTA.

      1. Wayne says:

        Yes, although they were second out the door behind RBR this time.

        Ferrari is a case apart, they are handed an advantage every year in the form of extra funds from CVC over and above what they would otherwise be entitled to. Baffles me that this is simply alowed to go unoprotested but F1 is replete with backroom shenanigans.

        In Bernie’s defence, I would be sick and tired of new venues and old organisations who sign agreements to get what they want at the time only to come crying back shortly after asking to ‘re-negociate’.

        You know what, FIA, you sold out of your own free will now bloody live with it.

        New venues, you signed agreements to pay x million per year when other traditional venues missed out because they were more realistic – can’t pay? Bugger off.

      2. Rachel says:

        Agree, although as I understand it, it wasn’t just Ferrari, Red Bull had a lot to do with FOTA not having joined up thinking. Their focus was on the RRA. There was an opportunity there to present a single position, but the cracks were too deep and exploited.

      3. Stephen Hughes says:

        You could also point the finger at Mr E who saw the danger FOTA represented and did his best to destabilise it…

      4. W Johnson says:

        But Ferrari always play their part too….

      5. Rich C says:

        The only “danger” from PhOTA is that they embarass themselves out of existence.

  2. Irish con says:

    James what changes in f1 would u make if u were the bossman?

    1. James Allen says:

      Costs right down from karting to F1, long term rules, to control costs and keep the field close on pace, clear path to encourage workable driver development programmes that bring through the best drivers

      1. Nick Hipkin says:

        James,

        Do you think its concerning that the majority not the minority of teams are looking like they will be taking on drivers for next season with backing?

        I’ve never known so many teams to do so and there’s so much good talent coming through who could miss out

      2. Sid says:

        Very good!

      3. Elie says:

        Agree completely James on your points. The only thing I would add is that whilst having consistent clear rules there is scope for innovation. Basically what we have now but with Cost restrictions making it fairer.

        I hope they agree in this meeting. Jean Todt seems like the perfect man for the job. He sounds like a reasonable sort of guy.

      4. W Johnson says:

        Even Kengis Khan looks reasonable compared to Mad Max Moseley!

      5. Wayne says:

        Long term rules being an absolute must. Sometimes I think that F1 uses the ‘technology’ at it’s core as an excuse for sloppy rule-mkaing and allowing the FIA to continue to justify its existence.

      6. Steve says:

        everything would be fine if we could keep the cost down. everybody knows that, just nobody knows how.

  3. SteveH says:

    It seems to me that one of the biggest issues in F1 management, whether that be the FIA or the commercial rights holders CVC, is Bernie. It’s past time that a replacement be found for Bernie. He has done a fantastic job growing F1 over the years, but it is time to move on. Bernie’s attitude towards the fans is counterproductive to the longevity of F1; it seems like there are going to be serious issues down the road with costs, including some of the extortionate race fees with 10% annual increases. F1 management needs to address concerns of the fans also, or we will be going away the the golden goose will have been cooked. I know Bernie thinks fans are irrelevant, but with fewer fans advertisers and TV will stop coughing up money. F1 used to be innovative and on the bleeding edge with technology, but no longer. The restrictive engine rules, although developed with manufacturer input, make this series almost a spec car series. There is a need to the aero component and get back to mechanical grip. Just saying, but the technology is boring unless it is more open. I wouldn’t be surprised to see HRT and Marussia gone soon, and Red Bull and Toro Rosso could leave as quickly at Toyota and Honda. There is trouble in F1 land.

    1. SteveH says:

      Sorry for the writing errors; should have reread before posting!

    2. Bill Nuttall says:

      From a purely selfish point of view, Bernie has done absolutely nothing to improve Formula 1 for me. I started watching back in the 80s, and back then, in my opinion, F1 went to far more interesting tracks for actual racing.
      I couldn’t give a monkey’s that F1 now goes to 5 continents, and the circuits cost over a billion dollars to build, when they are essentially dull layouts with no history, set in countries that have given absolutely nothing to the sport in the way of talented drivers.

      The problem is I care only about that 10m wide strip of tarmac and what happens on it. In turning F1 into a multi-million dollar business what has Bernie done for my actual entertainment? Lest we forget, all sport is just entertainment.

      1. Warren Groenewald says:

        Perfectly well said!

      2. Tim says:

        Agree 100%. The late Prof Watkins & Sir JYS did more for F1 than ecclestone ever will.

        Tim

      3. Daniel says:

        Very little, because he only has $ and £ signs in his eyes. He cares only for money, the fans mean jack to him. The sooner he goes the better. But CVC will still be in control, F1 will still effectively be owned by financiers who care nothing for the sport.

      4. Dave says:

        “From a purely selfish point of view, Bernie has done absolutely nothing to improve Formula 1 for me. I started watching back in the 80s,”
        if it wasnt for bernie you may very well not have been watching f1 in the 80s.

        it was Bernie that put together the organisation & the tv deals which allowed f1 to become a worldwide tv sport through the late 70s/80s.

        “The late Prof Watkins & Sir JYS did more for F1 than ecclestone ever will.”

        remember that it was bernie who brought sid watkins into f1 in 1978.

        it was bernie who worked with sid to get the medical facilities in place & it was bernie along with sid that put together a lot of the organisation which also helped improve the safety.

        those who go on about bernie not having done anything good for f1 quite clearly have zero idea on exactly what bernie actually has done for f1, especially early on.

      5. Tim says:

        ecclestone was pushing on an open door! Sir JYS was the one who really started and pushed, against all odds, for safety. ecclestone jumped on the band-wagon. Did ecclestone do some good in F1? Sure. But to present him as someone who had/has the good of the sport as a major concern of his is patently, and demonstrably, by the public record, insane! We will never know what F1 could have been like without him. And THAT”S a damned shame!

        Tim

      6. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        The loudest criticisms come from the people that have gained the most from his stewardship of the sport – the teams. Is it Bernie’s fault that they have spent their revenue allocations on their corporate headquarters or sports cars programs? Perhaps they should have had higher revenue shares, but that might have only produced more expensive engineering fantasies whilst not necessarily improving the sporting spectacle. Arguably the most interesting racing was when budgets were at their most modest and inginuity were the key rather than development budget.

        To give Bernie his credit, he has always believed the sport was bigger than any one team or driver or circuit (eg Silverstone).

        It is easy to sit with back as a “traditional” F1 fan and complain about the changes to the spectacle, but what if we were to ask someone from a “new” F1 country? Bernie has opened the sport up to large parts of the world that could never have travelled to see it. Europeans are spoilt by having so many races within a relatively short distance.

    3. Rich C says:

      Theres always drama in F1 land.
      But you can’t always blame everything on Bernie.
      Has he actually *said what his attitude is towards the fans? No, its all speculation.

      CVC seems quite happy with him, and if you could point to *anyone else that could do the job I’d be surprised.

      And perhaps he has a succession plan, in which case you probably won’t like him/her either.

      1. SteveH says:

        Probably true, I won’t like them/it; CVC are only in it for the money. The teams were stupid not to take control when they could.

      2. Rich C says:

        Of course they are – why do you think they put up the money in the 1st place? Money talks and bs walks.

        Btw , when exactly was it you think the teams could have taken control?

        And *which teams – the ones in it back then, or the ones in it now?

        You see how well FOTA is run?

      3. Scott D says:

        As far as I am concerned, no individual in a sport should wield as much power as Ecclestone does, so I would not want anyone else to do his job. The sooner he heads off into the retirement sunset the better as far as I am concerned. An excellent businessman he may be, but business is of no interest to me and I would suggest that his self interest has probably done more harm than good to F1 over the years.

      4. Rich C says:

        So… you don’t want *anyone to run it. That’ll work!

      5. Scott D says:

        What I am saying is that I dont want Eccleston Mk 2, thought that was pretty clear…

  4. gudien says:

    Ecclestone has outmanuevered the teams at almost every turn over the past years. Why would anyone expect anything different this time around?

    The rationale for better teams paying more to enter the championship for 2013 is something I do not understand.

    1. Rich C says:

      So you think they should pay *less?

      1. Dave says:

        They should pay the same.

    2. John says:

      it’s very simple really.

      Having signed a 100 year deal with Bernie the FIA have now seen just what a visionary he is. Like it or not Bernie was the one with the vision to turn F1 into such a massive business. The deals he agreed early on were massively better than the FIA or the teams had seen up until then.

      Now the teams and the FIA want a bit more of the massive sums that go to FOM and Bernie.

      Higher entry fees is one very simple way the FIA can achieve a higher income without renegotiating their contract with Bernie.

  5. Jonathan says:

    I don’t understand this cost-per-point thing. The teams get prize money for what position they come but then they take the money away the next season. Why not just reduce the prize money?

    Could we end up with poorer midfield teams figuring out cost strategies and finding it might be better to drop a few points in some races if they far enough ahead in the championship of the next team, in order to save money?

    1. Bradley says:

      Prize money comes from CVC. Entry fee goes to FIA. It might be simpler for CVC to pay the FIA more instead, but that contract has been signed … this one hasn’t.

    2. Mr Esteban says:

      The prize money is given by FOM/CVC/Bernie, not the FIA. The FIA can and will charge what they want (using any cost schedule they prefer).

      The FIA is essentially wanting just under £19.5 million a year. £6 million as the “entry” fee (£500,000 x 12 teams) and then “taxing” the teams to the tune of £13,433,000 (101 points per race x 19 races x £7,000).

      Using the 2011 Constructor’s results, the taxes would look like this:

      RBR: £4,550,000
      McLaren: £3,479,000
      Ferrari: 2,625,000
      Merc: 1,155,000
      Renault: £511,000
      FI: £ 483,000
      Sauber: £308,000
      Toro Rosso: £287,000
      Williams: £35,000
      Lotus/Caterham: £0
      HRT: £0
      Virgin/Marussia: £0

      I don’t think the tax rate is enough to justify not racing for every position. The points and championship positions are worth far more than £7,000/pt.

      1. W Johnson says:

        Does n’t Ferrari get a large chunk of cash for being Ferrari, not because it’s based on merit? If so, they are likley to be higher tax payer?

      2. Mr Esteban says:

        I forget the exact percentages, but of the pool of money the teams will split from FOM, Ferrari takes something like 2% right off of the top. T

        This FIA tax has to do with the points scored only, so any special deals from FOM that Ferrari (or any other team really) get wouldn’t be taxed in this structure.

    3. Steve Panter says:

      That’s a very good point Jonathan:
      “Could we end up with poorer midfield teams figuring out cost strategies and finding it might be better to drop a few points in some races if they far enough ahead in the championship of the next team, in order to save money?”

      Maybe even the front runners would throw races once it was mathematically impossible for them to win the championships.

    4. Cedgy says:

      Maybe that’s why Caterham hasn’t scored a point yet!

    5. thejudge13 says:

      It’s the problem created by one organisation charging the entry fee and another awarding the prizes and money for the regulatory institution to do its duties.

      F1 is almost unique in sport in having a commercial rights holder who is not either part of the regulatory institution or the participants.

      A rather smug Max Mosley on Sky F1 show claims his biggest regret was not enforcing cost capping. Maybe his biggest sin was selling the FIA’s birthright – the commercial rights for a pittance and on a 100 year contract for around $3m a year.

      1. Tim says:

        Yes! $3m p/a for 100yrs? In a word, grotesque.

        Tim

      2. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

        The deal was done at the time to cement the FIA’s control of the sport. A reduced fee was the price paid to secure legitimacy.

      3. Tim says:

        Lol! Talking points? The fat lady ain’t sung yet.

        Tim

      4. Rich C says:

        Can’t blame Max. The Courts forced FIA to sell the commercial rights and evidently nobody else bid more.

      5. John says:

        On the other hand it is a chicken and egg situation. Signing the 100 year deal was what gave the FIA the stability and security (not to mention the capital) to increase its position and importance to be the force it is today.

        Without this deal it is highly likely we would have had a breakaway series and seen the FIA’s F1 disappear.

    6. Colin B says:

      But surely the prize money per point must be a lot more than 7,000 Euros, otherwise there is no incentive to get a top 10 finish.

      I have always thought that prize money should have a formula where teams that score well in relation to their budget get a higher proportion of prize money than a team with the same number of points but has a much larger budget.

      E.g., a team spending 200 million a year to get 100 points would get less prize money than a team only spending 80 million, which also gets 100 points.

      1. shankar says:

        Thats a great idea to promote efficiency and i have always thought something must be done in this area.

        but how will one validate what is a teams budget definitively? It is estimated that ferrari spend so much, but they could say no no we spend far less!!!

        I hope something is figured out to promote this idea.

      2. Colin B says:

        “but how will one validate what is a teams budget definitively?”

        That is the problem, and would probably mean an idea like this would be very hard to implement. For example, should work teams that do not have to buy their engines have 8-10 million added to their budgets.

        Is there a list/story anywhere of the prize money rewarded to each team and the teams (reported/estimated) budget. I would be curious to see how much extra $$ teams need per year to stay afloat.

    7. aezy_doc says:

      the more that money moves around, the harder it is to track. just saying.

  6. Thompson says:

    They need tobacco sponsorship to come back to the sport – you could see this day coming the day they got rid of it.

    The only other option is to not change the regs on the cars for the next 3 to 5 years, but develope todays cars or new cars withing these regs.

    its pointless developing new cars every year.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Advertising laws make it useless for almost all of the tobacco companies to even bother looking at sponsorship these days.

      Given the rate of development the only way you’r going to stop teams introducing a new car every year is to ban them from doing so,but since most cars are just a dvelopment of the previous years anyway it doesnt matter. And the regs are stable, since 09 the only changes have been to ban double diffuseres, blown diffusers and f-ducts, plus the lower nose for safety reasons.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      I agree, but it will never happen.

    3. DonSimón says:

      The ban on tobacco advertising suits the tobacco companies. If your competitors spen nothing on advertising you are at no disadvantage if you spend nothing. They probably wouldn’t come back. There is a small number of companies controlling most brands. Those days are gone. As an ex-smoker I would have no problems seeing JPS on the lotus. GRO could at least claim he was looking for his smokes next time he t-bones a front runner….

  7. olivier says:

    1. Please Todt, cut the costs. I don’t want to see teams hiring pay drivers. We want to see the best drivers!!

    2. Get rid of the minimum weight of a F1 car. Instead encourage teams to develop the lightest car possible: shrinking the fuel tank, advanced research on light materials etc.

    3. And finally. Have an olympic style ceremony at the final race of the F1 with the top three drivers of the Championship on the podium: a Gold medal for Vettel, Silver for Alonso and Bronze for Kimi. This will encourage drivers to fight for Bronze or Silver.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      1) Why do people think that drivers with good backing are automatically substandard?

      2) You’ve just massively contradicted your first point, one way to guarantee spiraling costs is to tell the teams to spend loads on expensive exotic materiels researched. There was a very good reason that it was banned 12 years ago on engine development, it was rediculously expensive. Could also prove very dangerous.

      3)All the drivers are agreed, if they are in the hunt for the title, nothing less than the title matters, 2nd is just first of the losers.

      1. DonSimón says:

        +1

    2. luizpaulobmx says:

      Good idea mate. Spot on

  8. Rich C says:

    Have we, as denizens of JAonF1, applied to get *our slice of the pie??

    Is our rep there at the meeting banging on the table with a shoe?

  9. Avinash says:

    Hi James, I didnt quite understand a few things about the implementation of RRA.

    Firstly, if the concorde agreement is signed now without RRA of engines and chassis in place, will it be done so with the understanding that all participating teams must agree terms for it to be implemented as a part of the FIA governed regulations in 2014?

    And if the terms of the RRA in 2014 are not agreeable to some teams, can they leave the sport even though they have signed an 8 year participation agreement?

  10. PB says:

    Possibly a very narrow minded view, but the FIA put themselves in this position by selling the commercial rights to Ecclestone for $350 million for 100 years!! That’s only a paltry $3.5 million per year not accounting for inflation, etc.!!

    I don’t see why the teams should be asked to compensate the FIA for what can only be labelled a dumb (and quite possibly, corrupt) decision by the FIA.

    On another note, why can’t the rules for the next 10 years be laid out upfront wtih a fuel target? E.g. instead of putting restrications on the engine size, number of cylinders, amount of KERS that can be used, etc. set the amount of fuel that can be used per car per race which progressively reduces over the 10 year period. Working within the RRA let the teams choose if a massive V12 engine works best for them or a tiny little V6 with 500 KERS batteries, etc. Unleash the Adrian Newey’s of the F1 world – that’s how real innovation reelevant to the common man will come about.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Group C showed the problems in specifying fuel amounts for a race, different tracks have different levels of fuel consumption and safety cars and wet weather has a massive effect on this. The alternative is fuel flow rates, which is in the rules for the new engines.

      1. PB says:

        Valid points however of course the amount of fuel permitted per race would be track specific. As long as the fuel flow rate is defined, what’s the need to specify engine capacity, number of cylinders, etc.? Why restrict KERS in fact there should be incentive to recycle as much energy as possible. I suppose my point is why be so restrictive around areas that would result in road relevant technologies? Leave these relatively open for a longer term without making incremental changes every other season.

      2. Tim says:

        Absolutely agree.
        Scope restrictions in areas that will have effects on other areas.
        I don’t see that they need to worry about different amounts of fuel for different tracks. If they can’t make race distance on the ‘normal’ amount of fuel prescribed for every other track, they’ll just have to tone the engine back or be easier on the throttle.
        This kind of restriction is exactly how KERS should have been implemented – why restrict KERS output? That hardly encourages development of the technology.

      3. Richard Mee says:

        Always problems! PB I agree with you fully.

        I say Concorde Schmoncorde!… the whole concept of a Concorde agreement is like sickly sponge hopelessly soaked in Bernie-era manipulation brandy.
        This whole ‘negotiation’ process is epic naval-gazing bullshit frankly.

        Whilst everyone involved gets pent-up over this and that trivial detail on the RRA and income distribution in some wood-panelled Parisian chintz-palais… the worldwide viewing figures are plummeting, promoters cannot afford to promote, there are barely any younger fans anywhere, and financiers are passing the sport around between themselves like it’s a goddam hot potato.

        Let’s all wake-up and move on… hit fast-forward to the post-Bernie world and let’s do some thinking about what the hell needs to happen to save the sport.

  11. coronwen says:

    I think Marussia and HRT, and to some extent Caterham, have shown how hard it is for new teams to get up and running in F1. It’s not just the money, it’s mastering the technology when the “established” designers and engineers only want to work for the big boys.

    But Toro Rosso had a kick start from Red Bull, and although it’s questionable whether they made the most of it, at least they didn’t have to struggle for two/three/four seasons being 5 seconds off the pace and derided by many.

    So I can’t see why they don’t go along with Montezemolo (who seems to have been saying it for years and years) and let the big teams help the small teams by supplying them with a chassis that is at least competitive.

    Surely it’s win/win/win. The back of the grid is suddenly full of teams which could amaze everyone given the right circumstances, unlike now when you can predict with 90% certainty who will be 18th to 24th. The young up-coming drivers will have some proper machinery in which to prove their worth. The big boys could spread some of their development costs outside of their own couple of entries.

    Perhaps I’m naive! But it seems about as obvious to me as forced euthanasia for all politicians to ensure a better planet.

    1. Tim says:

      I like the idea of there being ‘Manufacturer’ teams – who must manufacture for others; and ‘Privateer’ teams – those who go it alone.

      It would mean we get Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Renault and Red Bull as manufacturers, and a clone run by a third party.

      I frankly don’t care if the Sauber or Toro Rosso is just a Ferrari or Red Bull chassis with different paint. I can’t see the diffuser or floor or wing end plates clearly anyway, so why does it matter as a spectator?

      1. Stephen Hughes says:

        In some past seasons I would have agreed, but this year in particular it is exciting to see what Sauber in particular have achieved with their own design, Force India are getting there and it is good to see Williams on the rebound.

        I’m split when it comes to manufacturers. It would be good to push the bottom teams forward but you would end up losing the middle ground who do a decent job but can’t quite compete with the big boys on a regular basis.

        To take the Sauber example, they are showing really well on what must be a limited budget, but if Caterham could buy a Lotus off the peg, Marussia buy a McLaren and HRT a Mercedes say then they would be fighting for points not podiums. The only logical approach for them would be to also buy a Ferrari say and save all the effort of designing a car that can’t match the big spenders.

        You’d end up with 3 or 4 manufacturers and far less innovation coming from the smaller teams. I wonder also whether having so many different makes doesn’t help push that innovation forward. Adrian Newey almost certainly doesn’t come up with every single idea himself, he will see clever things that Sauber, Caterham etc have come up with and improve them as well as having his own ideas that others copy.

        I have lost track of Indycar / CART since it stopped being easily available over here but I always got the impression that the rate of development was fairly low due to the limited number of manufacturers involved. Whether the rules affected that as well I don’t know.

        Maybe rather than bring manufacturer teams to F1 they should re-jig GP2 so that they run old F1 cars with some of the toys taken away. Allow teams who choose to get some return on their investment. You could allow teams to build their own cars there so the likes of HRT could have a few seasons building before taking the leap up to F1.

    2. thejudge13 says:

      I believe the definition of ‘customer cars’ and potential rules pertaining to them is part of the present Concorde discussions.

  12. Tim says:

    All these restrictions, sigh. It’s taking away from what F1 should be.

    Just tell them it’s a 1kg weight penalty for every $1m they spend, and that they only get 70L of fuel for a race. With just those two rules, the problem will sort itself out.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Really? In that case welcome to the world accounting championships were we see who can hide their spending best.

      1. Rich C says:

        Yep. Stand by to be inundated with “Hollywood Accounting”.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      Sounds like a recipe for a super efficient ultra high down-force 2 ton Formula 1 car. ;)

      1. Chapor says:

        Hahahaha! +1

    3. DonSimón says:

      So because you don’t like restrictions you suggest two entirely arbitrary restrictions?

      1. Tim says:

        The fuel thing isn’t entirely arbitrary. By setting a low limit, you reduce power output. This keeps speeds in check so it doesn’t become dangerous. By not specifying the engine used, if they think they can get the best from a 1.6L Turbo, or a 3.0L, or a 10L engine, they have the freedom to do that. Ultimately they have to balance that in fuel usage. It also encourages environmentally friendly, industry-relevant development.

  13. AlexK says:

    I would like to see the engine rules relaxed a bit so that teams can fully explore the potential of KERS and other such systems. In this area F1 can lead the drive for improved engines for the automotive world, which may encourage other OEM’s to build F1 engines. There seems too much focus on aero because right now that is really the only area that teams can improve make gains.

  14. Stephen Hughes says:

    James, Any idea why HRT and Marussia haven’t had an offer so far? Seems a bit unfair to them at the point where they should be well on with designing their next car that they don’t even know if they are in the championship and on what terms…

    I could understand if terms hadn’t been agreed but the wording suggests they haven’t even had an option yet.

    1. Stephen Hughes says:

      Oh, and why have they been singled out when, Caterham say, has seemingly had an offer?

  15. Ciao says:

    Zero exhaust of all blowing. Out the back past the aero in the pipe.

    Get rid of active engine management. Look but don’t touch will take out two dozen engineers.

  16. Just A View says:

    Isn’t teams paying FIA just like Lance Armstrong giving money to UCI which is now seen as a conflict of interest?

    1. Nathhulal says:

      After all only since F1 is free of is “conflict of interest”. A theme which will be wholeheartedly agreed by Flavio, Martin Brundle, Eric Bouiller and pretty much everybody in F1 paddock :-)

  17. DonSimón says:

    It’s a mess, but its our mess. I have enjoyed the last few seasons greatly. I miss refuelling and all that, but we’ve got a reasonably stable grid and if teams like Sauber can surprise us and Williams can get a win it isn’t so bad. You could always watch DVDs of the 80s if you don’t like it? Agreed, Bernie has overstayed his welcome, but lets hope these guys can bodge an agreement together.

    Great piece James.

  18. F12012 says:

    FIA did a bad deal with bernie for 100 years, now they want more, so have to charge the teams, its an absolute joke, is this so the FIA can have new offices?

    Interesting to see if any teams back this, Todt must have someone on his side

  19. Bayan says:

    Off topic here James. Is Mecca really considering Honda as their engine supplier? Have you heard anything? Read something on another site.

    1. James Allen says:

      That rumour has been floating about for a while, timing is a bit suspicious with talks going on in Zoaris at the moment

      Last time I asked Japanese sources said no way

      1. James Clayton says:

        James

        Cosworth are up for sale. McLaren did once speak of looking into manufacturing their own engines. Any chance at all that McLaren might consider purchasing Cosworth and going that route?

  20. Dave says:

    I often see people going on about letting the teams run the show, That is a bad, bad, bad idea.

    Look at what happened with CART in America, The teams ran it into the ground. People go on about the CART/IRL split killing CART but in reality the cracks were forming way before Tony George went anywhere near Indycar.

    Then even after the CART/IRL split began CART did itself no harm by constant bickering & it was an inibility to show unity which allowed CART to go backrupt.

    Also look at Indycar today, You have it in the best shape its been since 1995 & the teams keep fighting both the owners & amongst themselfs & its the teams which are now threatening that series once again by refusing to allow the aero-kits which fans & the series want to incorporate.

    Coming back to F1, look at FOTA. They coudn’t even agree on a young driver test venue so how do you expect them to agree on anything when it comes to running the show?

    Put the teams in charge of F1 & F1 would be in a big mess within 5 years, I guarantee it.

    The 2 racing series worldwide that have remained strong are the 2 run in a more dictatorial way with no team input, F1 & Nascar.
    You have to ask yourself why the series run by teams or run with a lot of team input tend to go wrong?

  21. chris green says:

    mosley should never have been allowed to sign away the fia’s f1 rights for a century. the commercial rights holders tenure should probably match the concorde agreements duration – be it 8 years or whatever.

    the fia now finds itself short of cash and is now trying to claw back money from the teams when really it is the deal signed with ecclestone that is the elephant in the room.

    the preferential deals that ferrari gets are probably illegal under EU competition rules.
    if i was another team owner i would be talking to my lawyers. Nascar is a good example of how all the teams have access to revenue streams that allow them to compete properly. why are we denied a full field of competitive cars?

    some of the races don’t do f1 any favours – valencia, abu dhabi and hungary. poor layouts, with poor racing or no atmosphere. they’re just money deals. f1 has to have a french gp.
    the core of f1, the fans, are often ripped off on ticket prices and sub par facilities because bernie’s deals leave nothing on the table for the circuits.

    a lot of these problems are ecclestone’s doing. the guy has to go. he’s too old school.
    we now live in another paradigm and bernie just doesn’t get it.

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