F1 Winter Break
Manufacturer breakaway threat grows
Manufacturer breakaway threat grows
Posted By:   |  12 Jun 2009   |  6:45 pm GMT  |  68 comments

It’s been an intense day of statements and announcements. In all cases reading between the lines has been necessary.

After the FIA’s announcement of the entries for 2010 this morning came Ferrari’s swift, calm but strong reaction, then FOTA’s threat to issue a dossier listing all the things that are wrong with the way F1 is run. FOTA sources refuse to say on what day this dossier will be issued.

The day ended with the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) suggesting, again between the lines, that not only would it apply pressure on the FIA to look at the conduct of its president in the way he conducts the FIA’s regulatory business, but also suggested that if it did not get satisfaction that it would pursue the idea of a breakaway.

“Today, the members of the Board of the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association discussed the current situation prevailing in Formula 1, and have concluded that the current governance system cannot continue.

“ACEA has come to the conclusion that the FIA needs a modernised and transparent governance system and processes, including the revision of its constitution, to ensure the voice of its members, worldwide motorsport competitors and motorists are properly reflected.

“The ACEA members support the activities and objectives of the Formula One Teams’ Association to establish stable governance, clear and transparent rules which are common to all competitors to achieve cost reductions including a proper attribution of revenues to the F1 teams, in order to deliver a sustainable attractive sport for the worldwide public.

“Unless these objectives are met, the BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Toyota along with the other teams are determined to find an alternative way to practice this sport in a manner which provides clarity, certainty of rules and administration, and a fair allocation of revenues to the competing teams. ”

This last line is the crucial one – that can be said of a lot of today’s statements, the mots interesting stuff is buried at the end (the opposite of the way a new story should be written!)

FIA sources are suggesting that the two sides actually aren’t as far apart as the picture given by all these statements suggests and that it is a couple of hardliners within the manufacturers’ group who are making the noise.

Ferrari are the crown jewels in this tug of war and they continue to align themselves with the other manufacturers. The FIA believe they have them under contract, Ferrari insist they are not.

The ACEA statement moves the story on quite a bit. Tomorrow at Le Mans, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo will hold a press conference.

He has some lines prepared, I understand.

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I love F1, have done for years, but now i am getting totally fed up with it, i watch F1 as it is suppoosed to be the pinnacle of motor racing NOT A DUMBED down series, I watch F1 to see the manufacturers battling it out with their intrpretations of the SAME rules, brining ever better technological advances to the fore, the strategy they choose in pit stops and the fuel levels, now i am expected to watch a series that has no fuel stops, no technical innovation and by the looks of it no manufacturers. NO THANK YOU!


The ACEA statement spells it out clearly what is wrong with FIA s governance and also puts F1 racing into a wider context as part of the European automotive industri and which can no longer be tinkered with by individuals with their own agendas.
Additionally FOTA are prepared to make further revelations about what is wrong about FIA s governance and how it destroys F1. Are we about to se the cap finally be opened up fully to let all the worms out?


At last! It has been a very long time coming but now we see it. Max and Bernie are begining to be brought to account for the eccentric way that they have been running F1.

It is hard to see how ACEA could have spoken more strongly without using the phase "bringing the sport into disrepute".

Viewed as an enthusiast it has appeared for some time that the level of control held by the pair has begun to work against the best interests of our sport. It could not have been phrased better than the ACEA press release.

I could not be happier if this new development resulted in a complete overhaul of the management of F1 before any more damage is done.

The Flying Finn

Does anyone believe that Ferrari can look at Toyota, Renault, et al in the eye and feel confident that they will commit to staying in the new series for the foreseeable future, let alone funding it to start. The manufacturers believe that Bernie is pocketing a disproportionate amount of the revenues and without that, they could turn this into a profitable exercise. Let say that was the case, I think that it would be a difficult proposition to raise to their boards, (which is probably preoccupied with bigger problems to their core business at the moment), to justify an enormous initial outlay with risky and uncertain returns. Besides, would RBR/Brawn be able to commit ? The Brawn's paint job is still pretty white at the moment, and if they contribute less for a smaller share of the return, they are relegated to second class citizens in the new series, which might be a worse proposition than staying? No matter how you view Max ruling F1 in a dictatorial manner, one has to say that he has the foresight to keep the sport sustainable, and has planned, timed and excuted this to perfection. Pure genius.


It does seem to me that the FOTA press release is paving the way ahead of announcing a breakaway series (possibly at Silverstone maybe?). This is a very sad turn of events - the sport will be torn apart by egos who think they are bigger than the sport - and I blame the manufactures for this just as much as Bernie and Max.


How reliable a source is the ACEA? I mean, all the manufacturers in FOTA are in it? ACEA have a vested interest in protecting its own members surely.


All the teams are now seeing the true costs of some bad decisions made years ago. Bernie was a God send to the F1 teams at first. Where before F1 was pretty questionable when it came to financial rewards, Bernie was able to turn F1 into a financial powerhouse. Sure his power has gotten out of control but that is the fault of Ferrari and the rest of the teams that allowed Bernie to take ownership of F1 with a 100 year contract. Obviously the teams agreed to that because they never really wanted to have the responsibilities of running the sport. It was far easier to let someone else do it for them. Instead of taking ownership of F1 and hiring Bernie as an employee (Commissioner) with short term contracts and the ability to fire him or anybody else that took the position, they instead became the employees and limited their own revenue and influence. Teams come and go just like almost every other sport but there are also mainstays that keep the sport viable. I'm not a big fan of Ferrari but they are what they are, warranted or not. The fans will follow the manufacturers.

The FIA has been screwing up more than F1 for years now. WRC, WTCC, GT, MOTOGP, ect... Major overhaul is needed.

Lets hope that if their is a new series that the manufactures have learned from past mistakes.


Kabooom and the big guns are brought in and we suddenly see Max & Bernie as small fry in the grander scheme of things.

I wonder if they sleep well tonight after this Bombshell ?


A chain will always break at the weakest link.

So far that link looked to be somewhere within FOTA, but now there is considerable stress being applied to the FIA link (ie Max). Whether it remains there, remains to be seen but one thing is for sure, sooner rather than later, something or someone's gonna' cave.


All I hope is FOTA stick together all it will take is one of these teams to walk and it's all over there is power in numbers.
Surely the tv,sponsors,track owners must be going absolutely crazy the money they have invested is huge yet the whole lot could go up in smoke at what point do they step in or has bernie gagged them as well.
By the way who else is on the FIA or is it just mosley anyone know?


The trouble is I remember F1 without Mercedes (until 94),Toyota (until 2001), Without BMW (87 to 2000). Even without Renault (87/88 and 98 to 2000).

So if they all want to go off again. Fine. They are not going to spend the money setting up their own series when they are all making multiple billion dollar losses.

And what of other manufacturers that have stayed away from F1 because it was prohibitively expensive (e.g. VW)? Give it a few years and the new GM or Ford will have marketing budgets particularly if USF1 shows progress.


I can understand the team's demand for stability in terms of rules. But it does seem the real demand here is money. To me it seems Max is really nothing but a barrier to the real decision maker, that is Bernie.

Bernie is the one who will decide on the money right, so Max's position has just been about rules and regulations and entry to next season.

This public feud is just to make Bernie give in to the team's demands, or at least placate them? The teams that want to leave will do so, while the others will be given a fair deal.

Is it me or is all the threats and possibility of Ferrari + the others leaving, just smoke and mirrors.


f1 is dead or Max is dead. That is where this is heading. Max has pushed the wrong button this time and unless the teams get what they want, next years world championship will be a pathetic one engine championship, which will rival gp2, technology will be as old as the hills, and the real reason we follow and love f1 has gone. There will be no innovation, there will be no attraction nothing. F1 is a name and popular, but f1 is nothing without FOTA. F1 has been promoted by the teams and teams only, now to be shafted the way they have, is wrong. Campos, Prodrive, USf1 will all fail without these teams, Max knows it, bernie knows it and CVC knows it.

F1 is and has always been show business, the money in the sport is from direct investment of the teams which also attract the money not only to the f1 brand, but to the tracks, merchandise, fans etc etc. Now without the likes of the FOTA memeber and drivers how do you expect f1 to survive. I cannot see how both Bernie and CVC will allow the teams to walk away. There needs to be a nice carrot for them to stay. The FIA can argue they can make the rules and they are encouraged by these new teams, but what is going to keep these new teams in the sport, when tv revenue disappears, viewers leave, sponsorships disappear, these teams have nothing. This is the FIA's fault.

I cannot understand when you have 8 of the current 10 teams in f1 saying these rules suck, we want these rules, and yet for the sake of 3 new teams, they persist with the stupid rules.

This has frustrated me and i hope F1 dies, max disappears and a new championship is formed.

James do you know if any of the tv networks have called bernie or the contracted tracks called bernie regarding this. Shorley he would be in breach of several contract if these teams are no competing next year.


Idea for MAX

Since he is so concerned about small and individual team, who can survive only if he impose a cap of 40 million

i just that he selects 11 teams from the 15 fresh application he has got and also he has williams and force india. he can run the whole championship with new teams

Let FOTA start there break away series . and race where ever they want.

Well to be frank, i see F1 for the technological and the other advance things they do. i am not interested in a bunch of cars goings around a track every two weeks

MAX get a life dude, u totally look gay along with frank and vijay


I am a relative novice to F1 and follow other sports. However, despite the increased interest generated by a supposed no-hoper in Brawn leading the field this year, the whole season will always carry a huge asterix as the year "in which the rules were unclear". No other sport seems to suffer from such an apparent conflict of interest and the damage being done is absolutely terrible. Dedicated fans are being pushed away, so god only knows what the effect is on newcomers or potential newcomers to the sport. I was seriously interested in F1 as a child, switched off during the Schumi years and then returned recently. I watched the 07 and 08 seasons and waited with great excitement for each and every race. This season, I fell asleep after the first round of pit stops at Monaco and Turkey and the politics are driving me further away. It's getting worse... how can the people in charge not see that.

Yes, costs need to be cut... but if the people who really make F1 what it is, e.g. Ferrari, Mclaren, et al, don't feel that way... why is this being forced upon them. Why not focus cost cutting on the fan experience. If the price was comparable to watching a football match for example, demand from the average Joe would be significantly higher than it is now and there wouldn't be stories of flagging attendances accompanying each race.

Max and Bernie have a very simple job to do... look after the elements that make the sport what it is - the manufacturers and the fans. After that, the rest will fall into place.


Completely agree with Alex on this. It would definitely be a shame to lose Ferrari. Wouldn't bother me in the slightest to see the others go. F1 was better on almost every level before it became dominated by the manufacturers.

And as an American fan, I find it frankly stupefying that people believe a rival series will work. It was a disaster when CART and the IRL split; the best teams went to one series, the best venues went to the other. I see no reason to believe the same won't happen here. Ferrari would beat up the other FOTA teams on a small number of ex-F1 tracks, while the smaller teams fight it out at Monza, Spa, Suzuka, and the other top tracks.

Bottom line, I can't imagine McLaren, Brawn and Red Bull would actually jump out of F1 at this stage. McLaren and Brawn would quickly cease to exist, and I suspect they know this.


I think the ACEA entering into the fray is the best thing that's happened since Brawn showed their stuff this passed winter.
There're alot of people in F1 that have hugely contributed to the sport over the last fifty years. Some are still in it, some have left us, and some just quit for one reason or another.
As far as people who have contributed to the sport, they are legion. Max Mosley is not among them in my opinion. Constantly changing the regulations, number of cylanders, displacement, Rpm limits, etc. have cost untold fortunes, and the manufacturers are the ones who bore the costs.
Then there are the tires. Oh, bitch'n. Grooves. Better yet let's make'em run two different tires in the race. Contrived excitement. Better still let's make'em run two way different tires, that'll add even more excitement. Contrived even moreso.
Don't let'em do anything that might be useful in everyday cars, like better mileage, active susension, enviormentally friendlier fuels, computer assisted braking.
I realize that some of these things detract from the skill requirements of the drivers, but with the drivers we now have in the sport and the ones waiting in the wings, we'll still be able to watch the best the world has to offer, no matter what the manufactureres come up with.
I think the manufacturers are the future of the sport, and hope VW, Porsche, Peugot, and Ford and GM will eventually enter, or support existing teams wholeheartedly.
This is a sport that has the highest technology on 4 wheels, and unless it has a direct payoff to the public, it's really of little real use.
Bernie has done alot for the sport, but he should never have been allowed to own the name, or the series for ten years, let alone 100. It's time that he started his retirement. Let CVC try to come up with a way to save their bacon, without ruining the sport.
Personally I would prefer that the teams setup a new series and as far as I concerned they can call it 'ZIPPY CARS AND ZIPPY DRIVERS With Real Bright Colored Outfits and Real Cool Shades and Watches' if they want. I'm interested in the racing. I'm sick of Mosley and Eccelstone plundering the sport and selling it to the highest bidder regardless of what the fans want, not to mention what they can afford.
This appears to bethe brink, and I would like to see the continuance of Formula 1 under any name, but run bythe teams collectively, through their own organization along with their supporting backers. I don't care who wins as long as the playing fiels is level, and everyone is giving it thier own best shot.


Hi James,
Surely the Indycar split in America demonstrates to anyone who bothers to take note that a split would do untold damage to the sport. Fans are not interested who wins the battle of the egos between FOTA and the FIA.

As a fan I want to see the best teams and the best drivers racing each other in one series. I want to know that Jenson Button won the world champsionship because he beat Raikkonen, Alonso, Vettel, Massa, Hamilton, Webber etc. It would be a shame to think well he won the FOTA world series, but so and so won the F1 World Championship, so maybe he was the best, but then again...

The CART world series was a really strong, competitive series prior to the split. After 10 years, NASCAR had established itself as the premier form of racing, and you bascially had a unification out of necessity as both series had lost a lot of fans, and were close to going broke.

So my message to the powers that be is this: Without the fans you wouldn't be circling the world in your private jets, or mooring your yatch in Monte Carlo. So give the fans what we want. We don't care about your egos, we care about racing. You are all custodians of the sport, you don't own it, so do the right thing, put your egos aside and sort it out. There'll be no winners in a split.



the big question I would like to ask you if there is a breakaway series which champion will appear on the front cover of Autocourse at the end of the year? Will it be the F1 World Champion or the FOTA champion?
Personally I think too many people are putting too much faith in the manufacturers. It only takes a new cheif exec to be appointed who is not that keen on F1 for a manufacturer to pull out. The manufacturers surely have bigger concerns than F1 right now.
If there is a breakaway series how long will it be before Ferrari start complaining if they are not winning. It would appear that their strategy in F1 is to win at all costs regardless of sporting fair play. The revelation about their extra money and veto rights and the unusual steward decisions from last year cannot be ignored. Nor can Nigel Stepney's comments concerning traction control use at the start of this century. And in a dossier from FOTA about what's wrong with the sport will reference be made of Benetton's illegal use of traction control in the mid - 90s. These are all inconvenient truths that are rarely discussed because of the damage it would cause to the sport.
Finally many people want full technical freedom.
Does anyone remember the 1992 World Championship when Nigel Mansell won in a Williams in what was probably the most technically advanced car ever (active suspension, traction control, etc)? Providing his car never broke down he would win. Tighter regulations more often than not leads to better racing because no single car has a significant advantage. At the end of the day most people are interested in drivers rather than cars.


On paper a breakaway manufacturer's championship may be a good thing. In a previous post James has intimated that there could be 8 teams with 3 cars each making it a creditable grid of 24 cars. That's for next season. However, could a situation like the DTM emerge whereby eventually we are wittled down to a grid of just 16 cars or so with the only manufacturers present being Ferrari and Mercedes? Ferrari's number 1 driver would be Alonso and Mercedes would be Hamilton. All other drivers would have to race around their needs. Life would also be made easier for Alonso and Hamilton because over half their teammates are in one year old or two year old cars. The cars would be technologically very advanced but the races in effect would be demonstration runs. This would not be a championship for independents.
Everyone states how good Moto GP is at present but lets not forget that grid sizes in this series are even smaller than F1.
Hopefully commonsense will prevail over the next week and there will be just one world championship with some manufacturers and plenty of new teams to make up a grid of 26 cars. The consequences of two world championships do not bear thinking about....


What amazes me is that throughout this whole FOTA-FIA-FOM CVC have yet to be seriously mentioned. It is suprising that FOTA haven't made more of CVC draining so much cash out of the sport, which is causing so many of the problems the sport is currently experiencing. At the end of the day Bernie is pretty harmless, he's only trying to make as much for his employer as he can.


James, have you an opinion on whether you'd like to see budget caps vs cost-reduced F1?


Does the irony not dawn on Max that his budget cap plans seem to be having exactly the effect that he said not having a budget cap would have - ie teams leaving F1?

Right at the start he said costs are unsustainable and if they aren't brough down teams would leave. Probably true, but due to the way he has chose to bring down costs today many more teams are closer than ever to leaving than they would have been had he done nothing!

I really hope someone backs down soon, or a compromise postion is found as it's starting to look very bad.


Max has been telling all who would listen (and those who don't want to!) that the Manufacturer CEO's would force their sporting teams to accept the FIA cuts/measures and that some were privately giving him their support & yet here we are all of those very European CEO's have issued a statement against him!


'Ferrari’s swift, calm but strong reaction'
'Ferrari are the crown jewels in this tug of war'...
I take it you're throwing your hat in with Ferrari!
Maybe, I'm missing something but I just think Ferrari are screwing up F1.
Without the caps F1 will lose a team or two a year until it dies.
Ferrari think they 'own' F1 - they don't.
If Ferrari think they can run a successful series - and if the other teams think they can be trusted to run a series - get on with it.
Meanwhile, James, how about splitting the RSS in to two - one for people who like motor racing and another for people more interested in posturing and lawyers...


Wjilst I sympatise with the teams that sympathy will dry up if they wreck the sport I love. Williams are an F1 team, no matter what happens they are commited to the sport and the fans, I think the other teams need to take a leaf out of their book and consider how much damage could be done to the greatest show on earth. I believe that neither a breakaway series nor a continution of F1 minus the legendary teams will be worth watching. It's a pitty I don't like MotoGP that much haha.


There's an old saying which goes "always follow the money" and in this debacle it is the teams that invest, spend and generate all of it. I believe that the FIA need them much more than they need the FIA and I'm sure that Bernie (who fully understands the "follow" principal) will set up races and TV rights for whoever pays him.

My personal view is that these protracted arguments and even the formation of a breakaway series will prove to have been entirely worth the pain IF they bring about the downfall of the derisible Mosely regime.


I believe I'm quite unpopular in this belief, but surely all of this just demonstrates that Max was right? He's been commenting for some years that the road car manufacturers' interests and those of F1 did not coincide; that they could come and go as they chose (and had done so in the past).

It is a basic mistake to believe that road car manufacture has anything very much in common with F1 racing any longer. You might as well have a fighter jet manufacturer competing in F1 - the technology transfer would be more valid. For the manufacturers, it is purely a marketing tool - the old "win on Sunday, sell on Monday" mantra.

But the road car manufacturers - like much of the global economy - are in deep doo-doo right now. Of course they'd like a larger share of the revenues (in return for no risk, of course), because it turns F1 into cheap marketing for them. But why is that in the interests of the sport? How does that ensure a healthy pool of proper racing teams to keep competing beyond the end of the current marketing budget? Frankly, how does that help Williams and their ilk?

As I say, I believe Max - in this one instance, at least - has been right. F1 needs to find a path which allows it to exist with or without the road car manufacturers' involvement. In the current economic climate, this must be by limiting costs, whilst at the same time increasing technological freedom to encourage experimentation and progress.

Perhaps, like Blair or Brown, Mosley is the wrong person to deliver such change (or at least the wrong person to try to build consensus), but - just as with the issue of constitutional change in the UK - the arguments in favour of radical change are, I believe, compelling and irrefutable.

The bottom line? F1 needs to shrink its budgets, remove the road car manufacturers from positions of influence, and re-kindle the flame of genuine technological development (as opposed to the false aero war). Then it will survive.

Sadly, it may take a breakaway series to show that the current F1 path is the right one 🙁


You are so right TOM . At no time in any of the discussion's by FIA has there ever been the line "we are doing this for the fans."or "this is what the fans asked for"

Dennis Dithmar

Well now it must be clear that this is a direct fight against Max Mosley and his methodes in the FIA. FOTA has appealed directly to the senate and the WMSC to stop Max and his methodes. ACEA has made it clear what fight is about to be fought.

Hence that it is now important for us fans to show where we stand. If you are a supporter of FOTA and initatives to stop Max Mosley, please show your support here:

"Support FOTA against Mosley" on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=111356691400&ref=nf

Sign the petition "We support FOTA" - http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/wesupportfota/

This is very important, as the fans are the true base of this sport. We need to show where we stand.


I love F1, have done for 20 years, but...

THIS IS SO ******* DULL!

(not your writing James, that's brilliant. I mean the whole bloody mess)


Absolutely loving the manufactures approach, any breakaway series would have 3 ready made races in Monaco, Montreal and Silverstone. Totally had enough with the Stalinesque rule that the teams have endured over the years, the powers that be have run F1 to suit their own interests for far too long. Now Ferrari and the others are showing them who's box office.


If FOTA form a new series then they will probably form a company to handle the tv and circuit rights, let call it FOTA Ltd. Then that company will need some capitalisation in order to exist, run itself, have an office, telephone, pay staff, accountants etc.

The company would give itself rights to the proceeds from the series fro a time period..... Sounding familiar yet??

It's no good expecting a new series to be formed as a hobby by teams having a bit of a meeting in a bar now and then. It has to have a legal and solid basis, with some very strict rules about the future ownership of the rights and who writes the rules for the sport.
Now if you follow this to it's obvious conclusion you end up with a company handling the rights, promotion etc and a committee or board making the rules. But you don't want the possibility of the control of either of those being passed to an outside the group (FOTA Group LTd) so a communal golden share must be written in from the start, with no possibility of it ever being changed.

Once you look into it, the path to end up as we are now, with an insider (team principle handling the promotion and rights) becoming an outsider and then owning all the rights by means of various company manipulations and an outrageous give away for 100 years. We (they) would have to be careful not to go down the same logical path as before, it would be all to easy.


I agree that there will be a more even distribution of revenues. However, some teams will still have more sponsors and therefore bigger budgets and will perform better gnerally speaking.
One way around this problem could be to do what the DTM did many, many years ago. A group of five or six sponsors supported the championship and appeared on every car.


Silas: "Instead they allow new technology to be tried – quickly and quite cheaply – to see what works."

And could you cite some examples of 'cheap' new technology, please? I think you are talking through your hat, sir.


Yes, you are right, CVC is the root problem of all this mess, not Max


Yes the days of visiting Chrysler at the Merc building in Milton Keynes were short lived, but considerably up market from the previously shared Daihatsu office block at Dover. (Hi Jeff!) (Originally the offices of BMW concessionaires ~ I told you I was old)


I like the historical reference there Rob. Thing is, if Max+Bernie are your Neville Chamberlain, who's your Winston Churchill waiting in the wings? di Montezemolo is leading the attack, but I'm not sure I like the idea of a breakaway led by Ferrari - how much of what is wrong with F1 right now can be fairly laid at their door?


Difference is if a FOTA series start all the revenue will be given to the teams. All the teams will more then likely own an interest in the sport. You need to remember one thing if the revenue in the sport is distrubuted evenly, (all the teams bernie and CVC get an equal share as it should) there would be no financial issue. No need for a silly budget cap.


It became a manufactures series when every single car on the grid is supported by a manufacture. Whether a manufacture team like ferrari or somebody like williams which runs a Toyota Engine, Gearbox, electronics etc etc Formula 1 and the money all the suits and bernie earns is from the famous brands in the sport. TV revenue that the puppets earn is from the popularity of the sport which has multiplied 20 fold since the late 90's. Git rid of the show, FOTA, the people who invest millions each year, and F1 revenue collapses overnight. I read an article that BBC paid double what ITV were prepare to offer for tv rights. Would that have been the case if FOTA was not racing dont think so.


Howard Hughes,

Whilst I agree with you to some extent, the other half of me has to disagree with you. F1 should not be about the off circuit bickering and attempts at negotiating rules and regulations. When the teams and drivers arrive at a Grand Prix weekend, they should not have to worry about the future of the sport and the rules and regulations that may or may not affect them in the next year; they are there to race. Although i have found watching Jenson cruise around every fortnight to be quite boring too, I firmly believe that he is winning at a time when the rules of the sport a fair; which they may not be next year. Personally, I hope that the FIA comes to the party and negotiates with the FOTA teams because I could not imagine an F1 championship next year without Ferrari or McLaren or any of the other major manufacturers. PS I am a drunk Aussie just checking your site after getting back from the pub, but I really feel quite strongly about this situation! I am a huge fan of your blog James.


Thing is, I actually love the bickering. In terms of political civil wars I've zero interest in watching Gordon Brown emit his death squeals as numerous other MPs line up to stick the knife in, but this - this is genuinely fascinating. Seriously - F1 has always been about way more than the 2 hours of racing every second Sunday - we're actually witnessing a bit of history here, and we're watching some of the sharpest minds in world sport try everything to gain an advantage on their bitter rivals. It's better than any courtroom drama!

So I'm getting as much, if not actually slightly more, interest and fun from every new headline and press release than from seeing Jenson cruising around every fortnight...


Hi James,

I've heard that there is a Grand Prix at Silverstone next week, any truth to this story? I see the BBC have the same story. Not only that, there are people calling it F1, complete with new developments on the cars, driver press confrences and so on. Let me know if the rumours are true, I might get a ticket!



Just looking at the manufactures list, FIAT also owns Chrysler now, after the restructuring because they were going bust, If that is the case, would it be fair to say they would have some control of Mercedes.


what if that one series is broken. F1 currently is broken and either needs to be cleared of figured like Max and Bernie and restructured like ACEA is suggesting....if that is not possible, we dump it and start a new one.

Let this be clear,any patchwork compromise short of new governance, proper revenue sharing will bring us back to this same position again in a few more months. F1 has a cancer eating it away, Max and Bernie... we either get rid of those, or start all over again.

I say this as a fan tired of the bickering.

If the current teams breakaway, and you have F1 with FI, Williams n new teams... it wont be nothing like CART/IRL. It will be more like the champions league/ uefa cup. All the best drivers, star power, money, expertise, technology and so on is with FOTA. It will clearly become the premier class in racing no doubt.

So we either get a clear proper fix of F1, or we get a breakaway.

The real failure will be if we get some patchwork compromise and it stays the same. F1 will continue in its path of a slow death.


As far as I know, Daimler and Chrysler divorced


I know. I went to a political fight recently and a Grand Prix broke out. There will be plenty of racing content here on JA on F1.


You are totally right, i think if a breakaway series is open, most f1 fans will switch, at the end who wants to see a bunch of underfunded teams running with 3 or 4 years old engines.

Maybe this new teams have a lot of bright people and fres ideas, but with limited budget and whatever new regulations tha FIA brings in the future, F1 will be as boring as ever.


I agree with you, phil c.

At some point, and I think we're there, or very close, Bernie will have to turn on Max. There has to be an awful lot of pressure on Bernie coming from all parties involved beside the teams. I think his recent threat to go after anybody who approaches his circuits and TV deals, and other contracted parties, shows that he is feeling the heat.

The fact that Mosley decided to extend the registration deadline shows that his usual intransigence has been blunted. Some have said he would simply publish the 2010 entry list with the FOTA teams replaced by the new GP3 teams. These people were proven wrong but in the past they would probably have been right.


Of course the ACEA will protect its members, but what is significant is that an influential body is taking a public stand that will shine some of light on the little Max and Bernie clique.

In past disputes no one outside F1 really paid any attention to the governance of the sport. The general attitude was to let interested parties sort out their differences, it just wasn't anybody else's business. But when an association like ACEA takes such a public stand the debate moves from the shady back room deals to a more public scrutiny. It will then become more difficult for Mosley and Ecclestone to justify their actions. Sometimes it just takes one to take a stand to trigger others to raise their voices in support. Maybe some circuit promoters will now take a chance and voice their opinions about the exorbitant sanctioning fees they are charged.

Questions will be asked such as why Ecclestone takes so much money out of the sport. CVC will be asked what it does for the sport. And of course, Mosley's lifestyle will be brought up which is really not to his advantage...

ACEA may just be the tipping point that will bring to an end the Mosley Ecclestone era to an end, just like they brought Jean-Marie Balestre's reign to an end. Or maybe I’m just a cockeyed optimist;-)


The cynic in me feels that Ghosen is just using the ACEA as a pawn. I can't imagine why the other 12 members, who are not involved in F1, would care about this current saga.


That's where the real cost-cutting is required - in the ever increasing amounts gouged from the viewing public by Bernie/CVC.
Building-in an annually compounding 10% irise in the amount charged to promoters for "hosting rights" for each race is nothing short of outrageous. That money has to be recouped from somewhere, whether it be ticket prices or increased taxes where governments pick up the tab, it's the public who pays to line Bernie's pockets irrespective of the financial circumstances of the time. If the teams want to spend untold squillions running their cars they have their shareholders to answer to, but who holds Bernie to account and why haven't we heard a peep from the FIA/Max about this side of the financial equation?


This is nothing new to f1, teams have always been caught out by regulation changes, and out done by others thinking outside the box. Think of the fan car, ground effect cars, active suspension cars, and of course that 6 wheeler car. Going back further the single monocoque, space frames, aerodynamics and mid engines.

Basically if you want a hi tech sport with lots of innovation you are going to et issues like the double diffuser, its inherent.


I agree. Since when has F1 been a "manufacturers series" anyway? We were racy enough without them.

The Flying Finn

And I believe that cosworth will presumably turning a profit on the engine supplies next year which will not be lost on the existing, and perhaps other manufacturers not currently involved. That alone, and the success of brawn/mb, should cause them to think whether that's a good way to go, or plunk down even more millions for even less is.


Fully agreed with that. There is clearly wrong-headedness on all sides, Mosley, Ecclestone, and Montezemolo, but Ferrari is clearly determined to destroy F1 because it couldn't get it's own way for once. And Ferrari must always, always, get it's own way. Ultimately that is what this is all about.

The stage is now set for the division of the sport as happened in America. That will be an unmitigated disaster and everyone knows it will.

If there was a will to compromise by the FOTA cheerleaders this could be sorted out, but there isn't. Just shows what are the consequences of spoiling a brat.

Looks like Prodrive will get a look in after all.


I agree i will be glad to see all the big manufactures go, as i dont really see them adding anything a privateer team like Williams can apart from all the silly politics people are complaining about.

Having said that it would be a shame if Ferrari went as if they do how would I enjoy seeing them fail dismally in the future again? 8)



The budget-cap rules allow a LOT of innovation - far more than at present, in fact. They take away a lot of the incentive to spend tens of millions in the wind tunnel, trying to eke out an extra 0.001% from an overly-regulated package. Instead they allow new technology to be tried - quickly and quite cheaply - to see what works.

So, no, this is not "dumbed down" F1 being proposed; it is F1 brought back from a stupid arms race amongst a few teams. F1 right now adds almost nothing to the technological gene pool; the new rules will allow that to happen once again.

F1 has - for most of its history - not being about road car manufacturers; it has been about specialist racing manufacturers, which is not the same thing. I want to see that continue and flourish; if that means the road car companies go elsewhere, so be it - they're not what the sport is about in any case.


I have to disagree with you a little here. MotoGP over the past couple of years has gone downhill with the rule changes brought in by Dorna.

To many electronics/rider aids (sounds familiar) meaning teams are much more hypersensitive to giving away their secrets and currently without an Act of God or something there is very little hope of a Privateer/Satellite team winning a race or even competing anywhere near competitively . Meaning only the Works teams of Yamaha/Ducati and, at the moment, an outside chance Honda are capable of winning a race.
It wasn't long ago when the likes of Barros/Gibernau/Melandri were hustling for wins on non-works bikes unfortunately this is no longer

This is backed up by the MotoGP God himself here:



"MAX get a life dude, u totally look gay along with frank and vijay"

Ah yes, how one adores the spirited cut and thrust, block and parry of rigorous intellectual debate!


Max & Bernie are the "perfect example" of the old adim,
" Power corrupts, Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely. "
Not only in their business life, but in their private life as well.
I would like to say to them, " In the interests for the future of F1, for Gods sake GO".


Yes but look at Frank Williams' comments about engines in my post from earlier in the week


Thanks Tom. It will be interesting to see what FOTA has to say on this subject, as part of this dossier they plan to publish next week is focussed on the fans and their fatigue with all this 'bickering'


Motor Racing is business, it is show business, any racing series with the best teams and drivers will surely be a hit and therefore profitable. A breakaway series would be better for teams such as brawn as they would get the revenue they deserve from tv. Right now too much money goes to bernie, which is one of the reasons why this sport is in trouble.


See whilst it will be a difficult task, i think between all the FOTA memebers, the current sponsors, the mass exodus of revenue from f1 moving to FOTA i dont think it will be difficult to attain a revenue stream. A strong promotor, for example somebody like Mr Moto GP, Flavio Briatorie would have no issue setting up a series.

It not that difficult when you have the 5 biggest manufactures in the world, uniting to setup a series. People will leave f1 in droves because what we have become to love about the sport, will be in another series. You will be able to sponsor another series which in essence is the same without the over inflated price. The issue in f1 has always been funding, and these new rules. Max this time has stuffed it and both Bernie and CVC will be knocking on his door.


Dorna has demonstrated that a series can be successful without FIM involvement and, if I'm not mistaken, have just as many manufacturers as F1.

I just don't think creating a new series is impossible. We keep hearing about the IRL/CART fiasco but that's because Tony George is not the sharpest tool in the shed and is just as egotistic as Mosley. However, when the actual split occurred the 2 new series were setup between seasons so it certainly is feasible.


I very much agree with you. Bernie has many years been seen as the person who has made f1 what it is today. I felt for a long time that Bernie was given his powers when there wasn't as much money in the sport (and the teams did not mind him getting his, then not so valuable, share if they did not have to deal with the admin of the sport. A decade or two later suddenly his income was astronomical. Then, in a move of typical Bernie, genius he managed to sell his rights for an astronomical sum (remember Bernie was the richest man in the UK for a while). Good for Bernie, unfortunately very bad for f1. The sum was so huge that CVC has to squeeze everything they can out of the sport.

This has put the sport at an impass, where just about everybody thinks it is ridiculus that 50% of the revenue flows straight out of the sport, but the owner does not have any wiggle room (I am not saying that they would want to, if they can, but you assume some wiggling is better than splitting the sport).

The best thing that could happen, in my opinion, is CVC goes under (sorry for them) and the rights are sold on for a reasonable price. Other than something like that, I can't really see how the financial issue ever can really be resolved.

This is all of course separate from the governance issue.


Apparently its president is Carlos Ghosn, president of Renault...

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