Grid, Silverstone, 2017

F1 has six months to avoid its own ‘no-deal’ disaster


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The 2021 season may be two years away, but Liberty Media has less than six months to get the 10 Formula 1 teams to endorse its plan for the sport’s future, as @DieterRencken explains.

“The most reliable way to forecast the future is to try to understand the present”: John Naisbitt.

It is doubtful that Naisbitt, best-selling author of Megatrends, followed Formula 1 or even knew about the sport’s existence given he spent his business career with the likes of IBM and (Kodak) Eastman before serving as special economic adviser in the White House in the sixties. But his words surely provide the key to unravelling the year ahead, at least as it pertains to off-track activities.

Here’s a pointer: On December 25th, F1’s FWONK share price traded just 23 (US) cents above its 12-month low, which it hit in November immediately after owner Liberty Media’s annual investor meeting.

Given that share price provides the primary indicator of Liberty’s performance as F1’s commercial rights holder, this trend illustrates the extent of the uphill challenge they face in 2019. True, share prices are all about perception, as the inflated values of new technology companies surely proves. But to investors, perceptions are reality until disproven.

Liberty has an awful lot of disproving to do in the year ahead. This applies across the board, from ensuring its direct-to-consumers F1 TV Pro streaming service is worthy of the term ‘Pro’, through to signing up all 10 teams to sustainable Concorde-type agreements that encompass equitable revenue structures and full-participation regulatory processes, to budget caps and technical/sporting regulations that promote better-quality racing.

And these are only the headline items.

2021 F1 car concepts
Liberty wants to revamp F1 in 2021
Pulling all this together is a big ask. But the company has held F1’s rights for a fortnight under two years, so time for excuses has expired. A recent interview in the Sunday Telegraph with F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey refers to “the building of core operations spanning sponsorships, promotions, television marketing, [and] digital and communications at offices in London’s St James Market development.”

FOM’s London workforce has “doubled from about 75 [heads], while F1 also has about 300 people based at Biggin Hill in Kent, most involved in producing television feeds” it continues, which points to an overall increase in headcount of 125 over 2016, or 40% growth. The question on many paddock lips, though, is: ‘Are they the right people?’ In short, quantity or quality? Value for money?

Liberty will need to provide answers to such questions in 2019, particularly as F1 teams are indirectly funding the salaries of dozens of ‘whizzkids’ given the team ‘pot’ comprises approximately two-thirds of F1’s underlying revenues (after operating costs), and the payroll is very much an operational cost. Hence they have every right to question the overall performance of Liberty’s appointments.

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The key subject for 2019 will be 2021, for unless a Concorde-type agreement is sorted soon, F1 risks going racing in a ‘no deal’ scenario, as the current covenants expire at midnight on 31st December 2020. Just as national chaos is forecast for Great Britain under a ‘no deal’ Brexit, so No-Concorde F1 threatens to be utterly chaotic, with Liberty having no assurances of entries, and teams no assurances of racing.

Optimists point to a two-year window between now and then. But that overlooks the fact zero tangible progress has been made over the past two years. Liberty’s stated policy is not to negotiate in public, but teams are adamant that nitty-gritty talks have yet to begin. While a broad-brush roadmap was presented behind closed doors at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April, the mooted changes to engine regulations have since been scrapped and an 18-inch tyre contract signed without team input.

Agreement on the structure of a budget caps, let alone exact levels and specific exclusions, seems to have stalled. This is further compounded by pending changes at the very top of F1’s three manufacturer-run teams: Daimler’s Dieter Zetsche will shortly be replaced by Olla Källenius, Carlos Ghosn (Renault) faces serious legal issues in Japan and the position of Ferrari’s interim CEO Louis C Camilleri, replacement for the late Sergio Marchionne, is also under threat.

Furthermore, as outlined yesterday, the Scuderia faces (short-term, at least) management upheaval. Under such circumstances the default approach for Ferrari could well be to invoke its veto over everything…

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2018
Will top teams attempt to run out the clock on a budget cap?
During the run-up to Christmas a senior team figure told RaceFans that policing of budget caps is likely to prove virtually impossible due to the different company structures of teams. As explained in our two-part analysis of F1 teams’ budgets, the likes of Ferrari does not report its F1 expenditure separately, while Red Bull Technologies supplies both Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso.

Liberty is trying to solve a decades-old problem. As Ron Dennis remarked to the now-defunct Grand Prix International in 1983 while in charge of McLaren: “Teams like Ferrari and Renault spend far more on their racing than they like to admit. Drivers paid out of corporate PR budgets, engine development written off against R&D costs: people like them don’t dare add up the true cost of going racing.” Take a look at the figures we reported last month to see which of today’s teams that applies to.

Mercedes supplies complete rear ends to Racing Point (under whichever guise the team formerly known as Force India intends to race in future) and who is to say that the price charged is fair and equitable for non-controlled items such as transmissions, hydraulics and electronics, plus trackside support? Of course, standardised parts are expected to be introduced as part of Liberty’s package, but others are likely to slip through the net.

A possible solution to the budget cap problem could be to make it a conditions of participation that each team is entered by a dedicated company registered for the sole purpose of competing in F1, with that entity’s books being totally transparent and accessible upon demand – including by the ultimate arbiters, the media and their readers – which would need to reflect the exact value of inter-company transactions. True, some could remain hidden, but that would be a wilful act…

If, though, this problem has perpetuated for four decades, what chance of Liberty plugging that gap within two years by demanding that totally separate operating entities be established without risking walk-outs by the top two or three teams? And that is even before discussions turns to equitable revenues, the scrapping of the Strategy Group that provides the elite few with enormous regulatory power, and suchlike.

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The teams received a sharp wake-up call in July when the FIA issued calls for a tyre tender without reference to the Strategy Group. This was a gutsy move, for certain teams believe their bilateral agreements with FOM – which hark back to pre-Liberty days – empower them to approve regulatory changes (by majority vote) until 31st December 2020, regardless of the effective date of any changes. Yet there was not a whimper.

Pirelli 13-inch and 18-inch tyres, Yas Marina, 2018
F1 is pushing on with 18-inch wheels switch
When asked about the situation, FIA F1 Director Charlie Whiting told RaceFans: “There’s no need for [post-2020] regulations to go through the Strategy Group because that governance expires,” adding, “The separate matter of whether or not [changes] need to go to the F1 Commission; [they don’t], strictly speaking, because there’s no government beyond 2020. There’ll probably be a Formula 1 commission, but it may be a different one.”

Thus, in the absence of any post-2020 regulatory body – specifically the Strategy Group and F1 Commission – the FIA (in tandem with Liberty) are relying on the provisions of Clause 18.2.2 (headed as “Technical design of the Automobile”) in the FIA’s International Sporting Code, which can only be overridden by exceptional agreement and states:

“Changes to technical regulations… will be published no later than 30th June each year and come into effect no earlier than 1st January of the year following their publication, unless the FIA considers that the changes in question are likely to have a substantial impact on the technical design of the automobile and/or the balance of performance between the automobiles, in which case they will come into effect no earlier than 1st January of the second year following their publication.”

That’s clear, then: F1’s post-2020 technical regulations, which will have obviously a ‘substantial impact on the balance of performance between automobiles’, need to be done, dusted, approved and published by 30th June 2019, or the FIA could find itself in serious breach of its own regulations and/or face hefty litigation from aggrieved teams.

The same applies to the equivalent sporting regulations, changes to which are provided with identical timeframes under Clause 18.2.3.b of the ISC, which further provides for a reprieve under 18.2.4: Shorter notice periods than those mentioned above may be applied, provided that the unanimous agreement of all competitors properly entered for the championship, cup, trophy, challenge or series concerned is obtained.

Let us recap: Teams are unlikely to ‘properly enter’ the championship unless they know exactly what they’re signing up for, and this hinges as much on commercial terms as it does on technical and sporting regulations, one or both of which could, indeed should, contain clauses providing for cost controls and any penalties associated therewith. Plus, in most instances, main board approval will be required for participation.

Chase Carey, Guenther Steiner, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018
Haas’s Steiner wants progress on the 2021 rules this month
Having totally revamped its stall since first setting it out in Bahrain last year, Liberty thus has one last shot at persuading the teams to sign up to its ‘Remain’ campaign. That process continues next Wednesday in Geneva, when the FIA, CRH and all teams convene for a Strategy Group meeting in the morning (where the five disenfranchised teams will be reduced to mere bystanders) followed by a F1 Commission meeting after lunch.

Although the Strategy Group session holds no sway over 2021, as outlined above it remains empowered to vote on 2019/20 matters. Both meetings provide Liberty with opportunities of presenting its wares ahead of the first World Motor Sport Council meeting of the year on the 7th of March, again in Geneva, and timed to coincide with the city’s motor show.

Thereafter a single chance of approving 2021 regulations within ISC provisions remains: during the second WMSC meeting of 2019 on 14th June, coinciding with Le Mans.

To be clear, while the Strategy Group can be (and is being) bypassed, and the F1 Commission requires re-configuring, particularly as the current edition is constituted in terms of existing bilateral agreements that expire at the end of 2020, the FIA’s WMSC needs to ratify all regulations changes by the 30th of June 2019 for the 1st of January 2021. A massive task.

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There is a theoretical alternative, one relied upon in 2008/9 after the 1998-2007 Concorde Agreement expired without a replacement being in place. That is to extend the validity of the current bilaterals by mutual agreement. But this would risk maintaining the present inequitable status quo, including Mercedes domination, Ferrari veto and F1’s current ills.

However, due to the 18-inch tyre agreement and the associated structural requirements, the existing technical regulations could not simply be rolled over, meaning all change on that front would be required in any event. Thus, retaining the status quo (akin to extending Article 50 if we stretch the Brexit metaphor) is in real terms unlikely to be an option.

Formula One has a tradition of delaying decisions until well beyond sensible deadlines, then finding itself rushed into the worst possible compromises. This seems to be a continuation of that practice: despite Liberty having already spent over two years attempting to find solutions to F1’s self-inflicted issues.

At the root of all this lies Liberty’s patent inability to comprehend F1’s present, and therefore inability to predict (let alone provide) a solid future, whatever form that may take for F1.

The CRH is not only up against vested interests such as Mercedes and Ferrari pushing for no change, but equally faces real life restrictions in the form of sporting codes, regulatory procedures and, crucially, F1’s greatest enemy on- and off-track: time. From the latter, there simply is no escape.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 34 comments on “F1 has six months to avoid its own ‘no-deal’ disaster”

    1. It sometimes feels like Liberty are hit from too many sides with commercial pressures, threats of Ferraxit and RedBullxit, and worrying more about the brand than the quality of the product within (ie racing). Sure they are all in it to make money at the end of the day, but if enough fans, and even the drivers, stop caring then the business will surely start to crash. When even the sports biggest star describes the most glamorous race as “boring”, then that’s a problem. The rules have become a convoluted political mess and the promises of meaningful change sound just as hollow as the words of a politician.
      What are the answers? I don’t know, but I’m not sure Liberty do either.

    2. Really interesting read, thanks for that.

      Liberty seem to have been taking a “softly-softly/let’s all reach a consensus before saying anything publicly” approach, but I think the time is nearly right for them to say “right, this is our trainset, here are the rules for 2021, if you like them sign up, if you don’t, don’t.” F1 types will pontificate and scheme for the remainder of time if you give them half a chance. Playing hardball may be the only way to get things done.

      Yes, there will be rumblings of Mercexits, Ferrexits, RedBexits and Renexits, but if they chose to leave so be it. I’d rather have teams in the sport who are here because they love it rather than those who are there because their accountants say it is a decent decision. Those 4 companies in particular all entered (or remain in) F1 because they believed it to be an excellent marketing and R&D platform, they will reassess their position and they will decide whether to come and play or not. Given F1’s unique global appeal, I would think that they would all (with the possible exception of Renault) decide to stay simply because there is no other platform that gives them the same bang for their buck.

      1. Seems Franz Tost agrees with me (quote from an article posted on Autosport today):

        Asked who is against his proposal, Tost said: “The teams! Never ask the teams. “[The rulemakers need to] come with the regulations, [say] ‘accept or go’. But they ask the teams.

        “They come to the Technical Working Group.

        “Who is in the Technical Working Group? Engineers.

        “Never ask the engineers!”

      2. @geemac

        Mercexits, Ferrexits, RedBexits and Renexits, but if they chose to leave so be it.

        The problem with that approach is if the ‘top’ teams & most prestigious/historic team (Ferrari) leave then will the mid-field teams picking up wins/championships by default really mean anything?

        Look at the CART/IRL split, Without the top teams there the IRL winners of the Indy 500 & IRL championships are not looked at with the same legitimacy as the pre-split winners because none of the established top teams were there. And the same is true of CART/Champcar, As soon as teams like Penske left the series was nothing but a shadow of what it used to be & that did more to start the decline than anything else.

        If the current top teams all withdrew would a Force India win mean as much as it would if they beat Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull & Renault? I don’t think it would.

        Additionally let us not ignore that it’s possible that we wouldn’t just lose 4 teams.

        1. @RogerA Yes, because they would have been the teams who agreed to compete rather than walk away because the rules didn’t suit them. Imagine if Lotus or Williams did that in the early 80’s when FISA banned skirts? Or if Williams walked away ahead of 1994 because of the ban on “driver aids”.

          Also, what would be wrong with having teams like Racing Point or Sauber win the championship? They have decades of F1 heritage themselves. As for the other midfielders, Haas winning would be a shot in the arm for F1 in America and Williams and McLaren are the second and third most successful constructors in F1 history. I also strongly suspect that if the likes of Red Bull, Mercedes or Renault pull out, buyers would be found for those teams so they would carry on in some form or other.

          1. I’d really be surprised if once the dust settles on this the top teams would end up having enough cause to leave, and that they would forgo the billions they have spent in the past recent years developing their cars and the technology that comes with them and just walk away. I cannot comprehend what would be so dire about the direction Liberty wants to go, that they would prefer to just walk. Also, if they did, what would be powering the likes of Racing Point and Sauber, as expressed above as the ‘replacement’ or default Champions? If the top teams walk there goes F1 and the entity that all these employees get rich from while they do what they love. This is why I cannot see a gulfs so wide between what Liberty wants and must do, and what the teams will insist on. So they go start their own series? Easier said than done. They have a chance to all come to compromises and make this work, or be stubborn and end up with 100% of nothing rather than 80% or 90% of the greedy BE days and a potentially healthier entity overall. And I had the impression the teams for the most part understand that they cannot continue the way BE left them. Posture, sure, but when all is said and done they’d be fools to cut off their noses to spite their faces, and waste all that money they’ve spent to boot.

            1. I agree with your reasoning, especially the “100% of nothing” but not that any previous expenditure will be wasted. Certainly for Merc, they would benefit for years to come from the publicity of the past five years (as Ferrari and RedBull still do, a bit, from their last glory years) but what they have learned in this time will still be usable for their road-car developments for many years – the money has been spent, not wasted (or lost), as the benefits have already been accrued.
              Perhaps the only ‘wasted’ expenditure in recent years has been by Honda… but hopefully those costs will soon be recovered…

            2. @BlackJackFan Oh for sure you’re right that it wouldn’t be a total waste, but certainly the expenditures that have pertained specifically to F1 and it’s unique needs vs the domestic market eg. the wind tunnel work, would go to waste if they were no longer plying that accumulated knowledge to F1 cars. Think of the money that has gone into the teams to progress them and build staff and evolve them into something better, and then just stopping all that by leaving F1 with nowhere to take those cars and that staff and race them. And there would no longer be the marketing impact from being in F1.

      3. The last time this was tried, F1 nearly had 4 teams in total, 3 of which were first-time outfits. Liberty may be reluctant to try that one again.

    3. as national chaos is forecast for Great Britain under a ‘no deal’ Brexit

      Never even started thinking about this, but a no-deal Brexit might cause major disruptions at the border.
      This could have serious consequences for all mainland European races. Not just getting the caravan on trucks there (and back) without losing too much time, but also getting the upgrades to the various circuits.

      Or will this create a competitive advantage for Ferrari, Sauber, and Toro Rosso?

      1. STR have their wind tunnel in England, so they’ll be affected as well.

        1. And they increasingly source parts from Red Bull Technologies, as stated in the article

      2. Any parts sourced outside Britain to British teams, or from Britain to non-British teams, would be at issue too. For most things, I think there’s a Motorsport Valley and Maranello-era company producing it, so it’s mostly an issue for the compulsory bits – which are a mix of British and EU-non-British parts. But construction could be affected.

    4. My impression is expectations cannot be reconciled with reality. Simply put, there isn’t enough money from tracks, sponsors, manufacturers, and fans to pay for broadcasting, facilities, employees, cars, and profits.

      My view is Liberty bought Ecclestone’s F1 expecting profits that are not sustainable. They made a bad investment. I don’t see how this can end well.

      1. To clarify, I think F1 is sustainable. My understanding is Ecclestone’s F1 had double digit profits, which are probably not sustainable.

        1. Agreed… so why/HOW could an operation like Liberty fall for it when non-accountants like me would have been 1,000% more cautious…?
          Or… are we wrong…? Is there something here we’re not aware of…?

          1. Well, @slotopen is taking the pessimistic approach, and imho hasn’t given Liberty their chance in the sun yet, to put their twist in the plot, which is to improve the product and make it better for fans and the teams too. I realize the above article implies that it has been two years so let’s get on with it, but the other side of the coin is that there are still contacts in place preventing Liberty from moving faster, plus they didn’t want to move too fast for the lesser teams anyway, plus they’ve only had 2 years compared to the 40+ years that BE had to put F1 into the troubled spots it is now in. What F1 is today is not because of Liberty, and if it wasn’t Liberty it would have been another entity that was always inevitably going to have a big job on their hands righting the ship. Liberty are in it for the long haul and I’m sure did their homework ahead of buying F1. When there’s billions at stake, I’m sure they didn’t go into this blind. It’s just very complex.

    5. Excellent article as usual Dieter.

      “At the root of all this lies Liberty’s patent inability to comprehend F1’s present, and therefore inability to predict a solid future, whatever form that may take for F1”

      As to the above. I’d say at the root of it all is the power wielded by the bigger teams. We’re at an impasse because the only progress that can be made, will only ever be made in their selfish interests. We can hardly blame them for wanting preferential treatment I suppose. They’ll cite their investment in the product as justification.

      That is F1’s past, present and it will be the future.

      1. @bealzbob I don’t think it is fair to say they are at an impasse. That would imply Liberty has drawn their line in the sand and the teams have refused to budge. I get no impression that they are there. I would think Liberty is stlll consulting with the teams to try to keep them as happy as possible, and will, by June of this year, spell out the plan, but I don’t expect there will be anything in the plan, the 2021 regs, that will surprise the teams, for they will all have been involved in the discussions, and besides that they all know things have to change at least somewhat from the BE era. I have yet to hear anything shocking or outrageous that Liberty has planned that would make me think there is going to be an impasse. The opposite. They have only concerned themselves with ways to improve everything. Sure there will be debates and disagreements here and there as to how that should be done, but the spirit of the thing is to improve the whole entity. And the teams can help Liberty or they can stubbornly expect the same greed and excess to rule the day as it did with BE. But Liberty cannot go along with that and the teams know that.

        So I do not believe that Liberty is unable to comprehend F1 in the present. I think they are full on aware of the problems and of each of the top teams unique selfish interests, and they have already implied many times that cannot continue at the same levels. I think Liberty is trying to redefine F1, and only needs to understand that there are problems now. They don’t need to understand an entity that is dysfunctional. They know how it got there. They know what is dysfunctional. They just need some cooperation to get everything back to a place it should never have left.

        1. @robbie I hope you’re right, but I think you’re putting a lot of faith in (some of) the teams’ willingness to yield ground on certain issues. Let’s use Ferrari as the obvious example. You say Liberty are trying to keep everyone as happy as possible. I agree with you. But the only way you historically keep Ferrari happy is by giving them what they want. Otherwise they threaten to leave and go elsewhere. Now OK they’ve yet to ever actually leave F1, but they regularly get their toys out ready to throw, and I see no reason or signal that their approach will be any different this time around. It goes back to game theory. If everyone else agrees to compromise and you remain steadfast, then you’ll usually end up with the better end of the bargain. Ferrari have too much at stake to allow a levelling of the playing field. I think the other big boys will, to a lesser degree, be seeking preferential treatments too. So yes Liberty are currently trying to find a happy medium, but in my slightly cynical eyes that just means Liberty are in a constant state of backtracking until they can placate everyone enough to sign a deal.

          1. @bealzbob You may be right, but I just have this sense that this is a new chapter and that even Ferrari will have to accept a little less if F1 is to be sustainable, and I would think Brawn, with his tenure at Ferrari and all their success, would be an ideal person to deal with this, for who is more intimate about Ferrari and their needs than he. Yes the teams will posture, and yes Liberty and Brawn always knew they would, but…this is a new time and these are new owners, and they simply cannot carry on with the top teams having all they want as usual. I think everyone knows this is a big part of the problem. So far I have not heard anything of Liberty or Brawns ideas that would harm the big teams whatsoever even if it means a few tens of millions less to them and a few more to the lesser teams.

    6. Great read btw. Liberty are all about long term growth, F1 had been stripped of talent and decent assets and was just milking the promoters and tv deals ready to be sold. Liberty are going to invest significant time and money into F1 before they gain any real shareholder value, we knew that from the start.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re finding Bernie’s web much more difficult to unravel and straighten on the commercial side, it was nonsensical at best, but they still have a significant growth opportunity just through modernising and bringing the sport into this century so I doubt that they’re worried. It will be interesting to see how this pans out and how quickly they can move behind the scenes but there’s too much opportunity available for all parties for deals not to happen, I just hope that they’re better thought out than they have been.

    7. Great as always…this post 2020 Formula 1 does look ever more like post March 2019 Brexit, indeed. But I do agree with the opinion that ultimately, budget caps just might prove to be more trouble than they would be worth. Equal or equitable profit sharing is the key. If Ferrari want to spend $300 million, let them…as long as they pay for it themselves (no $90 million heritage bonus and such).

    8. Good decision taken by Formula 1

    9. Really interesting read as always.

      This reinforces further that things need to be moved along and decisions need to be made sooner rather than later. What I (and I guess many readers) didn’t know was that there is actually a hard date by which that needs to be done.

      Given what we’ve seen over the last 2 years. I can’t really see anything other than some sort of interim arrangement, most likely involving the deferral of the 18 inch rims, for 2021. Either that or there’ll be some sort of heavy handed, half baked set of rules rushed through just to meet a deadline.

      Sound familiar?

    10. I am of the view that the solution is not Formula 1, nor is it the teams forming a “breakaway series” that replicates Formula 1 in every aspect except for name.

      Perhaps a good opportunity to redefine what the pinnacle of motorsport looks like? People losing interest in Formula 1 and people losing interest in motorsport are two separate conversations after all.

      Motorsport is slowly going down the gurgler, yet people are putting all trust and faith in a US listed media company that exists to maximise profits. Liberty Medias presence in Formula 1 is not to save their sport, its to maximise their 40% clip of the ticket.

      Clean bit of paper please.

      1. Totally agree.

        F1 is a good case study for those who are interested in the rise and fall of empires, and reinforces the truism that history repeats itself again and again. Ecclestone’s empire is crumbling, for much the same reasons that every other empire has. History would show that a clean slate is normally the best solution, although try telling that to those involved.

        1. Or…Liberty may be able to save the day yet. Can we not give them a minute to see their plans through?

    11. Throughout the past two years many people have asked: “Does F1 need Ferrari more than Ferrari needs F1?”
      I have never seen/heard anyone ask: “Does F1 need Liberty more than Liberty needs F1?”

      When Bernie started setting up his empire there were several reasons so to do… But it became too big, and too influential, especially when it made that amazing purchase from the FIA.

      So, I genuinely ask: Does F1 need Liberty Media…?

      The American examples cited by Dieter are not quite the same (as I see it) – there the teams broke away from the organisers, causing numerous problems. But what if the F1 teams break away from Liberty, WITH the FIA… AND the circuit-owners/race-organisers. What could Liberty do…!?
      [NB, ‘anon’ – that last question is not rhetorical… ;-) ]

      If Ferrari pull out, and it has been intimated in the past that Merc could do the same, I suggest Renault would not be far behind… and Honda might be unable/unwilling to supply the other teams, and might follow suit… as might the historic McLaren and Williams teams… and so, with the support of the FIA and the circuits… What could Liberty do…?

      1. @Blackjackfan The FIA won’t break away with the teams, as the contract Liberty has with the FIA would prevent that, and the Ecclestone-era payments the FIA receives from Liberty are difficult to replace. At that point, the whole scheme falls over, unless the teams think the FIA is sufficiently beneath contempt to be worth abandoning (it’s happened before, but the criteria for that are different from the criteria to abandon a promoter).

        1. The FIA is obliged by EU monopolies law to sanction any series that complies with all the necessary safety and administrative procedures – M Mosley admitted as much at the time of the breakaway threat in 2009. The only things the FIA can’t allow is for it to be called its own works championship nor that’s its called Formula 1.

          Cast your mind back to A1 GP…

    12. in motogp, there is a divide between the commercial and technical supervision ? if so, the commercial side is also on the stock market?

    13. Just to make things more complicated, in the latter days of the Ecclestone era, possibly in exchange for assistance necessary to make it through to when the initial buyout from Gravity was completed, Renault signed up to a bilateral agreement that ended in 2024. So any deal has to be better than what Renault has now in the eyes of Renault, otherwise there’s no incentive for it to sign anything different, and no legal method for the contract to change, except by Liberty paying off Renault.

      I wonder if this has anything to do with the delays experienced by Liberty?

    Comments are closed.