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Hijacked by Mercedes
Unfortunately for Adam, this would normally have been the lead story of the day (tue), crossing the North Sea at great pace from Germany. However, the tune to which everyone was dancing came from Mercedes AMG F1 super woofers – Lauda and Wolff.
Adam has given a comprehensive interview to Germany’s MotorSport-Total reporter Dieter Recken, which was clearly done a day or so ago because there is no reference to his Williams replacement’s shock departure from the team for Mercedes. It is an in depth interview that begins by recalling a story from 2009/10 when Toyota withdrew from F1 and Ecclestone threatened to sue them for breach of the Concorde agreement for damages worth $150m’
Parr suggests that the reason it didn’t happen was because of the financial might of Toyota to fight Ecclestone and FOM. Further, in any contract – damages for breach are not generally specified so it is a matter of legal opinion as to the value of damage for the breach. So Concorde would not have listed monetorised penalties for failure to comply. I guess Bernie didn’t fancy that fight.
Rencken takes Adam through a range of topics such as why certain individuals like Peter Sauber didn’t appear in his recent book, his view on Toro Rosso as a customer team and Max Moseley’s brush with the News of the World. All of this is interesting, but my German translation skills only go to so much text before my mind implodes. So we’ll concentrate on big issue in this Q&A.
Parr ups the anti when it comes to the topic of a possible challenge on Ecclestone’s grip on F1. Recknen asks if he is surprised that the teams have not taken Mr. E and FOM to the EU commission for a ruling on the legality of the Concorde agreement. Adam’s view is that the teams are at the mercy of Bernie’s good will and those who are strong enough for a fight, benefit from any discrimination within Concorde. Those who or suffer discrimination, are too weak to take the fight on.
Parr reveals his disappointment that Mercedes did not follow through with their threat to challenge FOM in the EU courts early last year. At the time Mercedes suggested the new Concorde proposals were illegal and in breach of the European Commission’s regulations.
There was gridlock between Mercedes and Ecclestone for several months, until Niki Lauda made it a priority to broke an agreement between Stutgartt and Bernie – following his appointment as ‘non-executive’ chairman at Mercedes AGM F1.
A ‘crime’ against F1
What is both startling and new in the interview is where Adam suggests the EU Commission are being negligent by ignoring this matter. He describes the FOM and Ecclestone’s breach of law as more a ‘crime’ than a ‘civil’ matter. Further, he calls upon the Commission tasked with policing the treaty to act unilaterally, arguing it does not require an F1 team or anyone to complain for an investigation to be launched.
Clearly if the Concorde Agreement is illegal under EU Law, it would continue indefinitely being illegal – surely it does not require an indefinite wait until an injured party complains for matters to be examined. Parr dismisses the Commissions present ‘wait and see’ approach as nonsense. If there are laws preventing oppression and people live under the fear of death – unless they formally report the oppression they are suffering – is nothing to be done?
Clearly the commission cannot just wander around the EU checking every contract made by every small business, however F1 is the global premier motor sport, with all the participants bar one, inside the Treaty’s jurisdiction.
Concorde should be prevented coming into force
Parr’s call for an immediate investigation is even more astonishing when he asserts, ” I think it would be appropriate for the EU to intervene and prevent the new treaty from entering into force. They should also enforce measures allow F1 to continue, ensuring the operation is run on a fair basis, while conducting their investigation. As a result of this investigation, they should either demand a new agreement that reflects the principles of European law, or they should set one. ”
The crux of the argument goes to potential breaches under ‘abuse of a dominant position’ and ‘unfair competition” all defined under Articles 102 and 103 of the TFEU.
Ask Graeme Lowden and all those who work at Marussia if they are being ‘abused’ by one in ‘a dominant position’. Every other team has been offered a financial arrangement under the Concorde agreement. Brazen faced over this, Ecclestone told Reuters last month he only wanted 10 teams in F1, giving the lame and deceitful excuse that it was easier to manage for the sponsors.
“It’s wrong, it’s just wrong”, Parr asserts. “To force a team into bankruptcy and cause the loss of all those jobs is in my view absolutely and categorically an abuse of a dominant position”.
A few good men
This rallying call from Adam, should be heard and the challenge accepted by the many in the paddock who feel the same. Monisha Kalterborn today warned that the sport is facing ‘dangerous times’ unless people set aside self-interest and recognise the common need for action on finances.
It’s about time those who have grown with the sport over decades begin to display more respect and honour for each other, and it shouldn’t take a relatively new entrant to the F1 inner circle to shout the alarm.
Adam ‘is right, he’s just right’.