Global Premier Racing in an Alternative Universe

In an Alternative Universe, on a world much like our own, it was a dark, dark time for the planet’s premier single-seater racing series. Corruption and manipulation of the competitors was rife amongst those that ran the sport.

The owner of the commercial rights to the series was a megalomaniac whose greed for infinite wealth was driven by a state of psychological turbulence that could be traced to a childhood of neglect and relative poverty.

megloThese delusional fantasies of ultimate power and omnipotence were evidenced by the need for the sport’s Mr. Big to be seen constantly in the presence of the kings and Princes and the great merchants of the numerous provinces that the world.

Mr. Big was a stony faced poker player and drove hard bargains with the television broadcasting agents and the merchants to bring untold riches into the coffers of the sport. The teams laboured night and day to find that extra competitive edge to beat their opponents and provided joy and excitement to hundred’s of millions of viewers across the planet.

However, they received a mere third of the riches in the sport’s war chest. The rest was kept by Mr. Big and his associates to further his delusions of grandeur. Whenever the teams considered breaking away from the clutches of Mr. Big, he would employ tactics of divide and conquer amongst them, and out of fear and disunity this would result in arguments between the competitors instead of them fighting their common enemy of oppression.

This state of affairs continued for many years until one incredibly powerful province demanded a reduction in their hosting fee for the round of racing that they hosted. Mr. Big made a concession and it was this began  mutterings amongst the other merchants and the broadcasters joined the chorus – over the exorbitant fee’s they too were forced to produce.

The telecast broadcasters had hiked their subscriptions to viewers so high to pay Mr. Big, that their audiences fell by half. The merchants too had inflated their ticket prices to attend the racing events and attendances were collapsing year on year.

In a desperate bid to keep the competitors on side, Mr. Big gave them a 10% increase on the monies they received to fund their development of racing machines. But the tide had turned. As with all dictatorships in all worlds and every universe – eventually their time has run its course – and their demise is most usually swift.

Finally the competitors united and put aside their petty rivalry and tired of being exploited they decided to act. They withdrew from the racing series run by Mr. Big and created their own with structures of governance and principles subject to the ordinance of  ‘fairness for all’.

Enshrined in their association and born out of the scars of history was a desire for remembrance of their dark past; there too was a commitment to a future culture and principles by which they would act. So the called named their new premier racing series – Formula Libre.

A legal association was formed consisting of 13 racing franchises. Each Franchise is a legal entity within its own right and there is a Franchise Committee of 13 representatives, 1 from each team, that decide certain matters by democratic vote. The number of franchises can be increased by unanimous agreement only.

From this body a regulatory organisation is proposed and formed. Again each representative has one commissioner on the panel of the regulatory body, together with specialist advisors appointed by majority vote.

The regulatory commission negotiates all contracts with the telecast broadcasts and the merchant venue owners, and sets limits on the charges either can make to those wishing to attend or view the racing from their homes.

Now 75% of the monies received go directly and equally to the competitor teams and the remainder is used by the regulatory organisation to employ specialist race officials, scrutineers and marshals who travel the planet as full time qualified employees.

The wining team receives a 5% bonus as reward for their efforts over and above the basic funding awarded to each of the others. This is to be paid directly to the employees of the team.

Whilst the competitors can raise incremental funding from sponsors and merchandising, there is a spending cap restriction placed upon the competitors. Should this cap be broken the owner of the franchise would suffer immediate withdrawal of his franchise rights and a new owner would be sought. proper ‘fit for purpose’ tests were applied to any potential owner wishing to take on a racing franchise.

future racing

Formula Libre is now master of its own domain, restrained by its collective need to find continual agreement. It supports charitable organisations across the planet and is known to be an icon of unity across nations.

The person who conceived of this plan is a shadowy, mysterious individual who is spoken of reverently in the annuls of Formula Libre history.

13 responses to “Global Premier Racing in an Alternative Universe

  1. I think you just described a socialist economic model. Sounds great on paper, but I fear the lack of capitalist stimulation to succeed (only being 5% extra) would not be enough to inspire true competition and growth. Also, the stimulant goes wholly to employees, with disregard to owners and those taking risks. Where is the incentive to take the risk, to be ambitious? Rarely have I disagreed with your views TJ13, but this would become a spec sporting series (Indy Car) under this model, not a prototype Grand Prix competition. I do however agree that the Laissez-faire model F1 has evolved to has become inappropriate. But socialism isn’t the answer.

  2. Personally, I would like to see the spending limits set at a reasonable level, one that many can agree to. I would then like the restrictions on the design of the car to be lifted, if people want to design a 6 wheeler with their cash, why not let them? You want 4 wheel drive? You go for it. We might see a better range if car design, ones that perhaps are not so Aero dependent. I’d also like to see refuelling allowed, but with the option not to if that is your strategy. I think this would bring on more manufacturers, as they could demonstrate their technology on the worlds biggest stage, and it would not cost them the earth to do it.

    • Spending limits would work because resources are scarce. There’s only one Adrian Newey so if a team wants to use 8m euro of their budget on him, they’ll have to spend less elsewhere.

      A bit like fantasy football – buy the best goal scorer for the most money and the defence will be of a lesser quality than another team who buys the best defender.

      • Its not as simple as saying, “well resources are scare, therefore spending limits would work”.

        Resources are not scarce for all teams. Or more accurately, resource scarcity varies per team. Therefore what they will accept as spending limits depends on their desperation to survive, which varies greatly.

        In addition to this F1 teams various business models, and parent company models vary to such an extent that some teams can benefit too greatly under the radar over say non-manufacturer teams like RBR. Research and dev costs for example can move to the road car division of Merc or Ferrari while RBR or Williams can do that. In fact it is this reason RBR moved away from the RRA.

        With the above proposed model, I think you’d see Ferrari, RBR, McLaren and maybe Mercedes leave F1. At least my dirty little secret favourite team Sauber would have a chance at winning the title, not just their subjective “category”.

        • The concept assumes all participants agree to stick together and work for the benefit of the sport.

          If you remove the divide and conquer culture driven by Mr. E – who knows what co-operation would be possible.

          McLaren would play ball because these days they don’t believe in superstar designers et al – hence their attitude to Paddy Lowe.

          Mercedes are committed to ‘a budget’ as are Lotus.

          Possibly Ferrari and RB would be isolated and have to fall into line.

          With a lack of multiple manufacturers their infinite spending capabilities – times have changed.

          The budget cap does not need to be achievable for all, but the better redistribution of finance would up the smaller teams budgets and then say a $200m cap would mean $60-70m differential between bottom and top team – instead of at present some $200m.

  3. Perhaps our divergent views on this topic are rooted in the poor perception I have of how I see fundamental human nature. I admit I must be a sour, bitter old bastard nowadays I suppose and cant see any of the above happening due to the selfish and driven attitudes of those in big business and F1 in particular.

    The very first assumption you state in your reply above is the reason I think it is not possible. But I do think that the model you suggested is a nice thing to hope for, even a good thing to strive for. In pure terms, socialism is the ideal economic solution but for one thing, human nature wont allow it in it’s pure form. But as I said, if cooperation and “sticking together” is fundamental to the plan, then, well… um. You probably know what I am thinking.

    One thing that can be tackled and should be tackled I think is the need to “remove the divide and conquer culture driven by Mr. E – who knows what co-operation would be possible”. I 100% agree. I feel the sport, on the whole, would benefit.

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