Earlier in the season, TJ13 reported that there was an impending complaint to be lodged with the European Union against Formula One’s owners, CVC Capital.
The reported complaint was to be lodged by a group of the smaller teams. At the time of publishing, the names of these teams were unknown, but many believed it to be either Sauber or Force India, both of whom have been struggling financially.
The main body of the complaint has to do with what they believe to be the unfair distribution of prize money by CVC Capital in favour of the larger teams.
Currently the five larger teams are receiving additional payments on top of prize money from the constructors’ championship. Last year that figure was reported to somewhere in the region of $249 million.
This disgruntlement almost lead to a few teams threatening to boycott the 2014 American Grand Prix at the Circuits of the Americas. It was however averted as a last minute intervention by FOM boss Bernie Ecclestone, who at the time promised that he’d review the payment structure.
Today Force India has decided to unveil themselves as one of the petitioners and has released an official statement siting the reasons for their complaint:
“Sahara Force India is one of two teams to have registered a complaint with the European Union questioning the governance of Formula 1 and showing that the system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula 1 rules are set is both unfair and unlawful.”
“Due to the ongoing legal discussions, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time”
Sauber also revealed themselves to be part of this inquiry:
“The Sauber F1 Team is one of two teams who have submitted a formal complaint to the European Commission for violation of European Competition Law challenging the rule making powers and privileges, which are harming the sport.”
“The process has been initiated, therefore we cannot comment further at this stage.”
An EU Competition Commission Spokesman confirmed the statements by both teams shortly after.
“We have received a complaint and will assess it.”
When the threats of this investigation had reared their head around the time of the 2014 US Grand Prix, Bernie essentially called the small teams bluff, by saying:
“They (the teams) all signed contracts. I hope the complaint goes ahead and the competition authorities have enough patience and time to deal with it.”
Now that a formal complaint has been lodged, we will see if Bernie sticks to his story. The EU authorities sifting through CVC’s books, combined with the unpaid Tax bill Bernie has been dodging in the UK, should be enough to keep the owners of F1 busy with legal fees, investigations, and court hearings for the foreseeable future. One wonders if this will not be enough to see the sport finally go up for sale.
Adding to this enquiry, is the ongoing issue surrounding the threats from Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz to withdraw both his teams for the 2016 season, if they’re unable to source a competitive power unit. There is ongoing negotiations with Ferrari to supply a full spec 2016, but as yet nothing as agreed as it’s believed that they’ve only willing to offer an updated 2015 unit.
The Japanese Grand Prix Illustrated Bernie’s way of getting back at those who dear to defy him. Both Silver Arrows were reported to have only gotten roughly 5 minutes of TV time during the race. Many believed that was this was in response to Mercedes refusal to supply Red Bull with power units for the upcoming season.
However one thing is for sure, Bernie will be looking to exact his own revenge on both Force India and Sauber teams, whether it will be at the upcoming Russian Grand Prix, one can only guess, but rest assured, Bernie will get his pound of flesh
Edited by TD