There are a number of misconceptions being reported about the recent complaint made by Sauber and Force India to the EU commission and its eventual outcome. AMuS is reporting that the Commission has confirmed its receipt of the complaint and is now waiting for FOM’s response. A deadline has been set for Ecclestone’s counter view of the complaint, and Force India’s Bob Fernley believes, “If everything goes well, we could get an answer by Christmas”.
However, the answer will not be whether the complaint has been upheld or dismissed, but whether the EU is prepared to begin an investigation into Formula One, which would be a lengthy process. However, Fernley is bullish that a decision to investigate will precipitate immediate action from Bernie Ecclestone.
“Experience shows us that people like to avoid a lengthy investigation,” says Fernley, “because it interferes with business.” The implication is that Ecclestone will swing into action and deliver an equitable solution over the current unfair distribution of F1 revenues among the teams.
AMuS believes that this would precipitate a repayment from the larger teams of disputed bonus/historic/manufacturer incremental payments. However, this is highly improbable because it is not the teams who may have ‘abused a dominant position’ but Ecclestone and FOM.
On the matter of restitution, Fernley observes: “Whatever is wrong now and in the future was also wrong in the past.” And it will be the responsibility of FOM and Ecclestone to redress the historic in balance with back payments to the marginalised smaller teams. These numbers could be very large indeed and stretch beyond the hundreds of millions into billions depending on how far back the ‘abuse’ is agreed to have occurred.