F1 could be stuck in political quagmire until 2020
FIA president Jean Todt does not see Formula One’s governance changing before the current Concorde Agreement and commercial contracts with teams expire in 2020.s always the goal – but to be honest my attention was elsewhere at that point.
The FIA agreed to the existing system (see below for details) in 2013, and at the time heralded “a strong and stable sporting governance framework which includes the Formula One Group, the FIA and the participating teams”
F1’s rule-making process
Rules are formulated in the F1 Strategy Group, which is made up of six of the 11 teams, the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder, which is represented by Bernie Ecclestone. Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Williams have permanent seats on the Strategy Group, while Force India is the sixth member this year because it was the best placed of the rest of the teams last year. Each team has one vote each, while the FIA and Ecclestone have six votes each. If they work together, the voting structure gives the FIA and Ecclestone the power to overrule the teams. However, Ferrari also has a veto based on its historical standing in the sport.
F1 Commission and WMSC
Suggestions from the Strategy Group are then passed on to the F1 Commission, which is made up of 26 votes. The FIA, CRH, teams, race promoters and sponsors are all represented and before the end of February each year, a 66 percent majority is required to pass rules for the following year. After that date unanimous agreement is required (with the exception of the 2017 rules, where the deadline has been extended to April 30, 2016). Once new rules are agreed by the F1 Commission they are passed to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Commission for approval, although this is usually just a formality.
But when it was put to Todt that the system he agreed to in 2013 leaves the sport in a bind when it comes to rule making, he said: “That is the way of the triangular governance of Formula One. [We have to] wait until the renewal of the Concorde Agreement in 2020 and then decide to change the governance. It may be another president of the FIA because we are currently in 2016 and it cannot be before 2020.
“Unless the teams and the commercial rights holder and the FIA decide we want to change the governance, then we can do it tomorrow. But we can only do it tomorrow if everybody accepts to change the governance.”
Todt says it is the F1 Commission, which existed before his first term as FIA president, and not the Strategy Group, which he helped form, that is the issue.
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Bahrain’s F1 Grand Prix Ends in Tragedy: Ali Abdul Ghani, 17, Killed in Police Arrest
Behind the fireworks, shiny racing cars and celebrations of the Formula One Grand Prix in Bahrain, 17-year-old Ali Abdul Ghani was gasping for his last breath. As Nico Rosberg, the race’s winner, celebrated his victory, the young man, who was on the run, and sentenced to five years in prison, was probably already dead.
The teenager had sustained serious injuries as he was running away from security forces and masked men who attempted to arrest him. This all took place in a neighboring village to the Bahrain International Circuit just as the massive event was launched there on the March 31.
The Bahraini Interior Ministry’s Twitter account tweeted:
Fugitive sentenced to 5 years in jail arrested. Injured in fall from building in Shahrakan while trying to escape. #Bahrain
— Ministry of Interior (@moi_bahrain) March 31, 2016
It did not elaborate further. Yesterday, Abdul Ghani’s death was announced and today thousands marched in the village of Shahrakan, where he was buried.
In this video, angry crowds chanted “Down Down Hamad,” in reference to the country’s monarch King Hamad.
But Bahrain has been failing to score credible points in its human rights and justice records. Alwadaei’s NGO, along with four others, said in their joint-statement:
Ali’s death comes during the 2016 Formula One race and as authorities threaten to increase security across the country. He is the second to die during the event after Salah Abbas, a father of five who was killed by police on the eve of the 2012 race after being tortured and shot. His corpse was found on the roof of a building. Despite promises by authorities to open an investigation, no one has ever been held responsible for Salah’s death.
The tiny Gulf kingdom has been repeatedly slammed by leading human rights organisations as well as the United Nations for failing to fix its political and human rights problems which exploded into chaos with a mass crackdown on pro-democracy protests in 2011.
Teams signal tentative approval for new F1 qualifying format
Team bosses have shown some tentative support for the revised qualifying format proposed by the FIA to be discussed and voted upon during another meeting between the F1 stakeholders on Thursday.
“I think it is a vote yes, but to be honest we don’t even know,” declared McLaren’s Eric Boullier, while Ferrari’s Maurizio Arrivabene said ‘it doesn’t sound that bad’. Claire Williams has also suggested her support by saying it seems a well-thought out idea.
Rosberg implicated in ‘Panama Papers’ data leak
Championship leader Nico Rosberg’s name is among hundreds implicated in an enormous global leak of documents known as the ‘Panama Papers’. The 11.5 million confidential documents come from a law firm in Panama called Mossack Fonseca, exposing a web of secret offshore companies allegedly used to hide wealth, evade tax and launder money, according to the Financial Times.
NDR, a German public broadcaster, said Rosberg’s name is among those like football star Lionel Messi mentioned in the massive data leak, relating to his latest F1 contract with Mercedes. The report said Rosberg’s F1 deal is actually between Mercedes and a company called Ambitious Group Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands.
And Ambitious Group apparently belongs to two other alleged “front” companies headquartered in the Channel Islands. But ARD, another German broadcaster, made clear that the documents do not indicate that Mercedes or Rosberg did anything illegal. Mercedes would not comment, while a lawyer for Rosberg told the French sports daily L’Equipe that it is a private matter.
Another F1-connected name linked with the Panama Papers leak is Jarno Trulli, but the Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I have several companies in the world and all are run in a transparent manner.” And when asked why his name is also connected with Mossack Fonseca, former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told Italy’s L’Espresso: “I do not know this law firm.” (GMM)
Wehrlein hails Manor progress after midfield scrap
Pascal Wehrlein hailed the progress made by Manor after he was able to sustain a race-long fight in the midfield and collect 13th place at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“It was a great race for me,” he said. “I can’t even compare it to the one in Melbourne because it felt like a completely different race. The car was better, the way we could manage the tyres was better – everything was just a big improvement. It was quite chaotic to begin with but that happens in the midfield so I’m not going to complain. My start was good and I managed to avoid any contact, then the rest of the first stint was really good fun.”
Wehrlein revealed that worsening tyre degradation prevented him from passing Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson during the closing stages.
“It would have been good to take the second Sauber at the end but I had started to lose the tyres by then, we still experienced some tyre degradation, which is why we switched to a three-stop strategy, but it was much better than the last race and another good sign for us.”
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