The Sauber F1 Team and the Sahara Force India F1 Team have filed an official complaint to the European Union Regarding Anti-Competition Practices.
It has been a long time coming but we may finally see some change in the way prize money is distributed throughout Formula One thanks to the Sauber and Force India teams. Both have made an official anti-competition complaint to the European Union following years of vocal damnation at the way the bigger teams run the sport through the strategy group and shut the smaller teams out leaving them with no decision-making power and very little control.
Force India released the following statement at the time the news was made public: “Sahara Force India is one of two teams to have registered a complaint with the European Union questioning the governance of Formula One and showing that the system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula One’s rules are set is both unfair and unlawful. Due to the ongoing legal discussions, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”
If the European Union investigation finds that Sauber’s and Force India’s complaints are valid and true they will the intervene forcing the strategy group to either change the way it runs the sport and makes decisions or disband the strategy group all together which would give all teams equal power.
Force India and Sauber have rumbled on for some time now about the issues with the strategy group and its good to finally see them take some action, the strategy group has had far too much power for far too long and could be accused of limiting the amount of competitors on the grid by lowering prize money to the lower teams. For the last few years we have seen a number of teams fall away from the sport due to the increased costs and lower prize money, with the bulk of prize money being awarded to the top 5 teams, this has to change and I hope this will be the first step in the right direction. I expect this to be a lengthy process as the big teams will not lie down and allow their power to be removed but if it isn’t limited they are at risk of killing the sport and costing a lot of people their jobs.
Bernie Ecclestone Has responded to the complaint with the below comments.
“We haven’t discouraged or encouraged anybody to do anything, That’s what the European Union is there for, for these sorts of things.”
“They [the teams] must give it a go, and if they’re successful it’s good, and if not then it costs nothing.”
“The bottom line is, what they [the teams] are saying is we’re giving too much money to some people and not enough to the others,”
“But all this was done whereby everybody knew what they would be getting and what would happen, and they all signed contracts which were very clear.”
“They’ve had a change of heart I suppose, and I don’t blame them, not at all.”
“Somebody will have a look at it and either decide the agreements they’ve signed are valid and they stick by them, or they’re not valid and they have to be changed.”
“From our point of view it won’t make any difference at all.”
“I warned him this was going to happen, so he feels the same as me. He’s not disappointed or annoyed,”
“I knew when it was going to be announced. I was well informed by the people who are making the complaints, so it’s OK. No dramas.”
By: Chris Laker
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