Last ditch moments

The Formula 1 Paddock at Silverstone is full of people saying different things about the future of the sport. While the Fleet Street boys can eke a story out of the latest Jenson Buttonisms or Lewis Hamilton’s quotes of the week, the truth is that there is no real news out there. Why? Because there is only one story in F1. Everything else rests on the outcome of that. There are no driver rumours, there are no new sponsors. Everything is frozen.

Tonight the there will be another attempt to sort out the problems, with a meeting planned for the Renault F1 base at Enstone. Will it be any more successful than the other meetings? Hmmm…

The scenario now being discussed is one in which FOTA sticks together. The Monaco GP goes with them and then Bernie Ecclestone follows the money – which is probably the only way that CVC can get their debt repayments made (and that will involve much refinancing). The FIA would then be left in a bit of a state without much of a series beyond Williams and Force India.

15 thoughts on “Last ditch moments

  1. I had this idea; instead of FOTA starting a new series, they can just take one over… the IRL. I am not suggesting that FOTA is going oval racing. Instead, they can use that basic skeleton to make a championship of their own liking.

    It is no secret that the George Family wants to unload the leauge. On top of that, there are really no teams of any value in the series other than Andretti Green and Penske. They would be buying a series with two dynamite races, Indy 500 and Long Beach. They can get it cheap. More importantly, they can rule the roost since AAA, the George family, and everyone else would give them cart blanc to save the league and the Indy 500 (with a little revenge on Max on the side.)

    I know it is farfetched and will not happen, it just shows how much of a dangerous situation the FIA is at the moment with this fight. The FIA has everything to lose if the teams leave. It is also a miscalculation of what the fans want. After all, I don’t get up at 5:00 AM pacific time on race Sundays to watch Max Mosley give a speech.

  2. I still have a feeling that Bernie has engineered this whole situation. I am sure he convinced Max to introduce the two tier system and the budget cap in the certain knowledge of how the the teams would react.

    There were two potential outcomes. Either FOTA would collapse in acrimony and he and Max could resort to their usual divide and rule tactic or FOTA would stick together and form a breakaway.

    Any prolonged dispute and breakaway dramatically reduces the value of CVC’s F1 investment and will encourage them to sell it to Bernie at a significantly reduced price. He can then do a deal with FOTA to slide the broadcast and circuit contracts over to that championship and as that is likely to be a more stable environment in its first few years he should be able to sell again at a very good profit after 2 or 3 seasons.

  3. May I daydream idly for a bit?

    Mosley stands on the bow and goes down with the ship. F1 2010 launches with Campos, Manor, USGPE, Williams, Force India, Prodrive, and one of Gerhard Berger’s friends who put some money together.

    Ferrari throws its weight behind a group of businessmen and past champions, and other teams jump on board. Ferrari, Lola, Brawn, Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus, Renault, BMW, and Toyota join the newfounded PLR, Premier League Racing. The group piggybacks and expands on the infrastructure around Le Mans series racing. Audi, Peugot, and Acrua begin working on cars for 2011. At the end of the 2010 season the F1 teams jump ship to join the PLR. The feeder series scramble to follow the PLR cars around each weekend, with a renamed or competing version of GP2 emerging.

    The World Champions from 2006-2009 (Alonso Raikkonen Hamilton Button) battle it out in PLR’s initial year, where tv contracts and circuit facilities are not as flashy, manicured, or safe as those “privileged” tracks with an FOM contract. The courses run include world class circuits that have been rebuffed by Bernie’s whim, and every fan who ever said “I wish they still ran at location X” is satisfied.

    In 2012 there are twenty teams and every major engine manufacturer builds a car. Each team has 2 cars, so two qualifying races are run, with one car per team in each race. (Now we’re getting crazy.) The top 14 from each “sprint” make the 28-car grand prix feature.

    Last year’s constructor’s champion gets 3% of this year’s revenue. 2nd place gets 2.95%, 3rd gets 2.9%, … 20th gets 2.05%. Totaling 50.5% of revenue goes to teams.

    I get involved with a few promoters to make it all happen, then start a PLR merchandise store, and work happily around the world’s fastest cars every day.
    Ah, dreaming is fun.

  4. So if FOTA breaks away and starts their own series, is there any chance of any of the new teams that applid for F1 backing out and following? I’m sure there are lots of conditions that must be met for them to start up their teams, but being American, I would love to see the USF1 team running in the same series as the FOTA temas since they are the ones i will follow and watch regardless.

  5. I think you are right about about that. Barring Mosley stepping down or, worse, backing down and staying in place I can’t see any other way for Bernie and CVC to get their money.

  6. Joe
    I just want to thank you again for your revealing blog – it helps to get a “translation” of the BS that is spewing from every PR source (or should I say orifice) in F1. So, so, so tired of all this. I just hope against hope that one way or the other, we get a final decision tomorrow, because otherwise at least half of the coverage of the final GP at Silverstone will be wasted on more speculation.

    My hopes aren’t high though – do you think we could get a deal/breakaway tomorrow?

  7. FOTA going their own way en masse is probably best for the long-term health of the sport and the show.

  8. So, now (i.e., post this post by Joe Saward) we know the outcome.

    I would not be inclined to say it’s all over yet for The Mosley. He may yet go down on this knees (and please, class, no snarky asides here — this is serious) and beg to be let back into the super secret boyz club with their wizard toyz. But that ain’t gonna happen, for my money.

    Bernie, meanwhile — who is not treated well in the FOTA statement — will possibly have better success if he is willing to up his percentage to the teams a notch or so.

    That leaves Force India and Williams. The former is in deep water per a NY Times article of today, in which it is suggested that Mr. Mallya’s adventures in air travel are about to crash. However, Mr. Mallya also sells beer, always a good bet in down economic times — so who knows?

    And will Williams be content with “a Saturday night dirt oval scene in the deep boonies of Indiana” (per a recent comment of yers truly)? No f*cking way, is my guess. Here’s the fatal flaw in Mosley: He knows, like any despot (not to mention any so clever lawyer), that squishy laws mean squishy interpretation of same. If you keep your subjects guessing, you have them where you want them.

    We know about the Concorde Agreement (though we don’t know what it is). We know that Williams likely has other contractual commitments to Mosley (er, excuse me, the FIA), to Bernie, and so forth and so on. And we know that those agreements are likely riddled with just the sort of squishy clauses that Williams’ lawyers are currently, in the wee London hours, poring over for an out.

    And they will likely find it.

    The thing about Saturday night dirt oval racing in Indiana is that it is really quite wholesome. The air is fresh. The atmosphere is overwhelmingly “family”. And if that is not enough for your tastes, there is always cheap American beer, cotton candy, and corn dogs. Also, if you are so foolish as to sit in the lower stands just at the exit of the last turn, you will be treated to a perfect storm of shrapnel-like dirt clods on each and every lap.

    I gotta think Mosley will feel quite at home there.

  9. So we wake up this morning to a press release that FOTA are to host their own series.

    If this is indeed true, and I for one wouldn’t be too sad if it were, one must hope that the fans will win out.

    A lot of work will need to be done, I’m sure that a lot already has.

    Funny old world ain’t it?

  10. What’s Williams thinking right now?

    “Oh shi…”, or, “we’ve made the right call”?

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