You can read elsewhere on the Internet what I consider to be absolute tosh in respect of third cars. This suggests that the big teams will supply the smaller teams with cars in the event of there not being enough teams to make up the numbers. As I have explained several times all the contractual details of F1 in these circumstances are confidential so no-one – Bernie Ecclestone included – is allowed to divulge details, except in very specific situations, which require written permission from the other signatories. Thus if the organ grinder has been giving details to his performing monkeys, he would be in breach of the agreements…
One does not imagine that Mr E would be doing such a thing. Having said that, the signatories are perfectly entitled to spin fantastic yarns about the future, as long as the truth is not included in the story, and if journalists are naive enough to take these stories at face value then they could easily end up with egg all over their faces.
The process of signing up all the teams to a new Concorde Agreement that runs from 2013 to 2020, with substantially the same deal going on until 2030, meant that the Formula One group (aka Bernie Ecclestone) did not really have the luxury to come up with all manner of exotic new solutions. The old Concorde Agreement (which took years to construct) covered all the necessary elements required and it was easier to use the same basic clauses to draw up the bilateral agreements with the teams. All of them, obviously, had to have the same basic terms, except when it came to money. There may have been some minor tweaks, but the idea of having big teams supply small teams with cars was very clearly not one of them. This would have stirred up untold opposition.
These contracts are legally-binding (for both sides) and so the Formula One group may now try to sway the smaller teams to agree to changes but one must remember that these teams took entire careers to build and they are not going to allow themselves to be destroyed because someone in the food chain decided that he needed more cars. Some of these teams would rather take the whole business down and see the Commercial Rights Holder lose his rights than agree to give up what they have built to date. The worst case scenario in such a situation would be that the FIA take over and exploit them, rather than the current bunch of golden goose stranglers.
Third cars are not going to happen this year. If they have to happen next year it will be on a random basis. Whatever the case, they will be bad news for the sport as they will weaken the manufacturing base and thus the strength of the sport. The irony, of course, is that there is plenty of money in the sport but it is going to the wrong places. Close to half is being sucked out by financiers who don’t care and the big teams are taking more than they should. The only answer is restructuring and the only people who can force this are the FIA. As guardians of the sport they need now to act. A cost cap has to be the first step. After that, there needs to be a new commercial structure. If it is allowed to drift on, further disaster awaits.