F1's Conflicts of Interest


Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Events of the last few days have raised question, in my mind at least, of the conflicts of interest there are in F1 these days. Flavio Briatore is/was the manager of a number of drivers on the grid and, presumably, as part of his negotiations would have considered the relative competitiveness of the cars he was placing his drivers into. Did this give him, as the manager of a competing team, access to information which he would not normally have been able to know? Did he place drivers knowing they would not then pose a threat to the team he ran?

I’m not suggesting that the drivers would compromise their teams but, has been shown with the Piquet jnr incident; the patriarchal way in which Briatore managed his drivers did allow him to influence Nelsinho in a way which was clearly against the best interest of the sport.

Similarly the man who manages the commercial rights of the sport, Bernie Ecclestone, has a seat on the WMSC and (I believe) the World Motorsports Council, making decisions which will have a direct impact on his ability to generate revenue. The EU required the FIA to separate the governance and commercial aspects of F1, why then does the representative of the commercial rights holder have any involvement in sporting decisions and rule making?

Ecclestone is now on record as believing the punishment handed out to Briatore was too harsh. Why? These men have commercial interest outside of F1 together, has this influenced his objectivity? Surely in any court environment (even the pseudo judicial WMSC) you should have to declare an interest and not be involved in the judgement? Should the WMSC be got rid of and an impartial organisation such the Court of Arbitration for Sport be used instead?

With the race for the FIA Presidency hotting up what hope is there that a new President will address these problems which are extremely damaging for the sport? The decision of ING and Mutua Madrilena show that sponsors will not put up with any unacceptable practices and as this money is the life blood of F1 the FIA really need to get their act together sooner rather than later otherwise I suspect the teams may well struggle to raise enough money to reach even Max’s capped budget threshold.
I think more than a few of us have been thinking the same thing with increasing frequency.

I posted this on the other thread but I'll repeat it here.

Well for years the whole thing has been a bit like an "old boy's club" and all this has done is highlight it a bit more.

Take Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley.
Mosley used to be Ecclestone's team lawyer and is now the President of the FIA.
They are very good friends.

Bernie and Flavio Briatore are also very good friends and have joint business interests outside F1.

How can Bernie sit on the WMSC and pass judgement over his friend without bias?
He then goes on record to say the punishment was too harsh and Briatore should sue.

The issue of simultaneous team manager and driver manager though is very difficult to reconcile.
When Nelsinho Piquet's salary was reduced from $1.5 million to $1 million this year, did Briatore negotiate with himself?
Did he have the teams interests with regards to finances uppermost in his mind, or getting the best deal for his driver and subsequently his commission (20% for the next 15 years)?

It really is a nonsense that 1 person can hold both roles and that much control over a driver.

With regards to the FIA Presidency, didn't Ari say that he favoured a completely different process with respect to the WMSC, hearings and punishments?

The FIA may manage the sport but who manages the FIA?
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