The end of Formula One in its current state?


Staff Member
We are all well aware of just how out of touch Ecclestone is with the reality of F1.

Last week he held the second of two meetings with the teams, this time with those teams who are generally lower down the grid.
After that meeting he declared emphatically that all of the teams are financially stable and "richer than god".

Now though, Martin Whitmarsh has publicly refuted that claim and stated that on the contrary, most teams are struggling to survive.

This of course isn't news to most of us but once again this just highlights how out of touch Ecclestone is and reinforces the fact that something needs to change.

Whitmarsh had this to say:
Bernie has done a fantastic job for the owners. We can criticise him but he's doing a better job than we are. He's keeping the money on behalf of his employers. That money whistles out of the sport and that's deeply frustrating for some of us, but that's exactly what he should be trying to do. If the teams aren't cohesive enough to work together to secure a larger share, they have to blame themselves.

Why are the teams unable to break this person's stranglehold on the sport?
It's quite simple - work together and break the cycle.
Get a better deal or walk away; I have no doubt that would result in a change of the current status as without the teams F1 ceases to exist and there goes Ecclestone's cash-cow.

The constant inability of the teams to deal with this most damaging of issues is hugely frustrating for those involved with F1 and the fans.

There are a few articles about this worth reading.
Seeing that the FIA (aka Max Mosley) essentially gave the rights to F1 to Bernie, I don't see how the teams could "break away". Under what body would such a series take place? Who would arrange television revenue distribution etc?
I'm pretty sure that the teams could set up television contracts as a pooled business - the Premier League is a consortium with 20 shares issued to each club in turn, for example.

Do the FIA want to work with Ecclestone? I don't think they are particularly fussed with him vetoing their agendas with regard to environmentalism amongst other things.

With the 2009 breakaway, the teams picked a fight with the FIA. This was a mistake. They should have been in dialogue with the FIA to try to oust Ecclestone.

I often hear a lot about Ecclestone modernising and professionalising Formula One. However, look at any sport and compare the broadcasting and professionalism of the 1980s and the 2010s. All of them followed the same path - technology improving TV, science making the whole thing less chaotic and more corporate. Ecclestone rode these changes and claimed credit for them, but it seems to me like it is likely F1 would have improved immeasurably without him as all other sports did.

Ecclestone, CVC and FOM contractually have the teams where they want them, but I think the teams need to realise that those interests add no value to F1 and leech far more than they're worth.

The teams and the FIA should work together and threaten to simply just bugger off; Ecclestone is an unnecessary appendage to the sport.

By the way, anyone think teams could be losing sponsors because less people are watching F1 because its on Sky half the year.
Even if it was a christian's view, god has no money. Heck, I am not even sure that an omnipotent and omniscient being would have any need for money.

Either way, Bernie seems to be playing his usual games.
A break away series was probably a possibility five years ago, but now FOM have them by the balls - As Whitmarsh says there's immense sponsorship pressure to get more for your buck and it's always going to take sponsorship money to get the ball rolling such that the tv rights etc have value.

Basically F1 won't be able to get the backing to go anywhere for a few year yet, and by then we'll be out of the Bernie era, so who knows what rules will be being followed.
The problem with the current model of F1 is that it is designed around marketing and turning a profit for CVC and it's associated investment. The teams are expected to go along with this arrangement on a "better inside the tent pissing out, than outside pissing in" arrangement that see's them well fed by the scraps that fall from Bernie's table.

A break away series is highly unlikely until the power vacuum that will appear post Ecclestone, when it will be lucky if F1 survives in any sort of recognizable form from that which we see today.

Ecclestone and the FIA have prevented breakaways in the past by using the usual divide and rule technique. By keeping Ferrari on side they know that no alternative series would stand much chance of being credible. F1 would survive without Ferrari without blinking in the same way that Team Lotus, Brabham, Cooper, Alfa, Vanwall and many others have come and gone but no breakaway series could get by without Ferrari. In turn, Ferrari have used this knowledge to gain some of the most one sided rules in sporting history, such as the infamous "Technical Veto".

Ecclestone himself, would be more than happy just to see 20 cars go out on a Sunday and do 50 demonstration laps. As long as he can package and promote it, he can sell it. Obviously, we as committed fans of the sport want to see close, wheel to wheel racing and on track action coupled with unique and interesting engineering solutions but our financial input into the sport is so tiny in the overall scheme of things. For every angry fan who switches off after such debacles as Austria 02 or USA 05 there are dozens more still watching. It would take millions of people across the globe to suddenly stop watching for it to make any difference.

There has to be a will from the teams to spend less money for things to change on their front. That is never going to happen while there is a chance of winning a race. It's the technological arms race that happens every year and will go on happening while cars are developed. By making the rules so tight and the scope for improvement so narrow that it costs more and more to improve by a smaller and smaller margin. The cars are in a design dead end (a point they reached a long time ago) and only an entirely new set of rules will change that.

So, to my mind, the downward spiral will continue so long as the principle aim of the commercial rights holder is to make as much money for his company as possible, the path of design and regulation remains the same and most of all, so long as we, on mass, are prepared to watch.
Top Bottom