Poll Where does the Power lie?

Where does the Power lie?

  • Total voters


Hans Heyer
In light of recent political manoeuvrings by Ferrari and RBR, both with themselves in mind, it made me wonder who of what has the most control over the increasingly unstable sport. Whilst all have some sort of of power, vote for the ones you believe to be the most influential.

Bernie and FOM: They control where all the rights go and ultimately most Formula One money passes through them at some point.

Jean and the FIA: Officially in power, but as was seen with the blown diffusers they can't make whatever rules they like.

FOTA and Co: 12 selfish and contrasting viewpoints have lately rocked FOTA who were able to manipulate the FIA in the run up to the current concorde agreement. Now looking as weak as ever.

Ferrari, RBR (and HRT): Ferrari and RBR left to for reportadley being disheartened by the stalemate. However it is most likely they have their own plans, they must be well-thought as it is a big risk to leave (HRT wouldn't pay, and don't really do much in the way of F1 politics)

The TV companies: Well Sky having earned a load more subscriptions certainly seem to be able to defy Teams and Sponsors interests, but it was a deal crafted by FOM.

The Fans: The 'casual viewers' who apparently are the reason for DRS and the die-hard fans who couldn't bring themselves to boycott anything. Biggest problem is opposing interests.

The Sponsors: A huge portion of the teams income, but very quiet recently.

The Drivers (GPDA): Except the odd grumble over safety they have also been relatively quiet.
I think (through ingrained personal bias built over he last 35 years of F1) that the influence of Ferrari, Todt and Bernie are the key aspects. Ferrari bang on that they ARE F1, their former helmsman is now conning (in nautical terms, of course) the governing body of world motorsport. Bernie is the chancellor of the F1 exchequer, controlling funds in and funds out.
The departure of Ferrari and RBR from FOTA is an intriguing moment, one which I think is only partially of note because of the resource restrictions; what these two need is a third big player (take the next bit with a pinch of salt) such as Mclaren, Mercedes or Williams to join them and we have an interesting tipping point arriving where the thirdcarspendwhatyoulikewe'rebiggerthanyou argument is wielded as an adjunct to the "FOM? We don't need FOM" breakaway threat.
Just thoughts.
Interesting poll this this one.I voted FOM (money) Ferrari due their name and history. TV companies as they bring a large amount of (guess what) money.
The sponsors are interested in emerging markets ie Far East, Russia,India and now Mexican and South Africa.
Sadly the fans account for very little in real terms.Hard facts are that the only fans who give anything to F1 are the ones who attend races.
The fans ROFL

I would say the FIA, all the teams (bar HRT LOL) and the sponsors and the TV companies. Bernie has no real power because he's in thrall to the TV companies, as the BBC/Sky stitch-up showed
To me, the real powers are the FOM and the sponsors. I doubt that Bernie (curse him) would even be trying to re-establish F1 in the U.S. if it weren't for the expressed wishes (demands) of the sponsors who consider it one of their most important markets.

All of the others are and will remain bit players unless and until they unite and exercise their collective power.
I think the reason that there is so much political complexity and intrigue is that the power is pretty evenly balanced between the three major 'forces' - the teams (incorporating their sponsors and manufacturer partners), FOM and the FIA. The teams cannot exist without FOM (certainly they would be a lot poorer); likewise FOM has nothing of value without the teams.

So they each push against the others' boundaries as much as they can, but in the end they've always agreed to continue the uncomfortable alliance for the greater benefit of the whole. If one party grows too powerful - whether Balestre's FISA, Bernie, Ferrari or Mosley's FIA, eventually the power of the others restores a form of equilibrium to the system. Why? Because the alternative is a very hard road indeed.
The power lies where ever F1 perceives the money is.

We have a winner!

While every one of the parties listed in the poll would like to believe that they have "power" in deciding what direction F1 should take, they actually hold very little sway.

Modern F1 is dependent on government subsidies from around the globe. If you've got the cash, you've got a race. Pretty simple. No cash, no chance. (See Austin)

But why are countries and their governments so eager to fill the coffers of CVC, FOM, FIA, etc.. Well, in my opinion it's because the product is so utterly fantastic.

So in actuality, everybody is should be in this together, for as long they're able to show up in some far-flung corner of the globe and run advanced machinery to the absolute limits of human capabilities for an enormous profit, then they would be wise to remember this and not constantly bicker in an attempt to get the "upper-hand" at another party's expense.
Bernie. He's clever I'll give him that. He always comes out on top, gets his way and makes sure any underhand dealing cant come back to haunt him. Grrrr!
The balance of power between FOM, FIA and the F1 teams behind the scenery of F1 is a bit like trying to juggle a burning chainsaw, a razor-sharp axe and an infuriated cat, all at the same time. When the juggler can keep them all up in the air, it looks bloody spectacular, but if any one them gets too heavy, you end up with lots of fingers on the floor...

...sadly, all the fans ever get to do is watch, and hope that the cat doesn't get hurt! Trouble is, the spectacle is very compelling, and the prospect of a fumble just as enthralling as a perfectly-executed juggling act...
I think the interesting thing from the poll, rightly or wrongly, is that the perception is that Bernie and co run the show. And that perception itself has a lot of power, I've often heard the phrase "perception is reality".
Unfortunately it sits with the guy that looks after his interests first, then the FIA followed by the teams, the drivers and if we're lucky there may be a cursory acknowledgement towards the fans but this appears to be very much as a result of a spin off from something else. Sad really but that's how I see it.
Much as I would like to go along with Keke and Snowy I think the graph one would draw as a result of the poll is probably quite close. CVC and FOM control the access to, and distribution of, much of the money (i.e. from the circuit fees, teams deposits, fees from TV and publicity rights, etc.) and the FIA controls the sporting and technical regulation of F1. In reality I would think that FOM/CVC have a little less power and the FIA a little more. Perhaps the sponsors have a little more by virtue of the impact of their funds on the health or otherwise of the recipient teams.

A year or so ago FOTA may have had more power but with any teams leaving the organisation their credibility and therefore their position is seriously weakened. The TV companies may also have the illusion that they have power but they are actually second level consumers whilst we, the followers and fans are the first level consumers. It remains to be seen what the impact will be following the slashing of so called "free to air" (which it never has been since we all pay for our TV licences) and the switch to Sky. Fans could in theory reclaim power by boycotting Sky but that is unlikely to happen since the only ones who will not switch to Sky will be those in the UK who can't afford it. So powerless we shall remain - 0% is about right!
Bernie. He is the puppet master who pulls the strings of f1. The fans, as stated by the comments above, clearly have none.

Money talks!
Bernie pays the teams, Bernie pays the FIA, Bernie sets the teams against each other to bring down organisations which threaten his power. Bernie introduces teams to sponsors, engine suppliers to teams, drivers to managers. He negotiates the TV rights, the sponsorship contracts, global contracts such as tyre supply.

Bernie's skill is letting others think they have some power and influence whilst knowing he has absolute control. As much as he has made some daft decisions about where races go I do worry for the future of F1 when he retires or turns his toes up. There will be a huge power struggle and I think we will end up with the sort of nonsense we have in boxing or what the US has been through in open wheel racing.

Sometimes a dictator is necessary evil.
...and because the other parties are all too interested in their own self interest to be able to run the sport without pulling it apart (my apologies for the English). Bernie filled a vacuum (for want of a better description) between the governing body and the teams, made many people VERY rich through the way he runs the sport and they are all beholden to him for this.

Did you know, before Bernie took over, the teams paid the circuits to race? He may have gone too far now but doesn't that seem daft?

As FOTA has proven the all the teams can do is agree to disagree as all they want is what is best for them and not the sport. For all Bernie's faults he has made F1 what it is today and stops it ripping apart at the seams with a very clever divide and rule policy. The FIA couldn't (can't because of EU law?) do what Bernie does. The teams are incapable and they have had numerous opportunities to buy Bernie out. The sponsors want maximum return on their investment, which Bernie gives them. The TV companies and (especially) the circuits bitch and moan about the fees but they keep coming back and coughing up the cash.

For all his faults I doubt F1 would exist today without Bernie Ecclestone. He has profited enormously from this but so have many others - especially the team principals such as Frank Williams, Eddie Jordan, Ron Dennis et al. They all moan but they all keep coming back because FOM lines their pockets, provides the TV coverage for their sponsors, ship their cars and people around the World for free and controls the excesses of the FIA. Bernie needs the teams and the FIA but, I believe, the teams and the FIA need Bernie more.
I'm not sure I subscribe to the idea that "all the teams want is what is best for them and not the sport". FOTA as an organisation does have a fundamental flaw in that the teams are all in competition with each other within the sport. Therefore there will always be difficulties, especially when the agenda touches "technological raw nerves".

I mean, if a team has invested time and money on something that may give them an advantage in competition, it stands to reason that they will seek to defend and protect that advantage. I feel, though, that that is a far cry from not wanting the best for the sport as a whole. After all, reaping the rewards of F1 requires a team to be successful in F1, with all of the hard work and stress that that entails. If some of the people in a team are not as passionate about the sport as they are about their team, then I don't believe they would last five minutes in it. As far as motor sport is concerned, F1 has to be the ultimate in high demand, high output and high success, matched only by the depth of rejection and despair for those that fail to make the cut.

It's one thing to criticise the teams (quite rightly in my book) for their failure to capitalise on the power of unity but quite another, I feel, to say that they lack commitment to the sport. I think it is significant that the two teams leaving FOTA are red Bull, the currently dominant WCC/WDC team and Ferrari, the team that held that sway not too long ago. It seems to me that if we are talking "commitment to the sport" those two teams are the ones behaving in the more selfish vein rather than those that remain in FOTA.

At the end of the day though, we are talking about a gigantic "rich guys club" and we all know that you don't get rich by being overtly altruistic and philanthropic. Altruism and philanthropy is easy once the riches have been secured, methinks.:thinking:

So, why do the teams devolve so much power and responsibility to the FOM and FIA? Probably for the same reason that an electorate leaves its destiny in the hands of its government. We don't want the job or the aggravation, thank you very much!:goodday:
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