F1 links: Ecclestone warns FOTA over split

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Here’s a round-up of F1 news and other interesting links I’ve found today.

If you’ve spotted a hot news story, interesting new website or just something funny from the world of F1, please share your links in the comments below.

Bernie’s warning to warring teams

Bernie Ecclestone warns FOTA not to mount a breakaway championship (which was, of course, his threat in 1980 when head of FOTA): “Apart from my contracts with teams, if somebody went to any of our contracted people, companies, television contractors, we would view it very seriously. That would be inducement to breach contracts and I don’t do that myself so I won’t stand back and let it happen. Any action could run to hundreds of millions of pounds, who knows how much?”

Ferrari using Toro Rosso for engine testing

"Germany's 'Auto Motor und Sport' has reported that STR uses long life Ferrari engines during the Friday practices, having clocked around 2,500 km's up until then."

Hill warns F1 not to repeat IRL mistake

Damon Hill: "You only have to look over the pond to see what happens when you split a championship. It's difficult enough to draw people into one particular sport, so what will they make of two separate championships? It would just dilute it."

Toyota’s Yamashina returns to Japan

"It is not clear if the decision to base Toyota's team principal back in Japan, rather than in Cologne, is linked to the imminent appointment of Akio Toyoda as Toyota Motor Company's new president later this month."

STR targets Hungary for new diffuser

Giorgio Ascanelli: "It is not just a simple bolt on. You have to change the rear suspension and the cooling, hydraulics and things like that. Also, we've been waiting for Red Bull Racing to finalise what it thinks is the definitive design, as we are not in a position to try several different ones."

Schu, Vettel to defend RoC title in Beijing

"German stars Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel have confirmed they will attempt to win a hat-trick of team titles when the Race of Champions moves to Beijing in November."

Button’s shock loss on F1 circuit

"He may be 26 points clear at the top of the standings in one of the most competitive motorsports in the world. But can Jenson Button win at Scalextric?"

Brawn: Crisis is unnerving sponsors

Ross Brawn: "I have to be frank – what's going on now with the entry and other stuff doesn't help anybody's situation. Partners for the future want to know where they are partners of. All this difficulty is extremely damaging commercially for all in Formula 1."

These are links I’ve bookmarked using Delicious. You can see my Delicious profile here.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “F1 links: Ecclestone warns FOTA over split”

  1. That’s right bernie, control the sport with threats.

    1. i believe he’s used the terms “sue their asses off” and “sue them into oblivion” in the past.

      has anyone else noticed how each teams contract expires at a different time? i believe this is key to fom keeping control. the interleaving of timeframes prevents everyone from walking away at the same time. 2012 is being spoken of quite a bit lately, so maybe the teams are trying to syncronize and solidify their position.

  2. Why does bolshey always come in little packages?

  3. yes he may be able to sue them but he cannot sue teams that have been excluded from a championship.

    Further to that he also cannot sue a team if they decide to run in two different series, he cannot sue teams for allowing second rate cars and second rate drivers to enter in F1 for that company and lose the best drivers and cars to a rival championship.

    To be really honest Bernie’s position sounds like an empty threat, especially considering that he was working to get FOTA and FIA in the same room.

  4. As bernie said if the teams approach existing areas with contracts. But this does not work in reverse, therefore there is no breach. Bernie knows this aswell. Bernie also knows, that all his tv network deals, track deal will have clauses such as the fielding of 20 race cars of which, Ferrari, Mclaren etc etc must be on the grid. And the requirement to have the race televised to some many viewers. this would also go with major sponsorship deals. It will be he who is in breach of a contract if the teams up and leave. Apart from williams there is nothing forcing the teams to compete in next years championship.

    His arguement for commencement of another series is lame aswell. Bernie does not pay the tracks, the tracks pays bernie. Between tv revenue a new series could generate, in addition to tracks fee’s being less then a 3rd of what bernie charges, racing in a new series not only becomes extremely profitable for the track but also for the new teams. If fee to host a race is 2million vs 10 – 15 million, tracks keep all revenue from ticket sales. They can make an absolute fortune and ticket prices will be significanlty cheaper for fans.

    A new series with the current fota memeber (all 8) will give them an annual return equal to if not greater then what they currenlty get. Remember teams only get 50% (500million) of the tv revenue worth approx 1 billion a year. A new series 90% of the revenue will be distributed to the teams (10% for management). It wont be worth a billion however im sure they could easily get 500million in the first year. They control the sport and incomes. Not only that they also get huge $$ from all other side deals.

  5. I’ll just say what I posted in another blog:

    I don’t think this break is going to happen, no matter how much you guys hate Max.
    The sheer logistics of starting some sort of breakaway series would be extremely daunting, and no way would it happen in time for 2010. And expensive as heck!
    I dont see the manufacturers ponying up *another couple of hundred million on top of their existing expenses to pay for it all, either.
    Remember these are *manufacturers. They exist solely to make profits for the ppl that own them by selling cars. They’ll quit the minute they dont sell enough cars, just like Honda.
    The small, independant teams are in it for the racing. Thats all they do and they’re not likely to quit for non-racing reasons.

    1. This isn’t necessarily about a break-away series, I think we are just going to see the FOTA teams walk away from F1, and not start any new series until the climate is right, if at all.
      After all, if its too expensive to compete in F1, then it must be too expensive to compete in anything else.
      This will be a new beginning for F1 with smaller independant teams. But just like in the past, the Manufacturers will gradually return as the economic situation improves.

  6. FOTA haven’t really pushed the idea of a breakaway series publically have they? But Ferrari did say that there are other motorsport series they could compete in. So I think if Ferrari aren’t in F1 next year it is more likely they are at Le Mans than in Formula X.

    1. I f Bernie ties them up in court, Ferrari won’t have the money to be in another series…

  7. So they’re moving the Race of Champions from Europe to China. great. A half-empty stadium, half-full of people who don’t know what they’re watching. Is Bernie running that too?

    1. Last year wasn`t too well attended, anyway, ajokay.
      Lots of people didn`t see spending the money to sit & freeze for a day when most of it is spent waiting for things to happen. (Not my words but what people have said).
      I heard that there were several other venues who put in to hold the RoC. China won for some reason. I don`t know why.

  8. From the RoC website:

    #92: The Race Of Champions Moves To Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium
    – The Race of Champions 2009 to become first international sports event to take place in China’s national stadium since 2008 Olympic Games

    – Event date moved to early November, immediately after Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

    The Race of Champions – the ultimate end-of-season motorsport battle – will become the first international sports event to be staged at China’s national stadium since the 2008 Summer Olympics when it takes place on November 3-4, 2009.

    The “Bird’s Nest” stadium will host the event, which moves from Wembley after a two-year run at England’s national stadium and three years at the Stade de France in Paris. The 2009 event, which will start just two days after the Formula 1 season reaches its climax in Abu Dhabi, will move from a weekend to a midweek event for the first time.

    The event will be staged over two days, with the ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday, November 3 and The Race of Champions on Wednesday, November 4, to offer spectators a more extensive exhibitions line-up, plus the possibility of more competitors and teams than ever before.

    Speaking about the move, Fredrik Johnsson, President of Event Organisers IMP, enthused, “we received exciting proposals from five world-class stadia, but after the incredible Olympics last year, Beijing’s candidacy was difficult to ignore. The Bird’s Nest venue is awesome and having spent the last five years at two of Europe’s biggest stadiums, we were thrilled about the opportunity to take The Race of Champions to Asia for the first time, to another of the world’s most iconic sporting arenas.”

    Mr Li Jianyi, General Manager of Great Gate, managing company of the Bird’s Nest, said of the agreement: “Following last year’s Olympics, we now possess one of the world’s best sporting stadia and will continue to stage elite international sporting competition in Beijing. We are very excited about The Race of Champions coming. The stadium has already hosted the world’s fastest athletes; now it will host the world’s fastest racers.”

    1. And I have to say the whole thing is turning into a spin-fest, since from what I have seen in previous years, no current ‘Champions’ ever attend it, apart from Sebastian Loeb…..

  9. To be fair it is a charity event not a race.
    You can`t really race round a track laid out in a football/athletic stadium.
    It hasn`t been a real race since it stopped being held on circuits.
    I can remember seeing one at Brands Hatch many years ago. The current format is nothing like the old Race of Champions but it sin`t intended to be.

  10. Bigbadderboom
    11th June 2009, 18:19

    Bernie seems to be making a lot of noise for somebody who states he is confident of his legal postion. I wonder how the partners at CVC are viewing this, F1 is a wholly owned CVC investment and these guys do not muck about when it comes to their investments. I think Bernie is feeling more heat than he is giving, F1 without Ferrari would see global audiences tumble and questions would be asked about the validity of the content he is delivering to the TV rights holders, who would see their own advertising revenue deteorate as audiances fall away (obviousley except BBC who would face their own problems from the boards that protect license payers).
    For me the biggest irony is that in the end it will prove that Max is bad for Bernie, Max’s insistence on interfering with F1 affairs and aggrevate teams, detroying relationships that Bernie has spent so long nurturing, may yet cost Bernie dearly.
    I hope they sort this, I want Ferrari and all competing with the best drivers at the pinnacle of motorsport, I don’t want a watered down, faded version with jumped up GP2/F3 teams.

  11. It is almost confirmed now that the Scuderia Ferrari have been using Toro Rosso to test their engine reliability throughout the course of a Grand Prix weekend. Germany’s ‘Auto Motor und Sport’ has reported that STR uses long life Ferrari engines during the Friday practices, having clocked around 2,500 km’s up until then.

    Could this be interpreted as more dishonesty by Ferrari sliding around the spirit of the rules.

    Ross Brawn may talk about sponsors being unnerved by the FIA FOTA crisis, but I’d be surprised if that includes Richard Branson as he believe all publicity is good publicity…

  12. Could this be interpreted as more dishonesty by Ferrari sliding around the spirit of the rules.

    Not sure how anyone can interpret that as Ferrari being dishonest.
    Ferrari supply STR with engines & STR have to abide by the same engine rules as everyone else.
    The fact that the engines are long life is what the extended engine life rule is all about surely?

  13. Indeed and the teams always feedback information and data to the engine suppliers on a whole range of technical and performance issues etc. Therefore they are getting additional ‘testing’ data…

    1. And yes one could even say the same about Toyota and Mercedes…

      1. That`s what I was meaning, Chaz. :)
        Sorry I forgot to end block quote in my previous reply

  14. Indeed and the teams always feedback information and data to the engine suppliers on a whole range of technical and performance issues etc. Therefore they are getting additional ‘testing’ data…”

    but surely the same could be said of Brawn & Mercedes or between any customer team & its’ engine supplier.
    The only problem I can see is, as the article says, deterioration but that`s a matter between Ferrari & STR.

    1. So are these engines being counted as Ferrari’s eight or STR’s eight?
      If STR manage to blow up a Ferrari engine, will they get the penalty? That sounds like dirty tricks to me……

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