Should teams boycott race to force action on costs?

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Rumours persist that three teams could boycott this weekend’s United States Grand Prix in an effort to force those in charge of F1 to take action over costs.

Force India, Lotus and Sauber have been linked to a potential withdrawal from the race in reaction to the loss of two teams since the last round of the championship.

Representatives from the three teams made it clear during yesterday’s press conference they expect the sport’s commercial rights holders (Bernie Ecclestone and CVC) and governing body (the FIA) to improve the distribution of revenue and reduce costs to prevent further teams from collapsing.

But it is necessary for them to pull out of a race to make that point?


The fact two teams went into administration after the Russian Grand Prix may have been a shock but could hardly be described as a surprise. F1’s smaller teams have been warning for months if not years that rising costs and the unequal distribution of revenue would cause this to happen.

But nothing was done, and the three most vulnerable teams may feel this is their best opportunity to force Ecclestone to respond. It will not have escaped their attention that the FIA behaved in an accommodating way towards Marussia and Caterham, even encouraging its own stewards to take the financial situation into consideration when responding to their absence from the race.


At a time when the sport is on the verge of a crisis, a boycott could tip it over the edge. And threatening to do so in the United States is certain to hit a nerve – this is a vital market for Formula One and many will recall the dismal spectacle of the six-car grid which lined up in 2005 due to another political row.

However the boycotters could weaken their own position as well as damaging the sport. If they do not take part in the grand prix but an entertaining race goes ahead, it will invite the question of whether the sport needs them in the first place.

I say

Ecclestone has rigged F1 against the smaller teams by excluding them from the Strategy Group and paying their rivals huge sums. If they are forced out, F1 will be a poorer spectacle with even smaller grids.

Three-car teams is a sticking-plaster – it will not solve the fundamental problem of F1’s unworkable revenue structure, and leave it with a dangerous over-reliance on a diminishing number of teams supplying a larger proportion of the grid.

It would be a remarkable show of unity if the trio did pull out. Force India are punching above their financial weight in their battle with McLaren, and Lotus and Sauber could stand to gain by racing – particularly the latter who have their highest qualifying position of the year thanks to Adrian Sutil.

But Marussia’s plight – falling into administration despite holding their best-ever position of ninth in the constructors’ championship – shows that even success on the track may not save them from financial oblivion. Forced into an increasingly desperate situation, desperate measures may be all that remain – and by leaving FOM unable to meet its obligation to provide at least 16 cars, this may be their strongest card. With the future of F1 at stake, they deserve a measure of support, albeit grudgingly as no one really wants to see it come to this.

You say

Should Force India, Lotus and Sauber boycott the race to demand action on F1 costs?

  • No opinion (6%)
  • No (39%)
  • Yes (55%)

Total Voters: 339

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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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120 comments on “Should teams boycott race to force action on costs?”

  1. Absolutely not.

      1. why they should?

      2. @keithcollantine For the reasons that you stated above. There was nothing that I needed to add to what you said in the article. :)

        1. @craig-o Fair enough :-)

          1. I have an opinion but it is not yes or no, I think they should boycott Abu double not Austin.@keithcollantine.

          2. @hohum

            Ahh good suggestion!

          3. @hohum – rather than a boycott, imagine if the ‘small teams’ raced at Abu Double in Marussia livery. It would be for the viewer to decide if the six or so identical cars was a protest about money or an act of solidarity for our friend in a Japanese hospital. The commentators would have a bit of a job, however the race would be a race and no team need lose points (e.g. the Sauber situation where they have qualified well at COTA and therefore cannot do a boycott).
            Although F1 has never worked in USA, a lot of work has gone into COTA and it is a wonderful circuit. I think F1 needs to make COTA work. Abu Double? Is that yet another Tilkedome with no fans present? Probably. Whatever, Abu Double has a lot of promise for a novelty protest event.

      3. Because F1 is a pinnacle of motor sport and it to stay that way teams need to spend money to reach technological progress and achieve maximum from set regulations. Big teams take part because they know there is enough freedom in F1 to do these things. Marussia and Caterham were undermining what F1 is all about. We often questioned whether GP2 cars were faster than them. Midfield teams are somewhere in the middle, not exactly able to afford but have quite a few competent people able to show results time to time. Boycotting seems too harsh an action at this race. I say announce race strike in advance (like tube strikes :) and see if teams / FIA start negotiations.

      4. petebaldwin (@)
        1st November 2014, 23:20

        @keithcollantine – To answer your question:

        Because the people it would affect most is the fans. People have paid huge sums to watch the race and it seems wrong to attack them. They perhaps won’t go to the GP next year but that will make littler difference to Bernie & Co.

        I absolutely agree with @ivan-vinitskyy though. Announce a boycott of double points super bonanza mega weekend at Abu Dhabi unless discussions take place before hand.

      5. @keithcollantine because i’m at the bloody race thats why the hell not.

    1. I voted yes, even if I think it’ll hurt the sport a lot tomorrow, even more in the USA:

      But what other chances do Sauber, Lotus, Force India and all the other small teams that might or might not be on the way have?

      It’s their chance to punch, really. The top teams will never care about it, and lets be honest, one of those top teams have done some serious damage to the sport by lobbying everything and altering championships on the go. So why should smaller teams show respect if they are not respected at all?

      1. Yeah its a shame for US fans, this might be the second time that they paid lot of money to see a race and end up getting a mockery.

        With that said FOM knows how much untapped potential they have with F1 in the Americas, and this could hurt them a lot. So this might be the bargaining chip required to push some sort of equality through.

      2. I feel like voting yes, but because i fear it would only have impact on these teams themselves, I am not quite sure an voted no opinion.

    2. I think they should boycott the Abu Dhabi race rather than the American GP. The Americans don’t deserve this sort of thing happening to them again.
      Although wherever it happenedand whoever it included, I very much doubt Bernie would even notice…

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st November 2014, 20:30

        I agree but perhaps it might make Americans more interested in F1. After all, half of F1 probably has nothing to do with the sport or the races themselves. Following F1 is like watching a sports version of Dallas or Dynasty:-)

      2. @brawngp I agree. They should boycott, but not the US GP.

        My perception, as an Australian fan, is that the American fans have been screwed around too much already in recent years by Formula 1.

        Additionally, I think boycotting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will have a stronger impact. The FOM has tried to set it up as the prestige event of the calendar, with the double points and all. Imagine the fall out for the FOM. The Sheikhs in Abu Dhabi have invested hundreds if not billions of dollars in building a purpose built state of the art circuit, and the pay millions of dollars a year to host the final race of the season. They are not going to be happy if half the teams boycott their race, and they are going to be asking questions of FOM of why half the teams are boycotting. If the FOM then try to pass the buck and blame the teams, I don’t think that will go down well with the Sheiks.

        From my limited understanding of Emirati culture, you look after your own people, which is what the Sheiks do with their Emirati constituents. I don’t imagine the FOM letting their own teams fail, and then having the FOM blame the teams, is going to wash well with the Sheiks.

        Having said that, I am doubtful that any of the teams will actually boycott. They can’t organise themselves to pull off something as daring as holding a boycott.

        1. Agreed. I’m at COTA and there are loads of fans (a lot of Mexican support) who want a great race. The Caterham autograph and Q and A session was pathetic.

          1. You should have just stopped at ‘Agreed. I’m at COTA’, we understand.

      3. Despite being here at COTA, I think if they’re going to do it at all, this weekend would be better. If they wait and do it at Abu Dhabi then the season is over, the coverage is over, and most people, including casual fans, won’t hear or care about it until next March when Melbourne rolls around. If they do it now, it’s guaranteed to at least be a talking point at the next two races.

        That being said I think it would definitely do some serious damage to F1’s success in the US. With Mexico already on the calendar next year potentially stealing some fans from COTA, it may take a long time to recover attendance and interest.

  2. The question should not be ‘should they boycott?’ but ‘will a boycott work?’

    I can’t really see a boycott/threat of a boycott persuading Bernie to do anything. He’s too busy feathering his own nest.

    1. It will work. Trust me.

      1. how are you so sure? trust me

        1. F1 with ten or so cars will be a joke. And they can ruin F1’s reputation in the biggest economy of the world. This can make the other side involved realize, that they can not treat the small teams as doormats and that they are important and have to be dealt with.

    2. A boycott can work, just not a boycott of the USGP. While it would seriously hurt the commercial rights holder because it would absolutely end any possibility of additional races in the US, hurt the ability to sign US sponsors, and possibly kill the Austin GP; the level of fan outrage world wide would be minimal. The fact of the matter is F1 in the US is a niche sport at best right now. You could kill it off entirely and not move the needle on the world wide audience for F1. People would talk about it on that day, but by the next week the boycott would be back page news.

      The boycott should happen in Brazil. They have a very large, very passionate fan base. Where the US fans will say “not this again” and go back to ignoring the sport; the Brazilians will raise a huge fuss and will not let the boycott be an event that happened one day and had no real impact beyond that one particular day. If you want an effective boycott it has to be a race with a loud fan base: Brazil, Italy, British GP, etc. or a showcase race like Monaco. That will get people talking and keep them talking for weeks.

  3. Yes, but only because I think the commercial rights holder and others in charge wouldn’t take notice of a simple demand.
    Obviously I wouldn’t be happy this year to see a small grid for one race, but I would be even sadder if next year we saw a really small grid throughout the season.

  4. I say they shouldn’t.

    While action should be taken, I think there are different ways to do so than boycotting a race for financial reasons. It throws a lot of implications into the realm of journalism (why will F1 boycott for cash, but not for human rights?) as well as throw a massive opportunity into the lap of Bernie to burn these teams (fining them for not participating in a race, withholding FOM returns, etc.).

    Ultimately they want more money. The USA has a lot of potential sponsors and venues. Boycotting a US GP has far more consequenses than ‘showing solidarity’, I’m afraid.

    1. I forgot the final line of my final paragraph: the teams are not going to be getting more money by damaging the sport they’re competing in.

    2. What a silly thing to equate human rights with the survival of teams. Most countries have some form of human rights violations. And yes, good ol America is one of them.

      1. You and I both know both the F1 media and mainstream media will post articles with at least that kind of headlines. That’s my point.

    3. I cannot disagree with your points, but if these teams dont take an action now…it will be too late for them and they will eventually face the same fate as Caterham and Marrusia.

      Bernie has said that he wouldnt be worried if there are 14 cars on the grid next season, but if these teams boycott tomorrow’s race it is going to b a huge blow for Bernie. He cant repeat what happened in 2005.

      I heard Ted saying after the qualifying that Team Principals of Sauber, Force India and Lotus are going to meet Bernie and agree to him that they wont boycott if there demands are fulfilled.

      These teams have got the best opportunity for them to get heard and help in making a more sustainable environment in F1, otherwise we will soon see demise of these teams as well..

    4. petebaldwin (@)
      1st November 2014, 23:22

      @npf1 – Very good point and puts it all in perspective. No boycott over most of what F1 do wrong but they jump straight in when it affects them as a team….

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        1st November 2014, 23:23

        *does no do

  5. I absolutely support such a move. Sadly, anything less will not prompt a decisive response from the FIA/FOM.

    It is merely unfortunate timing this will happen at the USGP. Nobody is doing this just to spite the Americans.

    1. @himmatsj – The decisive response likely to be prompted from the FIA/FOM would be 3 car teams. They could maintain that they were forced into this decision by the boycott in order to preserve the number of cars on the grid and the integrity of F1 and contracts with promoters. Bernie might even be wishing for a boycott so he could have his 3 car teams.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      1st November 2014, 23:25

      I’m absolutely against this. Has the situation only just become a problem? No. It’s just only had an obvious effect. There is no reason to punish the American F1 fans for this.

      There should be a boycott arranged for a future race (the obvious one is Abu Dhabi) with the allowance that talks can be arranged before hand to sort the problem out.

      Threats of a boycott tomorrow don’t allow for resolutions to be put in place.

      1. As an American fan who is realistic about the popularity of F1 in the US now, and not what it is hoped it will become in the future, a USGP boycott would be pointless. You’d kill whatever growth in popularity you’ve been able to gain from the fiasco in 2005; but that’s all it would accomplish. Just like the 2005 incident it would be talked about immediately afterwards, but then pushed to the back burner with nothing changing. There simply aren’t enough US fans to be upset over this to make it a big deal. If Brazil or Abu Dhabi is boycotted, that would be a much bigger embarrassment. Brazil because of the passion of the fan base. Abu Dhabi because of the dollars involved and the greater probability of European fans having traveled to that race and been affected. The boycott has to impact the core F1 fan base or there will not be enough pressure for change rendering it a pointless exercise.

        1. I agree totally with you, well said sir…

  6. Stuart Becktell (@)
    1st November 2014, 19:44

    Didn’t work in keeping Michelin in the sport when they boycotted the 2005 US GP, and if they want to ensure they don’t receive US sponsors in the future, its a great plan!

    1. Technically that wasn’t a boycott; the Michelin runners withdrew due to safety concerns.

      1. @Dave You are right, it wasn’t a boycott. It was the F1 community not coming together to make racing possible. If that same “Michelin tyre fails on a high speed corner” had happened at Spa, they would have found a way to get all the cars on the grid and put on a proper race.

        The only reason they are even voicing this boycott idea is because of a lack of respect for America and American racing fans.

        1. @motor that’s not true. The reason they are voicing it is because they want things to change!

          It is unfortunate that it could happen in the US, however it is a coincidence that it is happening at the time of the US Grand Prix. Nevertheless, as @alanore said, FOM knows how much untapped potential they have with F1 in the Americas, so it could hurt FOM a lot. So if it is done in the US deliberately, it is not against the fans but against FOM.

          1. @Strontium I respect your opinion and I do not doubt the sincerity of the teams desire for finance reform and I understand their future is at stake.

            All the same, many Americans don’t think it is a coincidence. And one American, Gene Haas, might think this is a reason to rethink F1 commitments.

    2. That is why it can work, the damage will be done to F1 as a whole, and it will make the big manufacturers realize, for whom the US market is important, and the FOM and FIA as well, that the middle to small teams are very important to the sport, and they they should not be treated as useless hobos.

      Then come out in public and act and talk as if they have been doing some kind of favor. If the teams have any self respect or aspirations left, they will do it, unless some kind of deal is agreed beforehand.

  7. Yes, they should boycott. Too long have the small teams been putting up with a lot ridiculous unfairness and bias in how the sport is run. Doing the boycott will risk further damage, but there is very little left to loose for them and the situation has become worse and worse over the years. The time has come for this sort of action.

    As much as I already disliked having only 22 cars on the grid, never mind 18, I much rather see some strong action taken against the despot enabling, criminal, backwards thinking, thug run the sport. Bernie is treating the second half of the teams like disposable cr_ck wh___es.

  8. Safe to say Lotus won’t be boycotting the race. That is, unless they have a radical change of heart overnight.

    1. Even Monisha said they will be racing tomorrow after the qualifying. I dont see anyone supporting Force India after the qualifying result.

      1. Word is Mallya has also confirmed Force India will race. So this boycott, if it goes ahead, will feature the following teams:

        Not the most influential list, is it? :)

  9. I am saying no but that is not because I would not care about the fate of Sauber, Force India and Lotus. I want them to stay in F1 but if the big teams and Ecclestone have effectively been telling them “we do not need you” for years, then what is the point of trying to force Red Bull to love Force India? Perhaps it is better for those teams to simply leave the sport that does not want them and try their luck elsewhere e.g. in the WEC. Then F1 moneybags would finally have to take responsibility for their arrogance and short-term thinking and prove that the sport is really better off with 5 or 6 teams or completely change the way that the sport is run.

  10. An effective boycott could be looked at as a means to increase support, power, influence and standing in a situation or negotiation. There is no ongoing negotiation currently between the teams and those who could affect change in F1. A boycott would likely cost the teams , support, power, influence and certainly financial standing in this situation. A boycott would only worsen their situation with no discernible upside. If they wish to make case more known to Bernie, for example, he has already stated that teams with begging bowls could disappear for all he cares. Three car teams would be fine with him, despite the all too apparent issues that this would cause.

    Bottom line, Bernie doesn’t care at all and a boycott would make him care even less.

  11. American fans don’t deserve this again. If they want to boycott, save it for Brazil or A.D. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot in the US.

  12. The other teams should form a new series with some real rules made for spectacular racing and zero show nonsense like DRS, butter tyres, V8 engines with turbos, with wider and bigger tyres and move on from there…. F1 is not pure racing anymore… it’s just big boys showing their bling… with weird rules and not letting true competition on or out of the track.

  13. Yes but not in US again, the market will be destroyed

    1. But might that be what it takes, because Bernie really wants F1’s reputation to be fixed in America, then boycotting this race will hurt Bernie more than any of the other two races surely.

  14. Won’t the FIA(or stewards) take any action on those teams,if they withdraw from the race?I mean, even in the case of Marussia&Caterham,it was only allowed due to ‘extreme financial difficulties’ faced by them by going into administration.

    So,can(or will) FIA punish those teams(FI,Sauber) , if they withdraw from race? Is there anything in regulations that FIA can act upon?

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      1st November 2014, 21:22

      #jee1kimi well what avoyt a “technical boycott” then? send the cars with fuel for 1 lap and then they can DNF themselves. there would be no penalty for such a “human error”

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        1st November 2014, 21:23

        @jee1kimi that reply oops

  15. I voted yes, even though I don’t want them to. This place is probably one of the best places to boycott because it will really hurt F1 in America, that sounds really bad and harsh, but think about it F1 has a bad image in America to begin with after 2005 and Bernie really, REALLY wants to fix that, where is it going to hurt him more than to boycott the race in the country he wants them to be at the most.

    However it will as I said destroy F1’s reputation in America probably to a point of no return but if that has to be done for the smaller teams then so be it. Wouldn’t mind one in Abu Dhabi for the stupid double points but that is another boycott for another day :)

    1. It’s not just the US fans, the promoters of this track have done a great job and don’t deserve this kind of problem.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      1st November 2014, 23:27

      @bezza695 – Actually, I think it would hurt Bernie more if they boycotted Abu Dhabi as they have paid him a decent amount for double points. It’s a good choice to mess that up for him unless talks take place.

      1. And announcing the potential boycott would save fans from paying to attend a non race, and give some time for meaningful negotiation, I doubt even Bernie can say ” OK CVC will chip in another $200,000,000″ between now and the race with any guarantee of it happening.

  16. I voted to boycott but thinking about it a bit more I think they should continue to compete but sue FOM and put a formal submission to the EC Directorate-General Education and Culture claiming unfair and biased treatment against competitors in a sport.
    Without external pressure – courts/EU – nothing will change and we’ll lose another 3 or 4 teams in short order.

    1. Legal action will only bankrupt the teams quicker.

      1. @raceprouk Wouldn’t raising a complaint with the EU mean they (the EU) take up the investigation? All the teams would have to show is the contract Bernie gave all of them, which would clearly show it’s inequitable.

        1. Yes, but the teams would probably still need some form of legal representation, as they’ll have to testify and all that. And lawyers cost a lot of money…

          1. @raceprouk Any solvent, sensible business would already have access to a suitable legal team. It’s not like they’d need specialist defense lawyers to raise a concern with the EU.

          2. They have a legal team yes, but they’d likely be mostly contract lawyers, rather than barristers.

      2. @raceprouk The teams will go under anyway if the money distribution is not made fairer. Spending $100k to $1m on laywers may just save them.
        But as @optimaximal points out, the complaint to the EU will get the contracts out in the open and force a redistribution. And that solves Bernie “I know what’s wrong, but don’t know how to fix it” Ecclestone’s problem, as well.
        (Although Ferrari may not be too impressed)

  17. Here are two more thoughts.

    1) It’s really saying a lot to me, that so many of F1 fanatics, who wan’t to see more cars, more action, say Yes to such an extreme proposal, that is how far this has come.

    2) It’s ironic how the big manufacturers (Mercedes, Renault come to mind) can alter the sport completely 180° using threats of leaving all together, and yet the small teams have to be so sensitive of even publicly suggesting on missing a race or two, to demand being treated fairly.

    1. Mercedes is offering the FOM logistics for free, F1 could have lost 17% of its value if Mercedes left, unfortunately the small teams don’t enjoy the same status as top teams

  18. A Boycott won´t help anything, but might endanger the teams boycotting. Points would help Sauber more than any potential outcome of not running the race, which would most likely just be huge fines.
    Also F1 does not need negative publicity in the US, one of the few democratic countries where there´s still room for F1 to grow.

    However, both Mercedes (80ies-Le Mans, 93/94 F1) and Red-Bull (95-2004) came into F1 (or even motorsports) through Sauber, I´d be pleased if they´d actually remember that when having to cast votes on rule-changes to keep smaller teams alive.

  19. I think I’d prefer the teams wait and make their point about lack of support from FOM and the absence of a level playing field etc until Abu Dhabi, when they can protest at the ludicrous double points issue.
    “This is the last race of the season Bernie, you’ve already screwed it and us as well. Sort it out, or we won’t be back next year.”

  20. There should be NO boycott at all! WHY:

    1. Bernie doesn’t care. On the contrary, this might be exactly what is gonna push him to have 3 cars from each team next year!
    2. It will hurt the fans;
    3. It will hurt F1’s image in the US and we all remember Indianapolis 2005, right?

    1. And Indianapolis 2005 might be a huge reason for Bernie to not let this happen again and listen to what small teams are asking him to do. It is there best bet to be heard otherwise they will be treated like doormats.

  21. They’re in such a strong position right now to flip the tables on Bernie, and that is exactly what they should do because that is exactly what he would do.

    It’s time to sort this issue out once and for all.

  22. I voted not, a team boycott won’t work but what about a fan boycott?
    The only way Ernie will listen if removing his 100 million dollars bill stuck in his ear, if he gets a hole in his pocket then he will be more “open” for changes

  23. I don’t think they should boycott this Grand Prix.

    Not because of the teams’ cause, but because F1 made an unexpectedly successful return to the US with an amazing track. The US should be part of the F1 world championship, and F1 needs them more than ever right now. I don’t think a boycott in itself is a bad idea and agree with the teams’ motivation to do so, but it is a bad idea at this venue. Specifically Abu Dhabi would be a far, far better choice to show where F1 has gone wrong. A cookie-cutter Grand Prix in an oil funded, autocratic oligarchy (NOW for a limited time only with DOUBLE POINTS!) deserves the wrath of struggling teams for way more than one reason.

    I also don’t think the teams’ effort should be cost reduction, but a fair(er) share of F1’s revenue and political power. While Mercedes this year admittedly is the team providing most drama to ‘the show’, they benefit far less from the extra amount of money they’d get from winning the constructors, and really didn’t compete for some petty cash, while for Sauber or FI it makes a huge difference. They all contribute to the show with an equal amount of resources.

    This probably goes directly against Ecclestone’s undoubtedly laissez-faire economic ideals, but I really don’t believe a lack of monetary reward would deter Force India from trying to beat McLaren in the constructors, nor the other way around. Teams want to compete as much as drivers do, thinking otherwise doesn’t give credit to the effort even the lower ranked teams put into their outfits. One team, one vote, and an equal reward for commitment. As ambitious as this might sounds given the current situation, as uncontroversial will it be if it would actually pass.

    I hope they all race tomorrow, the US has been a great returning host, but if this doesn’t get addressed, I hope Abu Dhabi will be even less inspiring event than it normally is.

    1. RB (@frogmankouki)
      1st November 2014, 22:19

      +1 I couldn’t agree more, you make many good points.

  24. Tough one. On one hand, I don’t want the US fans to be disappointed, again. Also, instead of getting attention, they might get repercussions for it (remember Force India’s lack of coverage in Bahrain qualifying a couple years ago?), leading to the collapse of a couple more teams. A boycott would be a pretty desperate move.

    But to be honest, the situation is pretty desperate: two teams have fallen away and those in charge don’t seem to care. Ecclestone said yesterday that it’s “no drama at all”, the FIA issued a statement that said pretty much nothing apart from that they know about Caterham’s and Marussia’s situation, and the big teams all try avoid taking responsibility.

    In the current situation, there is no one who either can or wants to do something to address this major problem. A boycott would certainly help get attention, but I’m not sure whether the ‘oh dear the smaller teams should stay’ thoughts would win over the ‘they don’t even race, they don’t deserve to be in F1’ thoughts.

    So it’s a tough call, but I would vote against it. If they do manage to pull it off, that would be the first time in years that multiple teams achieve something together.

  25. Over the years, Bernie Ecclestone has done great job in helping develop F1 into a major commercial enterprise, however, it has become increasingly apparent in recent years that there is an imbalance in F1 finances. Bernie has become a billionaire and I do not begrudge him that, however, technological developments have now reached the stage where the ‘small’ teams are at a growing disadvantage, hence the loss of Marussia and Caterham.
    I believe the time has come and is indeed right, for forcing change, most importantly getting the revenues from F1 from Bernie’s pocket and into the budgets of the teams. In fact, the best idea I have heard is the way NFL revenues are shared equally across all 32 teams. Now there is a novel idea!!!!

  26. F1 is a business not a sport and boycotting the US gp would be a bad business move.

  27. If they were to boycott somewhere, do it at Abu Dhabi and try to get rid of some other rules aswell.

  28. Maybe they should form a union.

  29. @keithcollantine

    But Marussia’s plight – falling into administration despite holding their best-ever position of ninth in the constructors’ championship – shows that even success on the track may not save them from financial oblivion.

    Alas, this is a minor fallacy – Andrey Cheglakov clearly never intended to finance the team past the Russian GP, otherwise he would have held on to see them reach the end of the season, given they’re finally due to start receiving a chunk of money from FOM – yes, it’s not a return on his money yet, but it’s not a complete black hole yet.

    1. That’s kinda the point though; the smaller teams are so dependent on external financing that their fate is not really in their hands.

  30. I think they should boycott the race. F1 has this year really turned into a joke. Bernie inventing x2 points, silly noses, noise levels and now teams going bust. It’s time to hit Bernie an co where it hurts while they’ve got they chance to do it. This version of F1 needs to die and soon.

  31. They picked the right place boycott if it happens….and I completely understand the cause of it.

    That being said, if F1 screws my home GP race again then I am done with this sport.We have a first class racing facility here built purposely for F1.. which is surprising considering what F1 did to us in 2005.There are plenty of other racing series that actually race for the fans.F1 is full of greed and politics and I am embarrassed to admit to any other racing fans that I still follow.

  32. I should say Absolutely a Big Yes !!!!

    For reasons state by Keith and also because

    1) This is the best chance and stage for their voice to be heard.

    2) with NASCAR putting up a spectacular show and snail biting championship finish in Texas, it will defenitely bring the issues into limelight with a poor show on this side.

    3) if they don’t do it here they will be perceived cowards and they will lose any advantage that they can force. Abu Dhabi and Brazil will never receive this negative limelight from rest of the world.

    4) While there is a risk of making Bernie look good, I think by this boycott if he can prove that F1 can be thrilling enough by just 10 cars in it then so be it. Let we fans and smaller teams and the other sane people accept defeat and surrender to Bernie’s strategy !!!!!

    5) U.S. market has always been Bernie’s Achilles heal. This is the only place they can prove the point. If F1 fails in America then rest assured Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull will not be happy campaigners too. While they will get the money this year. They will lose the future revenues from one of th biggest markets in the world.

    6) Remember Red Bull is part drinks company. If the big “D” from the Alphine mountains feels that his money is better served in a different sport , event…. He will just walk away….. Yeah.. Then we can have 6 car teams from Ferrari , Mercedes and McLaren.

    So I say Yes for the sake of F1 , for the sake of its future and for the sake of its fans …. The Lotus, Sauber and Force India should stand up united and protest the U.S. Grand Prix !!!!! They will be doing a great service for F1.

    1. Alex McFarlane
      2nd November 2014, 15:52

      They bite snails in Texas? They must live in hope that sports are boring affairs in that part of the world! ;-)

  33. I think these teams are well within their rights to boycott but I’m not sure:

    (a) what they’d expect to achieve by doing it and
    (b) how they could do it in such a way as to not cut off their noses to spite their faces.

    Maybe not racing in Austin AND not bothering to turn up in Interlagos and Abu Dhabi (if they could maintain a united front in the face of needing all those double-points) and thus forcing a few contract clauses to be broken might work, along with the world seeing what F1 would be like with just a shadow grid of 12 cars on a regular basis. That might be the catalyst needed for genuine change, but equally it might just finally tip Bernie into telling them not to come back and him working on his own solution for 2015.

    Maybe what would be better is for them to impose their own collectively-agreed voluntary budget cap for 2015. If Lotus, Force India and Sauber got together, worked out what budget they could all comfortably afford and agreed to race each other on the basis of only spending that money then they could be creating their own sustainable business model. Without Marussia and Caterham and no Haas/Forza Rossa yet (if ever) there’s no pressure on them to not finish in the prize money paying positions in the WCC. Yes, it might potentially be effectively limiting themselves to 9th, 8th, and 7th at best in the WCC and they might be some distance to the rest of the field, but at least it would involve them not being reckless about their budget and allow them to bide their time waiting for other teams to implode trying to keep the spending up and hastening the need for genuine solutions.

    I can’t think of many other ways for them to make their point, other than:

    (1) A super-merger – all three teams combining resources/money/the best bits of each team and essentially at a stroke denying F1 of another two teams and thus increasing the urgency for a solution
    (2) If they genuinely think they can’t afford to compete and aren’t happy just to survive in a minimal but financially-neutral way under a voluntary 3-team budget cap then they need to wind up the F1 efforts in respectable and dignified ways and go race in categories they think they CAN do that in. I don’t want to see that but neither do I want to see them taking stupid gambles and risks and forever loading on more debt trying to keep up with the big teams before imploding catastrophically like Caterham and Marussia – and leaving debts which damage the parts of F1 and the motorsport supply chain that we don’t hear about as much.

    None of these are particularly palatable solutions but these teams are going to have to go down non-palatable ways to effect any change.

  34. Michael Brown (@)
    1st November 2014, 22:37

    Boycott, but don’t do it in the USA. I don’t want this track to go away from the calendar. Do it in Abu Dhabi, to protest the double points as well.

  35. i say yes, they should. many times i have now said that the small teams belong in f1 and it would be a great display of solidarity and respect if they would boycott the race. ecclestone has had it coming for way too long now, time to show the crook that not he alone should be in command.

  36. Their voices have been completely ignored (that is, if you could consider them to even have a voice). Surely humiliating Formula 1 in the USA is the best way to get Bernie et al to pay attention for once. It’s a terrible shame that it has come to this, but Bernie and his lot have nobody to blame but themselves. If Force India, Lotus and Sauber do choose to boycott the Grand Prix, then I wholeheartedly support them.

    A boycott may indeed be harmful for the sport, but a one-off boycott is going to be nowhere near as harmful to the sport than when these three teams are forced to drop out permanently.

  37. This might be important.
    Quote>Ecclestone said: “There is too much money being distributed badly – probably my fault.”
    Ecclestone dismissed claims from Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley that they and the Lotus and Sauber teams might boycott Sunday’s race in the USA – which World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton starts second, behind Mercedes team-mate and title rival Nico Rosberg – in protest at the financial problems afflicting the sport.
    “They will be racing, I give you a guarantee,” he said. “But I worry if they will be racing next year.”

  38. No. Bernie wants this, so any action needs to hurt Bernie, not the teams.

    As much as I hate to say this, having been an IndyCar fan as long as I have been an F1 fan, I want to see a breakaway series, or have those struggling F1 teams join IndyCar with a push for worldwide IndyCar expansion.

    Show a 28-30 car grid at Suzuka in 2016, no matter what Bernie tries to pull.

    As much as I loathe Bernie for what he is doing, any action will be like a nick shaving to him, while the retaliation will be enough to break the boycotting teams.

    1. Alex McFarlane
      2nd November 2014, 15:09

      An interesting idea, Indycar expanding to provide a genuine rival to Formula 1. I wouldn’t say that the idea isn’t without merit.

      However, doesn’ the Indycar series have economic issues of it’s own? Given the postponement of aero kits for the Dallara chassis, could Indycar really afford to travel across the globe in the same way as F1, and the GP series do?

  39. Boycott Abu Dhabi Double Points nonsense instead

  40. North America is more important to the big manufacturers than to the small teams, so a boycott will mostly hurt the manufacturers who are refusing to deal with the problem. In that sense it would be an effective protest.

  41. I have a question. Let’s say hypothetically they do boycott the race, but one driver, Hulk, decided to ignore the idea and stay in the race? Would the team have to stay on the pitwall or would he be by himself?

    1. I have a question. How does Hulk get the car prepped, fueled, shod, and onto the grid?

      1. I imagine the teams would simply pull into the pit at the end of the formation lap, no? Therefore the car would actually be ready…. I am saying what if a driver were to disobey his team and continue to line up in his grid slot?

  42. I say: get rid of Ecclestone. His dictatorship offers nothing to Formula 1 and he admits his own incompetence to resolve the mess his stupid ideas have generated. His politics stink, corrupting the sport through his connections, and his draining of finance from the sport is the single main reason for the failure of smaller teams.

  43. I’m surprised there are so many ‘Yes’ votes. I think floating the idea has got the right reaction.

    I’d like to see Mercedes take the lead and make a concrete offer to reduce their take, if Ferrari and Red Bull will do the same. That would be classy, and screw their rivals too :)

    1. Whre modern big business is concerned, there appears to be no room for anything like “class.” Otherwise we would have seen it by now. Modern capitalists take what they want out of Adam Smith while remaining blind to his acknowledgment of the necessity (and indeed responsibility) for stewardship.

      When it comes to the super-rich personally, what most call “class” is just another name for expensive, narcissistic preening. Very few understand what true “classy” action looks like.

      1. Alex McFarlane
        2nd November 2014, 15:11



      2. @slowhands I fear you’re right.

        The whole F1 venture is PR though, so if they were thinking clearly about it I think they might. But like so many before them, they don’t seem to get why they’re actually doing it.

  44. I say Yes, but only in Abu Dhabi, since that is the race that will have the most eyes upon it.

  45. I like the idea that all the teams boycott Abu Double! :P

    1. +1: Professional suicide, this is not the place to do it.
      Took long enough to recover from the Indy debacle, the fans don’t need to get screwed again.

  46. Announcing a boycott would give the larger teams, FOM, etc., time to frame the issues to their advantage. The time to show solidarity is now, not in a month. F1 needs something to shake it up or it will die a slow, green, fuel-saving, ossified death. The best time to have addressed these issues is 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Force the issue right now.

  47. I voted “yes” but would suggest they run 1 lap and the park the cars in their box for the duration for the race.
    This would provide the required number of “starters” to satisfy the commercial requirement, with the implication that Brasil & Abu Dhabi would see a step up in pressure. Leaving the cars in the pit box would provide a race long reminder of the issue to all.
    Leaving a boycott to the last race really doesn’t apply much pressure as there would be no potential follow on; at that point if they fail, they fail and if they’re not around next year who cares.

  48. Whether they boycott the race or not, the time has come for F1 costs to come down in a meaningful way, for a more equitable distribution of wealth, for eliminating the financial leeches that plague the sport, for the FIA to cease being a token institution and stand up, for Bernie to go. Enough is enough.

  49. It’s simple. Divide the money x12 to get each team on an equal footing. No cap on sponsorship and a maximum 10% spend above the income from Bernie allowed. So each team gets say £70million + a maximum £7million over the year and then whatever they make on top in sponsorship. If only 10-11 teams the remaining money is donated to the FIA action for safety group.

  50. The only boycott that’ll work is if ALL fans refuse to watch ANY TV coverage of Abby Dabby. It would also help if F1 media outlets refused to cover the event other than reporting the zero viewing figures and the reason why.

  51. A boycott would harm the sport and the fan base in the US more than anyone, they need to stick together and demand a better split, the problem is as we all know,…BE.
    He will probably divide and conquer….offer Sauber 20 million or something and a year on…nothing changed. A concerted campaign over the winter months might be better including regular public updates on the progress so we the fans can also apply pressure.

  52. Only a huge farce will make people stand up and notice.

  53. F1 is in an appalling state already. A boycott by three teams this evening would hurt the American market badly; but major surgery at this stage is essential if we want to regenerate the sporting side of this business which still dares to call itself a sport.

    Equally distributed revenues tied in with cleverly managed rules which enforce reduced spending is the only viable future for F1. I think it is unmanageable to put a ceiling on what the big teams wish to spend – but rules such as the staggered engine freeze, the reduction on testing and the eradication of refuelling have reduced the areas in which team can – or must – spend money.

    None of the big teams or CVC or Bernie are going to dig into their pockets unless they are forced to by radical actions which hurt them financially. All three teams should boycott the race, definitely. The smaller outfits can keep on venting their frustrations for years to come but no-one on the right side of the financial fence is ever going to listen to them until they are forced to.

    Frankly, I’d be quite happy to flick two very big fingers at the moneyed teams in F1. I’d find it much more exciting watching 13 underdog teams all working on an equal financial footing with good enough revenue distribution to allow them to field 26 non-paying drivers. Watching this repeated assassination of small teams on track by the elitist in F1 is no fun at all. I’m sick of it, to be honest.

    And there is plenty more to complain about with F1. The Formula One Strategy Group is another absolute disgrace in this sport I can’t help but love; the mind boggles how this was ever implemented. And Bernie is really a disgusting little man; watching Putin handing out the winning trophy in Russia made me feel almost physically sick. Our beloved sport really has reached an all-time low.

  54. I voted no, but because I feel the US GP is not the right place for it. Let it happen in Brazil or Abu Dhabi. Yes, I’m partial being an American, but F1 looked AWFUL in 2005 and to pull something so similar 9 years on would be devastating. Brazil is a healthy race (though the fans won’t like it) and nearly no one cares about Abu Dhabi. The celebrities that come and hardly watch the race there are unlikely to notice anyway. But the US is full of fans who DO care and have felt understandably hard done by in the past by F1.

    They should boycott, but I’m glad it didn’t happen in the US.

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