Liberty won’t offer voting rights to F1 teams

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In the round-up: Liberty is not planning to offer voting rights to F1 teams.

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Renault’s bold plans for 2017 give cause for optimism:

I’m optimistic that Renault will produce a good engine next year. They have been the only engine to keep Mercedes consistently honest (via RedBull) and abolishing the token system means that they can make those strides that much earlier in the season, fingers crossed.
Fudge Kobayashi (@Offdutyrockstar)

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60 comments on “Liberty won’t offer voting rights to F1 teams”

  1. I for one am happy about Liberty not giving any voting rights to any teams- particularly Ferrari. Liberty should concern themselves with how the teams and drivers feel about a certain problem, but voting rights yield too much power for people who are only concerned about themselves.

  2. If McLaren were to revert to the M naming system, I wouldn’t mind seeing them add the current count of 31 onto the previous 30, making this year’s the M62. Those of you who are familiar with British motorways may realise that this McLaren would be even slower than the previous one..

    1. Hahah +1

    2. Ron is still a shareholder. It would be indeed very telling if that was to happen.

      1. What does MP stand for?

        1. MP4 = McLaren Project 4

          1. I believe it initially stood for “Marlboro / Project 4”

          2. So they’re still on the same project.

  3. Re: CotD @offdutyrockstar

    The dropping of the token system has not negated the upper limit of 4 of each PU component per driver per year – if Renault and Honda enter a development race to get their engines up to speed throughout the season, then they’ll be taking grid penalties quite quickly whilst Merc & Ferrari sit up front and drive away.

    They either need to get their revised engines out for testing and have them work or they’re in for another season of hurt!

    1. Actually this could make for great racing. Imagine Red Bull become the fastest car sometime during the season but take a lot of grid penalties because of new/less reliable components, so they need to come through the field. Its like handicaps for fast teams but a bit less artificial

    2. The 4 PU limit only applies to race weekend units. They can have as many “development” units as they want, meaning they can choose to test different configuration PUs on dynos before deciding which one to introduce at a race weekend as one of those 4 PU allowed. Hope that made sense.

    3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      29th December 2016, 12:26

      @optimaximal the mileage and functionality of parts is tested to failure on bench tests is it not? Of course real world testing gives a more complete picture but I don’t see Renault sacrificing an entire season to real world data as Honda did in 2015…

  4. petebaldwin (@)
    29th December 2016, 1:25

    Good decision by Liberty to not allow teams to vote. Someone needs to make decisions for the good of the sport and that’s not going to happen whilst the teams only vote for what suits them.

    Some decisions will benefit some teams over others but trying to make everyone happy has led us to the mess we’re in now.

    1. Agreed, the most likely way to get a fair playing field is to cut the teams out of the discussion. They’ve proven time and time again they can’t be trusted to think of the greater good.

      1. Take the sport in a direction the larger teams don’t like and you will get a potential breakaway or teams leaving. If a company is a car maker or sugar drinks maker they might decide they don’t need the hassle.

        1. Paraphrasing: ”If ‘non-thoroughbred-racing’ companies who like unfair distribution of funds decide they don’t need the hassle of fairer competition, they could lead a break away series or leave altogether”.
          It’s a win-win situation:
          Firstly, I don’t think they would leave because there would be an increase in popularity and value in a sport with fair competition.
          All the while, if they did leave other teams with a greater affinity for good sport (lending itself to a better show) will take their place. No team is bigger than f1; the employees left in the wake of a team ‘pulling out’ will not forget their desire to race.


          1. Taking the sport in a direction the larger teams don’t like nearly led to F1 being destroyed at the end of 2009. The initiating cause? Budget caps. (Other factors came into play – a lack of trust in the governing body, a leader making strange decisions, silly ideas from FOM gaining more ground than justified – but all of those have, in some form, recurred today too).

            The near-destruction was caused because the big teams managed to persuade all but 2 of the smaller teams that joining the breakaway was in their best interests, and one of the other two took actions that it probably knew, in hindsight, would sabotage the plan that “powers that be” had concocted. Even with the addition of the 8 cars that the FIA could have mustered in the form of new teams (i.e. the 6 that were invited, plus the 2 Stefan GP attempted to enter without permission) would barely have made the 12 cars necessary to make the F1 eligible for international status, and it is not clear that the three team sales (Litespeed -> Lotus, Manor -> Virgin, Campos -> Hispania) that allowed those three new arrivals to make the grid could have occurred in the absence of the breakaway attempt forcing a U-turn.

            Having the non-racing teams leave in the event of them not liking a racing-orientated direction change is only win-win if the racing teams decide the non-racing teams don’t have a point that is relevant to their interest as racing teams.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          29th December 2016, 13:16

          Good. If they want to leave because the rules wont be skewed in their favour, they can go.

        3. Let them walk. Others can and will come – especially if the playing field is level.

    2. Agreed. The lobbying is year after year reaching unparalleled levels, devaluing and reshaping f1, from a sport to a show. I know why the idea came about and why it was proposed but, to work for the bettering of the sport the voting rights, relied on the good will of all teams, particularly the manufacturers as they get hold of the voting rights. People complained about Ferrari but if you take a close look Ferrari was actually quite reserved with it’s power, it’s the bigger companies in RB and especially Mercedes that can and do mold the sport at will.

      1. It has been said that Ferrari has deployed its veto more often in the last 2 years than in the previous 15 years it held a veto combined.

        1. @alianora-la-canta, whilst that is true, it should be borne in mind that Ferrari’s ability to directly veto regulations is actually a lot more limited than most people make out (there are a number of restrictions which apply, such as the requirement that Ferrari must unambiguously demonstrate material harm to themselves if the rule change is made, and there are circumstances where Ferrari’s veto could be overriden (e.g. if the FIA deems that the changes are necessary on safety grounds)).

          To that end, the main reason why Ferrari have deployed their veto more often in the last two years is the fact that, according to some sources, they’ve never actually exercised the veto rights before – it’s usually been something that they’ve threatened to do, but not actually gone ahead.

          However, I do think that Pennyroyal tea is rather underestimating the lobbying that went on before and is rather naive to think that sort of lobbying didn’t go on before – it was just done in a more discrete manner and tended to be under reported at the time.

          1. Anon’s point that harm to F1 must be demonstrated before Ferrari can deploy its veto and that it can’t be used to reverse safety initiatives (unless Ferrari is in a position to prove danger in the FIA proposal – which once netted it an exemption on the otherwise-mandatory HANS rule for Rubens Barrichello in Australia 2003) or to change rules beyond the deadlines existing for regulation changes. They’ve definitely used the veto at least twice – once at the end of 2004 to prevent a Cost Saving Initiative (primarily involving a control tyre) and one in Indianapolis 2005 to oppose a chicane being installed before Turn 13. In the latter case the FIA pointed out that the veto was superfluous as the FIA wasn’t allowed to install the chicane at such short notice anyway.

            Of course, Max Mosley knew about the veto and tended to make sure regulations were tolerable to Ferrari before issuing them (unless he needed Ferrari’s opposition for tactical reasons). This meant Ferrari rarely needed to use its veto. Jean Todt has been gradually less flexible, granting Ferrari more opportunities to exercise the veto.

    3. ColdFly F1 (@)
      29th December 2016, 3:19

      Actually I don’t agree, @petebaldwin.

      I would have loved to see the teams to be 50% shareholder in Liberty, with voting rights and the whole shebang. The teams should be 100% in bed with the commercial rights holder to make this sport the best it can be.
      I would even go further and make the teams equal shareholder (and increase to 13-15 teams). That way you make sure that teams will not leave the sport as they have an inherent value. A big manufacturer might leave the sport, but they’ll have to sell the team.

      On the pure sporting front they should (leave) the decisions with the FIA (or another party), with purely a strategic input from Liberty (make sure FIA delivers a sport which can be commercialised). FIA’s role is to make sure that the sport is competed on ‘a level playing field’.
      (it is a bit like it is supposed to be today; but in reality it does not work)

    4. @petebaldwin, looking more closely at the article, although the language barrier is a bit of an issue, it seems to suggest that Liberty Media will permit teams to buy into FOM, with their shares being discounted by a certain percentage to sweeten the deal, but would have to sacrifice their voting rights on FOM’s board.

      What it would seem to suggest is that the teams would not be permitted to directly influence the commercial terms which are agreed when the current Concorde Agreement expires and new commercial arrangements are agreed in a few years time. Thinking about it, it actually makes quite a bit of sense – if you had, say, one or two major teams on the board of FOM and able to adjust the terms of the financial agreements with the teams, that creates a considerable conflict of interest for that particular team.

    5. Since when is the owner deciding the regulations?

      1. Since 1981 :(

        1. I thought it was the FIA?

      2. (Of course, that was supposed to stop in 2000 with the European Commission settlement – but I’m not sure it would be possible to produce a convincing argument to suggest that this consistently occurred).

    6. Tying voting rights to share purchase would be to tie commercial and regulatory processes, which is strictly forbidden for F1. Liberty isn’t offering voting rights because, strictly speaking, only the FIA can do that.

    7. I would imagine that NOT giving the teams voting rights might be an important thing to actually get things approved by competition guard dogs!

      As @alianora-la-canta mentions, if the commercial structure included deciding on rule making for the participants in the sport that would go against agreements on the FIA being the regulatory body for F1 @optimaximal, @coldfly.

      I think it still is a very good offer to get a direct share of the pie. It sort of replaces the up front payments if they do take a share, and it helps tie teams into the sport long term. Sure, a manufacturer CAN say that they want to hold out and see for a better deal. But the second we hear that Didi Mateschitz and Ferrari did agree to get shares (I don’t get the impression Mercedes will decline the offer either), I think that would be the end of that gamble.

  5. I think that’s rather disappointing if unsurprising news on no vote for teams from Liberty. They are a media corporation and no input from the bottom up is a tad scary. Here’s hoping they do keep an ear to the ground, lest we end up with sprinklers and shortcuts to liven up the show.

    1. @maciek It can be a disaster not to have direct input from the teams which are at the heart of f1, on the other hand as things stand every time RB wants something they threaten to pull out until they get what they want. To avoid RB from getting everything they want, you need a match for them, at the moment only MErcedes can dampen RB’s will but the problem is that Merc has it’s own ideas and is also either prone to threaten to leave or leave when it sees fit leaving a gaping hole in the sport’s economics.

      1. I don’t see how giving the teams no say in how the sport is to be run will encourage them not to withdraw.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          29th December 2016, 13:21

          @hohum the teams won’t withdraw. Same as how F1 was always going to remain at Monza. It’s an empty threat and until the sport says “fine, then leave”, it’ll keep happening.

          Imagine the bad PR if Mercedes pulled out because Liberty were trying to make the sport fairer for the smaller teams?

          1. @petebaldwin, I beg to differ. Toyota, Ford and BMW all pulled out in recent memory so it’s not an empty threat. Especially if the company is publicly traded as the shareholders can easily say it’s not worth the money as I believe it was with Ford. Considering how much the teams, especially those that also build engines spend on F1, I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch for a decision to be made to pull out of F1 and put the focus elsewhere….does Audi come to mind.

          2. petebaldwin (@)
            29th December 2016, 15:04

            @velocityboy – Fair point – they did. I don’t remember them moaning that they couldn’t get their own way and threaten to leave before doing it though. If a big company makes a business decision to leave F1, it’ll happen regardless.

            I’m talking about the teams who constantly threaten to leave if they don’t get their own way:


    2. @maciek I may be mistaken, but I think Liberty Media can still listen to teams, but the teams cannot directly vote for what they want

      1. Exactly @mashiat, that way the teams will be part of desicion making, just not influencing the competition when their own interests are directly under vote.

  6. I would love to see Vale beat Lewis in the same car actually Vale can Beat Lewis in a RBR or Ferrari car, there’s no doubt about it. But I think Vale should stick with MotoGP because he’s the best also known as the GOAT.

    1. This should be COTD for tomorrow, just for the share hilarity of it.

    2. Vale hasn’t done an extensive 4 wheel campaign, yet you make such claims. I guess Vale can beat everyone currently driving in F1 by your own reckoning, or is it only Lewis?

    3. @godwin, Rossi said about six years ago that “by the time I finish MotoGP, I will be too old for F1” (he is just a few months short of his 38th birthday now).

      He did once take part in a test session with Ferrari a decade ago, where he was between 0.5-1.0s per lap off Schumacher’s pace, but that was at Valencia – a circuit which is only used in F1 for testing purposes and one where you’d expect Rossi would have had an advantage in terms of knowing the track.

      If Rossi were to take part in such a session, it would be little more than a publicity stunt – Rossi has repeatedly said that he is looking to move into rallying when he retires from motorcycle racing and that, looking realistically at the situation, it is far too late in his career to try switching to F1.

      As an aside, whilst you might hail Rossi as the greatest motorcycle rider of all time, I think that you will find that Giacomo Agostini is usually accorded that title – although Rossi has been extremely successful over his career, he still hasn’t matched the records for victories or titles that Agostini had set.

      1. Giacomo Agostini has no doubt the best stats of all time.

        His 122 victories might still be topped by Valentino Rossi who has 114. But Vale would need to improve his results, he only scored 2 wins this season and doesn’t seem to have much more time left in MotoGP.
        On the other hand Agostini has 15 world titles which seem totally unreacheable for Vale who has 9. Even for Marc Marquez who is still young, has 5 already and is considered by many the best out there at present (as Vale seems to be somewhat past his prime) it seems like a too tall order. Marc has 55 race victories so topping Vale’s and Agostini’s figures is a possibility although he would still need a few years of dominance. Jorge Lorenzo would be the only other present contender with 5 world titles and 65 races but he doesn’t have as many years ahead as Marquez (and more often than not gets beaten by him) so he is a very unlikely candidate to top the charts. Let’s not forget also Angel Nieto who won 90 races and 13 world titles but only in the lesser categories (he was the absolute master of the last-corner victory).

        If we focus only in the top category of motorcycle racing (the present MotoGP category dates from 2002, with 4-stroke engines, and a maximum capacity that has changed from 990 cc to 600 cc in 2007 and to 1000 cc in 2012, but previously the top category had the 2-stroke 500 cc capacity engine), things change a bit. Giacomo Agostini is still the top guy with 8 world titles but Vale has 7 so he still might have a chance to equal him, even to top him, although time is not on his side. Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo both have 3 titles, and though I don’t believe that Lorenzo has a realistic chance to win another five or six, Marc may well have it if he manages to stay on top of the competition for the next few years.

        The stat where Vale is clearly on top is races won in the top category, with 88 races won (and counting) for 68 won by Agostini, 44 by Lorenzo and 29 by Marquez. As in F1, the number of races by season has increased along the years. The Vale stat is hard to beat but not impossible.

        So I’d say that Marc Marquez needs to dominate the MotoGP championship for at least 5 or 6 more years in order to top both Agostini and Vale in most of the relevant stats (but even if he keeps beating Vale and Lorenzo, new talent is sure to emerge). But I’d say that the total 15 titles of Agostini, even the 13 of Nieto, are surely beyond his reach.

      2. I’ve just looked at Agostini’s racing record on Wikipedia. It’s absolutely insane. 3 consecutive seasons where he won every race he competed in, in 2 different categories.

        1. Yes, the guy is an absolute legend, and don’t forget his 10 Isle of Man TT and 7 Ulster GP titles!

          However, he did not have to face much of a competition for years after Mike Hailwood retired, and his MV Agusta bike was the class of the field

          For most of the aughties Valentino Rossi didn’t have too much of a competition either, but when he did have it he often lost. I’d say only in 2 of his 7 MotoGP winning years he had some serious competition and still won: in 2004 with Sete Gibernau (a pretty decent but not a world-class pilot) and in 2009 with Jorge Lorenzo (then still on his way to be a world-class pilot). 2009 is still his last winning year and tiome is running out for him, I wouldn’t give him more than two additional season in motoGP (but if he manages to win them both he will outclass Agostini. Long odds, though).

  7. @Offdutyrockstar I hope COTD is right about Renault producing a good engine in 2017 but the argument presented to back it up is factually incorrect. Renault weren’t the consistent challenge to Merc on the engine side since the V6 era began at any time. It’s a consensus that the challenge RBR presented to the Merc team in 2016(and 2014) was in spite of the engine not because of it. In fact the Ferrari engine has been consistently better than the Merc from the beginning of 2015 at least, and if the Renault power unit was at least on Ferrari’s level it would be further closer to Merc. I have no doubt Renault are capable of producing a good engine(though apart from the 1991-97 period it never had the best engine in F1), but let’s not get carried away with Renault’s performance in 2016

    1. Meant “since the start of 2015, the Ferrari engine is consistently better than the Renault engine ” of course, not the Merc engine.

  8. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    29th December 2016, 12:27

    Thank you @keithcollantine for the COTD, honoured!

  9. Well, makes total sense not to give F1 teams any decission on rule making.

    But FOM does not understand aero, neither does FIA ..

    Sport spends less money on research of new aero rules than F1 teams spend on new front wings in a single week.

  10. If that top article is about the teams voting on rules and it possibly being scrapped them I’m all for it. F1 teams couldn’t agree on what butter to have on their bread. I’d personally have a sporting director to be the top guy on the rules side of things

    1. You are right about that. Every time teams vote they never agree on anything.

  11. It’s about time Liberty Media is getting rid of the team voting rights. The always vote for themselfs and nobody else. It is almost like taking advantage.
    Looks like Liberty Media is on the right track.
    Politics should stay far away from F1. This is a sport not House of Commons.
    Wish Liberty Media would own more percentage of formula one.

  12. Maybe one day Liberty Media will bring back those awesome V10 engines.

    1. Speaking of F1 politics, what is the status (did I miss it?) of the suit or complaint about F1 Bernie’s method of handing out money to the teams, i.e. constructors championship? The filing was based on some aspect of being noncompetitive as I recall….. Thanks, RacerNorriski

      1. Ray Norris, there do not seem to have been any further public announcements since September, when Fernley confirmed that the EU Competition Commission had sent formal requests for further evidence to be submitted. It looks like it is still active, but moving forwards slowly given the volume of evidence that has to be considered.

  13. DC is so right about supplying information to fans.

    We all know ERS harvesting and deployment is key for the racing, but FOM don’t tell us anything. It drives most of the defending and passing, but the commentators are left guessing, or just not saying anything about it, until after the race. Last year they finally came up with a display for it, but it was poor and hardly used. All the fuss and moaning about Mercedes and noise or whatever, and they’re not doing simple things that would improve ‘the show’ very easily.

    1. @lockup, I might be mistaken and GT-Racer is probably the person to ask on this point, but I was under the impression that part of the problem was that FOM was actually providing some of that information and found that most of the broadcasters weren’t that sure what to do with it (Sky began to incorporate some of that info into their broadcasts, but most didn’t).

      1. Ah @anon, interesting. Well IMO if they designed the graphics well, as opposed to just giving it to a graphic designer :) , it would be easier for broadcasters to use.

        Also if I were FOM I would formally train the broadcasters. It’s too obvious sometimes that things have moved on since any of the pundits actually raced an F1 car. Brundle is as good as anyone but even he often seems not to realise, for example, that a backmarker in front of a defending car means the defender has DRS and that means the attacker is screwed on that lap – he’s still inclined to see it as an opportunity, as it was back in the day.

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