Force India and Sauber withdraw EU complaint against F1

2018 F1 season

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Force India and Sauber have withdrawn their complaint to the European Union about anti-competitive practices in Formula One.

The teams brought the complaint in September alleging they had been locked out of Formula One’s rule-making body and that other teams were given preferential financial terms. They cited the change in ownership of the sport as one of the reasons behind their decision to drop the protest.

“We have decided to withdraw the complaint we lodged with the European Commission in 2015 on the subject of anti-competitive practices in the sport of Formula 1,” the teams confirmed in a statement on Thursday.

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“We have been greatly encouraged by the dialogue that has been introduced following the appointment of Chase Carey as Executive Chairman and CEO of the Formula 1 commercial rights holder and his new management team. Their approach has brought a new culture of transparency to the sport and illustrates willingness to debate fundamental issues such as the distribution of the prize fund monies, cost control and engine regulations.

“We are encouraged and reassured by the even-handed and fair negotiating approach taken by the new management of Formula 1 to all the teams and their issues. While the concerns leading to the compliant were fully justified, we believe this new approach provides the necessary degree of assurance that our concerns will be looked at objectively, and we prefer to resolve the issues facing the sport through dialogue rather than a legal dispute.

“We want to support this transformational process in Formula 1 and thus have resolved to withdraw our complaint with immediate effect.”

According to sources a settlement has been discussed between the parties.

The complaint was lodged in September 2015. At the time Force India said it was “questioning the governance of Formula One and showing that the system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula One’s rules are set is both unfair and unlawful.”

An EU Commission spokesperson confirmed to F1 Fanatic that “a complaint concerning Formula 1 has been withdrawn”.

“We will continue monitoring different markets to detect any evidence of breaches of EU competition rules, including in the sports sector,” they added.

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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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11 comments on “Force India and Sauber withdraw EU complaint against F1”

  1. If they are in talks with the new administration (which in all fairness had nothing to do with the previous agreement, and the discrimination to smaller teams) and they think the issues will be resolved, it makes sense to withdrawn the complaint

    It is also encouraging for the future of F1, that Liberty wants to face the issues, even though there is not much that they can do at the moment, since there are binding agreements with the other teams (maybe some compensation until 2020 wouldn’t be a bad idea?)

    We will have to wait once again, as will Force India and Sauber, hopefully they manage to survive until the point a new, fairer agreement is stetted between the CRH/FOM/F1/SG/F1F/ME/GOD/OGD/DRS/KERS/RB/LM/YT/BK and the teams

    1. You forgot DOG.

      1. I thought Bernie had nothing to do it anymore

        Too much?
        I will see myself out

        1. Stay. :-)

  2. Why, times have changed.
    Sauber is now on a leash from Maranello. Had they gone for Honda then they might have held firm.
    Force India is a solid 4th yet again, by maximizing their assets; and they are well aware what their biggest asset is, so they won’t step out of line if MB don’t want it. And MB being dominant yet again there is no reason to stir the pot.
    And of course, Liberty is making the right sounds even if there’s not too much to show for it just yet.

  3. Good news that the teams have trust in the new owners and decide to stop this legal action.

    Of course, the EU does not need a complaint to investigate anti-competitive actions. Maybe, just maybe they can continue this and penalise the then shareholders of FOM (ill-gotten dividends of profits generated through anti-competitive actions)

  4. According to sources a settlement has been discussed between the parties.

    This is the most interesting bit to me.
    I wonder how much and where from?

    Also be interesting if Torro Rosso kick up a stink if other small teams are getting ‘settlements’. Although, they chose (or red bull forced them) not to join the original complaint.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      25th January 2018, 12:25

      Me too.
      It’s was a powerful stick to threaten to beat Liberty with if they didn’t snuff out the unfairness. With special payments and the like it was an open and shut case on the face of it.
      I imagine they must have cast-iron guarantees of some sort.

    2. Toro Rosso has enough leverage and power through RB, no need to make a fuss out of politics. They are well funded, and their role in the sport is clear as it can be.

  5. The cheque’s in the post, then?


    1. Not sure what principle you’re referring to. The whole thing was about money to begin with.

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