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GP Week : Issue 194
F1 >>> FEATUrE Yes, seven of the 11 teams have financial issues, but what I’m saying, what does that say about the state of Formula One today? It just says that some people, at the CVC level maybe... we understand their position. They want to cash in, they need to keep the value of Formula One very high for the upcoming IPO but at the same time they need the teams to run the show. So, there is maybe a better balance. But it’s too late to discuss this. We all have signed a commercial agreement so I think the key now is to make sure we can put the costs down to keep a very high quality show and sport like we have today and at least we will save, let’s say, a majority of the teams. But again, keeping the costs down, you have the RRA, the teams are policing it and the teams can’t agree on anything. so what is the solution to keep the costs down? I don’t know yet. Today there is more and more talk in the paddock, more and more discussion about the fact that F1 needs to cut costs. So this is maybe one of the very few positions we all agree with. So I think we don’t know how to do it. So there is still some room to open the books, to put the proper reinforcement in place but we are going to come with a solution. some team principals have also said that the best way would be to get a third party like the FIA to regulate the costs. Is that something you are in favour of? No. I would be in favour of a proper reinforcement from the FIA because you need to have obviously a police in the system. But I think it’s better if the teams can sit down with FOM and the FIA and have a three party, if you want, discussion with a clear proposal, and then put in place a proper reinforcement. And then, yes, that is the solution for me. Moving on to the strategy Group. You’re a part of the strategy Group, there was a meeting on Monday. Do you think that’s a democratic body because you have six teams, six FOM votes, six FIA votes, so what about the smaller mid-field and back end teams? This is very democratic and I will explain to you why. In an ideal world, if you seat everybody down at the same table, you will never get anything, okay? Nothing. And as Bernie has said many times, you need a little bit of dictatorship in this world, if not you will never go one way, because everybody is so selfish that he is trying to drag the discussion into his favour, or let’s say it’s everyone for himself. So if you have 20 parties on the table, you will go nowhere. So this is why there was a smaller group to try to discuss, it’s not discussing about the way F1 should be, but it’s just talking about different positions. Don’t forget, the Strategy Group is reporting to the F1 Commission where everybody is sitting. So which means everybody has a voice on what is going on. It’s just that instead of bringing a hundred topics to the table, we clean this and we bring the most important to the F1 Commission. But every topic will go through the F1 Commission so everybody will have a word to say. But there were some fears that the bigger teams might use the strategy Group to bring in customer cars. Is that a concern you share. Are you in favour of customer cars? I don’t think the teams are in favour of customer cars except maybe Red Bull. And Ferrari probably as well? [Wags finger] No? No customer cars? The reason why customer cars is [being talked about] – you have to think, if you are the owner or responsible for the sport as a business, you have to think about what will happen in five years. If we lose teams, what will happen in five years? I think it’s one of the ideas to protect the sport against the turbulence, let’s say, we are going through. As you know, most of the teams aren’t getting enough revenue, or let’s say it’s costing too much. At the same time, I think there is some other way to protect F1 and maybe make sure there is a guarantee of six or seven teams which are capable of building maybe a third car and running three cars. That for me will be the solution, to allow, maybe one day, teams to run three cars to make sure we have enough cars on the grid, if the grid is shrinking. 24 GPWEEK.com // 24 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: