F1 Commission returns; Flavio works on ‘the show’; Max removed immdeiately?

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Luca di Montezemolo shared a few more details of the agreement between the FIA and FOTA that has reduced tension and ostensibly ended the row between the two controlling parties of F1 and the teams.

As expected, the soon-to-be-crafted Concorde Agreement extension will include the return of the F1 Commission which is a representative group that will create and approve the regulations for F1. The crux of FOTA’s issue has been that Max controlled that process at his whim and the decisions made have increased the cost of F1 and damaged the teams due to his shifting nature and frequently regulations changes. Stable regulations usually equal stable costs, or so the teams have argued. This is actually good news because if memory serves correctly, the track owners are also represented at some level in the F1 commission. I could be wrong there but I was thinking this was the case in the past.

Also new among the fold of F1 power and control is that Flavio Briatore, FOTA commercial director, will be working with the FOM on improving the show. Let’s face it, what better guy to improve the show? Flavio is a show himself and I must admit, he has made great strides in impressing me this year. That certainly doesn’t matter to him but in my own mind, that is important.

“We said since the beginning that we were looking for some priority points and I want to thank the FIA World Motor Sport Council for the very positive meeting yesterday and the very constructive attitude towards the interests of F1,” explained di Montezemolo.

“We will keep the 2009 rules the same for everybody – this is extremely important. We will have stability in F1 at least until the end of 2012. It means no [extra] cost, because with stability you have no cost.

“We also have governance like in the previous years in which the rules come from clear procedure with the F1 Commission. And we will continue as teams, as car manufacturers, to work for important cost reductions as we have already done with success regarding engines and gearboxes.

“Flavio will also be working with the commercial rights holder to improve the show and the interest in the sport.”

Martin Whitmarsh had a few things to say today as well. You can see his eulogy on KERS here but he also reminded us all that FOTA did an extensive survey of the fans and he reminds us that this is something that should be looked at very closely and worked upon by Flavio.

“I think as you are aware, FOTA undertook a very interesting survey of fans trying to understand what they wanted,” explained Whitmarsh. “The initial work led us to some conclusions that were put before the FIA.

“Unfortunately, none of those suggestions and ideas, which we felt were positive, were accepted. We now have to continue that work.

“We have to be structured in the way that we speak to the audience, asking them what they expect from the sport, the format of the sport, how they understand it, how it’s presented, how we provide information. We have to continue the work.

“There is no singular point; I think it is listening to what the audience wants and making sure that we respond to it to improve the show, the spectacle and the information that’s provided.”

Where is BERNIE???!!!??? Max is thrown under the bus with, if rumor or the Daily Mail is correct, immediate effect as far as all decisions and negotiations are concerned. But what about the revenue? What about CVC and FOM? The teams were very keen on a different distribution model of the revenues and the big question on my mind is; was that done? Bernie has been very quiet yesterday and today and it is interesting that he has not had much to say about the deal. He has made it sound as if he was looking on it from a distance and that Max and that wacky FOTA have finally got something worked out but there is no question he would have been steeped in these conversations. Unless otherwise stated by Bernie at a later date, I would say Bernie chose FOTA and Max will now take a final bow…something he should have done a year ago.

But never mind that, the Daily Mail is suggesting that:

The 69-year-old confirmed he would not seek re-election in October for a fifth term of office. However, it is understood that he will, in fact, hand over responsibilities to Michel Boeri, president of both the FIA Senate and of the Automobile Club de Monaco, with immediate effect.

I can’t help but think that Bernie pulled the plug on Max as CVC was more than likely breathing down he neck to get rid of the man that could cost the CVC hundreds of millions of dollars. Max may have been powerful and full of bravado but he wasn’t big enough to cost CVC their investment. As Max and Bernie tried to play upon FOTA’s perceived disunity, even succeeding in scaring Williams and Force India into breaking away from FOTA, the Teams Association returned the salvo by playing upon CVC’s debt load and massive interest payments that can only be sated by the revenue stream they hedged on from F1. That only happens if the teams participate.

I must say that CVC has very little interest other than a monetary investment in F1. FOTA would do well to consider that as they allowed their representative, Bernie Ecclestone, to drag this row out over the last couple years. FOTA must know that the commercial rights holder is not a friend of theirs as they were allowing Bernie and Max free license to accuse, assert and humiliate (John Howett) the participants of the very series that they feed upon monetarily. FOTA used CVC’s debt to handcuff Bernie and Max and force the change that is fan-supported and manufacturer approved. In my mind, Luca should take a long, hard look at CVC and have a serious conversation about their long-term interest in the sport beyond collecting dividends to pay back their debt. This meeting, honestly, should be held without Bernie as he would galvanize the room and conversation. Just my two cents.


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