If you have not bookmarked www.Grandprix.com, shame on you. They do a terrific job and are above reproach on many of their insights.
This piece is an example of their thoughtful insight to the news story of Maxâ€™s recent call for expense cutting measures in F1. As I have stated, when connecting the dots (canceled Indy GP, Maxâ€™s call for the UK government support of the GP, cost-cutting measures by teams, more Asian races willing to be government backed and paid for) you start to get the impression that F1 is short of cash. Scratch thatâ€¦it is actually generating cash but like a lifestyle company, it is being distributed to Mr. Ecclestone, investors and trusts. What remains goes to the teams.
The Concorde Agreement has always been a sticking point but as Mr. Ecclestone points out, he has made many millionaires in this sport. True. But Mr. Ecclestone, unless he has a secret, will not live forever and his plan for succession apparently included selling the F1 majority stake to an investment group. Being a minority in any investment is not a good position to be in unless you are contractually assured of certain things in your minority status. I assume Mr. Ecclestoneâ€™s buy/sell agreement has such language.
This article points out that the IOC only retains 8% of revenues for the administration of the Olympics. The rest is kept in the sport and insures a smooth operation and promotion. Suggesting that this happen in F1 is a noble charge but I fear it is highly unlikely given the current ownership structure (oddly the teams didnâ€™t balk at the sale of F1 rights as much as I thought they would). The stakes are high and while I agree the money should be kept in F1, Mr. Ecclestone has an agreement with the teams and FIA (the Concorde agreement).
At this point one would politely ask Mr. Ecclestone to look beyond the billions he has made in F1 and consider the fan, the sport and the future of a series he so obviously loves. When Mr. Ecclestone leaves this sport, what will fill the vacuum of such a galvanizing persona who adds gravitas to any situation be it F1 or football? Rightfully, Bernie has made a fortune on shrewd investment moves. Here is hoping that compassion in his golden years will see a rebirth of F1 with the finances to see it through the next 50 years. Can Max usher in a bloodless coup and see the FIA rise to the challenge and take F1 under its wing like NASCAR and the France Family? Can the FIA service the debt it would acquire in a buy-out of the current F1 investors/ownership? I think it is a good idea as the manufacturerâ€™s running the sport is a bit like the fox running the hen house. Just my opinion.