I was reading articles related to the application deadline of May 29 and the FOTA statement about their submitting their entries. I was interested in just what FOTA had included in their proviso and looking for their angle of getting the F1 Commission re-established within a new Concorde Agreement. To me, the single factor FOTA is looking for is control or at least overwhelming input on the regulations of the sport and its future. This couldn’t be done outside of the Concorde Agreement as it expired in 2007 (except for Ferrari who’s obligation ends in 2012). The expired Concorde Agreement seems to have been the leverage Max Mosley, FIA President, used to seize command of the sport and make regulations changes at his whim.
While perusing through articles, I was intrigued by Pitpass’s story, fueled by Chris Sylt, about a huge, seismic move by Max Mosley coming on June 12 when the final list of accepted applications/participating teams will be announced. Their position is that if FOTA teams, excluding Williams and Ferrari as the former broke ranks and signed the application and Ferrari are still committed until 2012, signed the application without modifying it; they will be legally bound to the 2010 regulations as they stand which is the two-tier system and budget cap. They go one to suggest that if they signed the application but modified it directly, that would make the document void. You can read the full article here at Pitpass.
In short, they suggest one of three things have happened:
1. They signed it with a proviso which obligates them legally to 2010 regulations.
2. They did not sign it and included their proviso which makes their entry invalid meaning they missed the deadline.
3. They made adjustments to the actual document itself signed it which makes it invalid.
They quote an anonymous F1 “insider” that claims the whole issue is heading for a massive power move by Max on in June. Alright, I get the nuances of a signed document without modification versus a modified document versus a non-signed document. That’s all relatively academic and dependent on French law etc. A document that was signed, unmolested and referencing a proviso is not something a team could not defend as intent is clear and th document itself is referenced in the proviso. The Proviso itself is not a recognized document of the FIA’s but it is a legally binding document offered by FOTA members in concordance with the application. This will be well documented and it is a bit silly to suggest that Ferrari, BMW, McLaren and others attorneys didn’t consider this rudimentary legal issue. Sorry Pitpass, a little bit of aggrandizing there.
No, what is more important in considering Max’s silence is if he is planning a master stroke in June; what is it? The teams have claimed they made ground with Max in the final days before May 29 and Bernie was included. The concessions Max spoke of were providing a “glide path” for the top teams to ease down their operation and he admitted to returning back to the F1 Commission although he wasn’t keen about it. There may be some funny business that happens on June 12th but let us be realistic here. they have 3-5 new teams who have signed up depending on who ou believe. This is 10 new cars to be added to the field while the old guard already in F1 has 20 cars on the grid. So this makes 30 cars for F1 next season? Max hinted that there may be a team or two that does not come back and many have been scratching their heads and leveling their Word Processors at Toyota and BMW.
One thing you could see Max do is deny entry for a team like Toyota, STR, BMW or Force India in favor of one or more of the new teams. Having read the regulations, I can not recall any preference given to existing teams in the sport signed or not signed to a current Concorde Agreement. Could we see Toyota not be invited back in favor of welcoming Campos? Possibly. Max sees no distinction between the teams and their ability to stage good, competitive racing. A $65 million team is just as good or better for F1 than a $300 Million team like Toyota in his mind. Actually better because of this:
Max and Bernie are facing the demon they have created. They got the car companies in the sport and now they are bigger and more powerful than FOM or the FIA. They are close to losing control of the sport they hijacked many years ago and having all new privateers is much easier to control, manipulate and mold. They could leave some of the big teams out of the 2010 season so they can dilute FOTA and gain more control with lower budgets and more CVC money for FOM. To Mr. Sylt’s point, some of the legal ramifications of a signed, unmolested document could be used to make this culling action of Max’s possible. It would be cheap and tawdry in my opinion to pull this off on teams already established in F1 but I really wouldn’t put anything beyond Max at this point. If he is faced with committing to a new Concorde Agreement; better to have a bunch of new, under funded teams to push around for another 4 years than the juggernauts of F1 that are currently chewing through the seat of his pants.
That’s my hunch Mr. Sylt and it doesn’t rely on and “insider” or legal documents 101 but like your hypothesis 9which I very much enjoyed) it does have legs.