N. Technology…did it stand a chance?

N. Technology’s parent company MSC had filed suit against the FIA regarding their selection process for awarding grid positions for the 2010 season. That bid was unsuccessful, as it turns out, to prove any wrongdoing on the FIA’s part. At least the court rejected all points made by MSC.

N. Technology FIA

The argument was over the process the FIA used to select the teams to be included in the 2010 season. While the FIA maintain their thorough process, many questioned whether they overstepped their bounds by allegedly demanding that all new teams use the Cosworth engine option as authored and put in place by the FIA.

Like all court cases the FIA finds itself in, they usually end in tears for the prosecution. The FIA’s seemingly untouchable organization has a veneer of epic proportions and former president Max Mosley worked the legal angle better than anyone. did N. Technology actually stand a chance of winning this case? I can’t imagine they did but then I haven’t heard to explicit charges or the defense.

What we did hear is the FIA crowing about their victory via their website press release section:

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris has upheld the FIA’s selection procedure for new teams in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and rejected a legal action filed by UK company MSC, one of the unsuccessful candidates. The court rejected all points raised by MSC and ordered the company to pay the FIA’s legal costs.

MSC was one of 15 new organizations to submit an application to compete in the championship in 2010. The FIA’s selection procedure involved a thorough due diligence process on all applications with the assistance of financial auditors Deloitte & Touche and other technical experts.

Was N. Technology, Lola, Prodrive and others issued commands that they must use the Cosworth option or forget about applying for entry in 2010? The FIA dodged that question and Cosworth was quick to deny they played any part in such a scheme. Interestingly Martin Birrane of Lola had this to say on the 18th of November:

What are your thoughts on the process that the FIA went through in identifying the three successful applicants?

“ I do not think that technical capabilities were given sufficient consideration in the process. From commercial, accounting and sporting matters, everything seemed very thorough indeed. However, messages that we got from the FIA were that everything at Lola was in line with their standards and that of an organisation intent on being competitive in Formula One. It remains to be seen whether the three new teams that were selected then can achieve more than just ‘also ran’ status.”

What is your opinion of N-Technology’s on-going legal action against the FIA?

“Well, Lola had an invitation to join this action but refused. What I will say is that Lola certainly spent more than any of the new teams in getting an F1 project started. It was a risk but one that we were willing to take.

“The more positive way to look at the situation now is to ensure that we have the strength in depth to be successful when the opportunity arises again, which we are convinced it will do.”

If anyone had a reason to question the “process” by which the FIA made its selections, Lola did but declined to join the legal suit filed by N. Technology. Was there something more to the issue as Lola would certainly qualify for the right kind of team to enter F1. The technology, spirit of a racer and resources to be competitive. then again, are they too close to a manufacturer to be considered? Would they have found it easy to join the FOTA fold and add muscle to the Teams Association against the FOM and FIA? Are USF1, Lotus F1, Campos Meta and Manor more pliable? Controllable? Cosworth-able? Campos has Dallara backing the chassis so that makes sense at some level. Lotus has manufacturer money and Mike Gascoyne; that too makes sense. This leaves USF1 and Manor as the two teams more financially, technically and structurally sound than Lola and N. Technology?

The questions are certainly still there and perhaps we will never know nor should we know, if I’m honest. But one has to wonder, and I don’t mean this as a personal attack on USF1 or Manor, if these two teams are remotely as sound as Lola, AMR/Prodrive or N. Technology. The decision to accept Manor and USF1 alone has to signal MSC that they had no real chance in piercing the corporate veil of the selection process because it is, after all, about power and money and politics. I submit that AMR/Prodrive and Lola are smart enough to not engage in such legal folly or enter a land war in China.

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