There’s the sport of racing, the business of racing and the politics of racing.
All three are being negatively affected by the ongoing Global Great Recession and the wallop it has delivered to automakers.
Nowhere is this clearer than in Formula One racing, once considered the pinnacle of the sport. And well it should have been, went its wildly profitable promoters, considering its international audience reaching a claimed 100 million or more for some races, and drivers who routinely made $20 million-plus annually as they flew in private jets to some of the world’s most expensive and exotic locations.
But that may soon be past tense
Last month, the Formula One Teams Association, comprised of the top eight FI teams, threatened their own racing war of independence from the sport’s sanctioning body, the scandal-wracked Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
A war of words ensued, with the FIA saying “lawyers have now examined the FOTA threat to begin a breakaway series. The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including willful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari’s legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law. The FIA will be issuing legal proceedings without delay.”
Ultimately a compromise was reached that — it was claimed at the time– would significantly cut the costs that teams incur by designing, building and running extremely sophisticated, purpose-built cars for one season. Ah, but that gets into the business and politics of racing, which are as conflicted by as many agendas, as there are teams competing to win.
Well, here we go again. The Associated Press has just reported that FOTA has walked out of a cost cutting meeting in Europe earlier today.