Formula One faces European Parliament Investigation

Formula One is facing a European Parliament Investigation into anti-competitive practices, namely the skewed distribution of prize money across the grid.

The investigation arrives too late for Manor Racing, but will look into the financial payouts at the end of the season. There should obviously be higher payments for teams that finish higher up the order, but there needs to be a rethink to stabilise the grid.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 03: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 3, 2016 in Spielberg, Austria.
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 03: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 3, 2016 in Spielberg, Austria.

One Member of Parliament said,

“You might think F1 is just for petrol-headed adrenaline junkies—but actually it’s important for our economy as well. In ‘Motorsport Valley’, which stretches from the southeast of England into the Midlands, motorsports provide around 40,000 jobs. But these are at risk.”

– Anneliese Dodds

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Glaring generalisations aside, making the grid more stable would allow smaller teams to use funds less sparingly to develop their cars during the season, bringing back the competitive edge that has been missing for a few seasons. Another important aspect is Formula One looking after its own. People working for race teams shouldn’t suffer the same instant demise as those at Manor, especially in the context of improved performance. The top teams like Red Bull,  Mercedes and Ferrari already pour a ridiculous amount of money into their race programmes and huge sponsorship revenue means that these teams can pretty much look after themselves.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 13: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer overtakes Nico Rosberg of Germany driving the (6) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 13, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – NOVEMBER 13: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer overtakes Nico Rosberg of Germany driving the (6) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 13, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 

 

 

Red Bull generated $266m in Sponsorship ahead of the 2016 season. Compared to Manor Racing’s $0.5m, the role of FOM as a financial guardian becomes a bit clearer. There needs to be a better established safety net. Some fans ridicule teams like Sauber, but given a fairer distribution, this team would be able to develop and perform at a greater level.

Speaking of money, check out the F1 driver’s 2017 salaries – Staggering:

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The fact that the European Parliament are investigating the sport should cause some alarms bells to ring, although Liberty Media and Ross Brawn have clarified the need for a better distribution of funds and a safety net for the back of the grid. It isn’t a hand-out, more a restructuring that would see the revenues generated in and around the F1 circus be better used and actually given to the teams that make the sport what it is.