The potential franchise future of Formula One has Sauber Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn excited – but is it the right move for the sport?
The future of Formula one is up in the air. Ever since Liberty Media were confirmed as the new owners of the sport, we’ve known that Ecclestone’s era was over, and that a new – and uncertain – future was on the doorstep. That future might be potential talks of a franchise-like affair being introduced into the global Motorsport, much like the variety of franchises that exist within American sports. Katlenborn believes that a franchise system would just simply “make sense” for F1, and remove a lot of the tension and fear that smaller teams might succumb to:
“I think it makes sense to have that kind of a system.
For me the most important thing is that the value of the sport and the value of each team is improved.
Because we do ideally want to be in a world where it takes a lot to come in, but then, when you are in, you have a certain income and a certain existence, maybe not guaranteed – that is too strong a word – but given.
You don’t have to fear that you won’t be able to exist at this level, because the sport is giving you enough income to have a business that works.
You don’t need to have a huge profit, but one that allows you to be competitive in the sport. Maybe not for the top three, but, if you are among 10, in the midfield.
So that’s the idea behind this and that’s something very good for the sport.
If we do that kind of a franchise system, I think it’s important that the brands which are in the sport are preserved – because that again adds value to your franchise.” – Monisha Kaltenborn
Kalteborn’s right on the money. A wider and more varied Formula One – one that is properly managed – is arguably what the sport needs to sustain its growth and popularity over the coming years. And if there is one organisation that has been preparing itself for managing such an affair, it’s Liberty Media.
Following the scandal regarding secretive yet convicting payouts as reported by ITV, highlighting CVC as an operator of personal interest, riding the final few waves on what is becoming an outdated, greasy form of capitalism, an open franchise system that provides transparency might help the sport shake off its reputation of corruption.
Ecclestone commented that he was running a five-star Michelin restaurant, whereas Liberty are turning F1 into a burger joint. Not only does this attitude highlight the exclusivity in which the sport has operated in the past, it emanates an attitude that’s reflective in the payout system for teams, where brands like Ferrari that represent prestige will always be preferred to less funded fodder.
The implementation for a franchise system would be a move on sporting grounds and at least deserves to be explored.