SEPTEMBER 2, 1996
Warren World Championship?
BOXING promoter Frank Warren says that he will help rebel Formula 1 teams McLaren, Williams and Tyrrell to start up their own series if they cannot agree terms with Bernie Ecclestone.
According to The Sunday Business newspaper Warren would "probably" offer around $20m a year to each team entered in a breakaway series, but indicated that he had not spoken to the teams about the idea. The newspaper said that he has the support of Brands Hatch owner Nicola Foulston.
While it may seem like a bright idea, a rebel championship is unlikely to ever happen, and Warren's plans seem to be more an opportunist's pitch than part of a well-planned and concerted effort to get a series off the ground.
Similar ideas have been bandied around at various points of conflict in F1 history. Back in 1976 there were grand announcements from something called World Championship Racing but these lasted less than a month.
In 1980 rebel F1 teams - members of the Formula One Constructors Association, which was run by Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley - ran a race at Jarama without the teams which supported FISA (the governing body). In November of that year FOCA was behind the announcement of a rival governing body called "The World Federation of Motorsport" which declared that it would be running "The World Professional Drivers Championship" the following year. In February 1981 the FOCA teams raced alone at Kyalami in South Africa - without Ferrari and Renault - but the event was not a success and in March FOCA and FISA made peace, creating the Concorde Agreement.
Rebel championships traditionally fail because - unlike boxing - the international federation is a strong body which has won legal recognition in the past. It enjoys consultative status with the United Nations and the Council of Europe. In short, the FIA can run motor racing - a small part of its activities - as it pleases. There can be outlaw championships but these must be completely independent. The FIA issues licenses for drivers, teams, circuits, stewards, scrutineers, marshals and medical, and any FIA licensee involved in a rebel championship could face a lifetime ban from FIA events.
In addition, we believe that the FIA has registered trademarks such as "Formula 1" to stop confusion arriving.
The idea of a rebel championship, therefore, while possible is totally impractical - as Mosley and Ecclestone found out when they were rebels. Now they are the FIA establishment.
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