JULY 26, 1999
Goodbye 12th team
THE Formula 1 team bosses have not had a meeting for several months now and it seems that there is unlikely to be a gathering of the clans until the Belgian or Italian GP at the earliest. Bernie Ecclestone is still recovering from his recent heart operation and it seems that he wants to be as fit as possible before he faces the combined ranks of team owners to hammer out necessary decisions. There is a lot to be discussed although it is now too late to make any major changes in the chassis regulations for the year 2000.
One decision which we expect to be taken is for the twelfth F1 franchise - which was to be taken by Honda - to be cancelled. Although FIA President Max Mosley said recently that the slot remains open but anyone wanting to take it up will have to pay a huge bond of around $25m before being given the opportunity.
No-one has come forward to take the place of Honda and the fact that there is a gap means that the value of the other 11 teams is reduced. Getting rid of the 12th team would solve that problem, forcing anyone with plans to enter F1 to buy one of the existing teams rather than starting up a new one. It also means that in the long-term teams will make more money as the TV fund will be divided between 11 rather than 12.
Formula 1 team owners do not usually vote against provisions which make them more money...
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