AUGUST 3, 2001
F1 teams launch EU complaint
IN the middle of June the European Commission's Competition Directorate completed its investigation into Formula 1 and announced that F1 was cleared of all competition questions. But that clearance was dependent on a further month during which any objections could be raised by interested parties.
That should have run out in the middle of July but we understand that there were a series of differences in the different translations which meant that the actual date was pushed back to middle of August. Now it seems at least six F1 teams have complained about the settlement which, they say, includes an undertaking by the FIA to lease certain intellectual property rights which the federation has no right to reassign. It is a legal point of some importance and the teams seem to want to try to use the clause as a lever to speed up the renegotiation of the Concorde Agreement which is being discussed at the moment. The teams involved are believed to be McLaren, Williams, Jordan, British American Racing, Benetton and Arrows. The complaint is also believed to include a request to have the FIA Court of Appeal system revamped although the Competition Directorate says it is not worried about the current structure.
The teams are being very secretive about the complaint but our sources within the European Commission say that there is unlikely to be much of a delay and that the clearance for F1 could be finalized by September 1. Once the clearance is organized, a new Concorde Agreement can be negotiated and then there will be sufficient stability for organizations involved to float on the Stock Exchanges. Several teams and Kirch would seem to be keen on the idea of flotations. Kirch still has regulatory problems in Germany as its deal with EM.TV agreed last winter still has to be cleared by the German competition authorities. Kirch agreed to sell off the 45% shareholding EM.TV had in rival TeleMunchen to avoid a monopoly situation but to date no-one has shown any interest in buying the shares and that means that Kirch has been blocked from completing the deal. The issue may be avoided if the new management of EM.TV decided to sell its shares in F1 to someone else.
|Print News Story|