JANUARY 21, 2003
McLaren and Melbourne
Stories doing the rounds suggesting that McLaren might boycott the first race of the year should not be taken too seriously. Boycotts are only effective if the major players all take part and, judging by the reaction the recently-announced revisions to the rules, most of the teams seem to be happy enough with what has been decided and thus any boycott would simply be a handicap for the teams taking part as they would not score any points while their rivals would be able to take advantage of their absence. It should also be noted that teams cannot simply boycott events when they are unhappy about something as they are committed to taking part in all events in a season unless there is force majeure. It is also worth noting that there is a rule in the secret Schedule 10 of the Concorde Agreement. This is believed to say that if a signatory team fails to participate in an event then it ceases to be entitled to the payment of TV money and instead becomes liable to pay fines to the promoters of that event. Thus a boycott is not only unlikely from a sporting point of view but could also cost a top team around $30m in the following season.
In other words, it is highly unlikely to happen as not even the most high-minded of F1 team bosses turn up their noses at $30m of revenue.
It is fair to say therefore that no boycott is very likely in Melbourne.
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