Honda website
Honda website

MAY 31, 2006

Speculation about the F1 Commission

The new FIA Formula 1 Commission is being chosen at the moment. This body has been designed to streamline the decision-making processes in F1 and reduces the power of the teams and the racing circuits in F1. In the past all the teams have had a seat on the F1 Commission but in future only six teams will have a voice on the new commission. In addition there will no representation for sponsors, engine manufacturers or tyre suppliers. The race promoters will retain their some of their power with five representatives (rather than eight) while the FIA and FOM will each get a voice.

Obviously the selection of F1 Commission is controversial because it is in the interest of the FIA to have the least troublesome group possible and so the federation will likely select those who will agree with its policies and not rock the boat. Given that the FIA World Motorsport Council generally does what it is told there is no reason to suggest that they will object to the criteria for selection. However, rumours (almost certainly leaked) that the teams will not include McLaren and Toyota are not at all surprising and there are bound to be suggestions that FIA President Max Mosley is packing the commission with his supporters. This would not be a very wise policy to follow as the FIA already has credibility problems in the sport and it would be much wiser to let in the troublesome teams because the power of the commission is sufficiently reduced to make it less relevant than once it was. The automobile manufacturers are, in any case, saying that they will continue to work closely and so should vote according to their common interest rather than their individual goals. While some of those involved may not be very trustworthy in this respect, they have to date held together and there is no reason to suggest that they will not stay united in the future.

One problem is that the selection process can be looked at in different ways. It might be wiser to give teams a political voice based on their longevity in the sport (as the FIA has done in the past) but that opens a can of worms because while Ferrari, McLaren and Williams are clear candidates, the other teams have changed hands enough times to make it less than clear which is the oldest established. Renault has existed under different names since 1981 but one could argue that the team was only bought by the French company six years ago.

This selection process would have been controversial.

The alternative of using national licences is not really much better because Britain - which dominates the F1 industry - will get just one vote and that has to be a choice between Williams and McLaren. Mosley is understood to be proposing that soon-to-be Austrian licence-holder Red Bull Racing (a strong ally) should be given a vote while another longtime supporter Ferrari will obviously represent Italy. There is a problem in Japan where there are three teams with licences: Toyota, Honda and Super Aguri. This means that one of them will have to left out. Renault will get a seat thanks to being French connection and BMW Sauber will be there with a German or Swiss licence. It is arguable whether a team should be allowed to be elected to a position while still applying for a licence as Red Bull is doing as faced by that situation McLaren-Mercedes and Toyota might seek different licences.

If this proposal is voted through by the World Council - and it is very unlikely to be rejected - McLaren and Toyota will not have any representation on the commission.

It might be wiser if the membership of the commission were decided based on performance with the top six teams in the Constructors' Championship being given the votes.