JUNE 8, 2006
Pulling out or standing and fighting?
Honda and Toyota are not happy with the engine freeze being put forward by the FIA and according to reports are talking about pulling out of the sport if things do not change. The FIA may not care whether the two manufacturers stay or go but the federation is less excited by the prospect of any the manufacturers going off to the European Union to complain about the way the sport is run. The real danger for the sport is probably not that a couple of manufacturers might leave F1 but rather than a group of manufacturers might decide to challenge the authority of the federation.
In 2000 the European heads of government gathered in Nice for a Council of Europe. One of their aims was to define how to apply European Union law to the governance of sport. They drafted a document that is known as The Nice Declaration which set out the general principles by which EU institutions should deal with sport. In essence, the declaration says that sporting federations should be left to run themselves, so long as they have "due regard for national and community legislation and on the basis of a democratic and transparent method of operation".
If the car manufacturers think that this is not the case they have a right to make a complaint to the European authorities. The FIA would need to fight such a case if only to maintain its international credibility although another option would be to relocate its headquarters to Switzerland, which is outside European jurisdiction.
These are all worst case scenario solutions and it is hoped that the manufacturers and the federation can work together to ensure that the future of F1 is unspoilt by legal battles.
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