DECEMBER 22, 2006
Changing the structure of F1 decision-making
The FIA is considering further changes to the structure of decision-making in Formula 1 and we hear that the latest idea is to create a Formula 1 Major Manufacturers' Advisory Commission with members from the senior managements of BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ferrari, Honda, Renault and Toyota.
Ferrari was arguing some months ago that it was not a major manufacturer - when that argument suited its purposes - but now appears to have accepted that it does make a lot of cars. Spyker also makes cars but apparently is not doing enough to make it on to the new commission.
Our spies tell us that the World Motor Sport Council is being asked to decide if this is a good idea and whether or not this body should be under the presidence of Burkhard Goschel, currently chairman of the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association.
If agreed, such a body would effectively replace the GPMA, bringing all the manufacturers back together (as Toyota had announced its withdrawal from that organisation and Ferrari was never a member) and bring the lobbying body in-house at the FIA.
From a strategic point of view, the move makes sense for the FIA. The exact role of the new commission, its powers, and how it would interact with the F1 Commission are the key issues as to whether it is a good idea for the manufacturers but presumably terms have been discussed and agreed before the World Council has been asked to create the new body.
FIA commissions are normally consultative bodies that make proposals to the World Council. Under the current Concorde Agreement the F1 Commission has special powers that mean that the World Council can only accept or reject but cannot modify. The end of the current Agreement in December 2007 means that the structures can be rethought and although some say that a new deal is needed soon, the reality is that the FIA will benefit from leaving the sport without such a contract for the time-being as it means the federation is free to act as it pleases to get the rules it wants before being locked into a new structure.
The World Council is also believed to be voting on the 2009 rules which have been proposed (but not yet publicised) by the FIA Senate at a meeting earlier this week.
The F1 teams may not have the protection of a new Concorde Agreement but they are locked into the championship until at least the end of 2008 and some sources suggest that there is some kind of a deal which already ties them in until the end of 2012. If it exists, this must be some form of commercial deal - a five-year one - which has been agreed with Formula One Management.
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