Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is it Time for FOTA to Dump CVC and Uncle Bernie?

A quote from
"The situation (on the British GP) is far from clear after a report in Britain's Daily Express newspaper on Wednesday suggested that Donington Park leaseholder Simon Gillett had paid outstanding money to Bernie Ecclestone – although it was not clear whether or not this had been completed before close of business on deadline day. Furthermore, Silverstone sources have indicated that the track will only commit to a deal with Bernie Ecclestone if the commercial terms make sense – and the two parties remain some distance apart on the finances so far."
Martin Whitmarsh of McLaren thinks F1 would be better off with a British GP, and who can argue?
Bernie cost the US an F1 race (along with Mr. George's inadequate leadership) by asking for the moon when it was just beginning to catch on in the Midwest. Not to mention crowds equal to or greater then most European GP's.
Turns out the sponsors would have coughed up the money if Mr George had asked them.
I suggest F1 (FOTA) and the FIA find a way out of putting up with the CVC and Bernie's stupid demands and move on with racing at venues where both crowds and TV will enjoy success.
FIA GT has proved that sponsors like live streaming of events as well as broadcast TV links, so quit dithering and get going. Time is short as a continued economic slump will soon stop the rich countries, who do appreciate F1, from continuing to do business in this arena by buying races at any price.
If I'm wrong, let me know.


  1. How would you suggest that FOTA "dump CVC and Uncle Bernie"?

    If you don't like your boss, do you dump him?

    FOTA is the ten F1 teams.

    CVC Capital Partners own the commercial rights to F1 through their ownership of Formula One Administration Ltd. (FOAL) and Formula One Management (FOM).

    So, unless the teams are willing to walk away from F1, they really have no choice but to "put up with" CVC and Mr. Ecclestone. (By the way, other companies that CVC owns which you may recognize are Samsonite Luggage and Pilot Truck Stops)

    FOTA have little voice in choosing the racing venues. This is a commercial matter and is negotiated between FOAL and the promoters.

    FIA have little say in commercial matters, as they sold the commercial rights to F1 to Mr. Ecclestone some time ago (who cashed out and sold part of his company to CVC).

    It is popular to bash Bernie Ecclestone, but he does what he is paid to do, which is maximize the commercial value of F1. Grand Prix calendar dates are a finite commodity. If Abu Dhabi is willing to pay $30 million for a Grand Prix, why should Bernie sell a calendar date to Tony George for $5 million? You might call this a "stupid demand", but others would call it smart business.

    I would agree with you that FOAL are probably putting short term profits ahead of the long term viability of the sport. I would also agree that the business model of Formula 1 needs fixing.

    I believe Mr. Ecclestone is oftentimes unfairly maligned by people who do not understand the dynamics in play and the relationship between the various F1 entities.


  2. An excellent reply. FOTA would and almost did leave F1.
    The idea of comments are to stir up and get comments back like yours, Tony.