Is Formula One sick?

Bernie Ecclestone, at the FIA World Council meeting confessed that the situation in Formula One is critical with television audiences are down, as teams struggle to survive in the sport. This situation is being cited as a nightmare for Ecclestone. The situation has only become worse from last year and has shown no sign of improvements.

Is Formula One sick?

Is Formula One sick?

Perhaps that is the reason, that Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt has been given unprecedented powers to make recommendations and discussions regarding the pressing issues in Formula One. Another reason for the same is said to re-concentrate authority regarding Formula One reigns, back to Bernie. Teams like Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes had started to influence the decision making process of the sport, favouring them.

Bernie recently had held an important round of discussion with the teams regarding reduction in the price of the engine supplied by manufacturers to their teams. Ferrari used its contractual right of veto to reject the proposal forcing Bernie and Todt to come up with an alternative engine. The new plan then proposed an alternative engine would cost a fraction of the turbo hybrids and run alongside the originals under complicated equivalency formulas. However, the F1 commission which comprises of the teams, circuits, sponsor and tyre representatives, rejected this modified plan.

Manufacturers either can come up with a new cheaper engine or have alternative engines as earlier suggested. The date of 15th January has been given to the manufacturers for reporting back with their proposals and by 31st January, Todt and Bernie are planning to come out with their conclusion as to what the new regulations and mandate should be.

It can be clearly seen that the regulations and policy making process in the sport is highly influenced by all the stakeholders now. While the intentions to involve them all is noble, the outcome is a high barrier to change. The pressure groups block or resist any change that is not skewed in their favour which Bernie is highly apprehensive about.

Formula One has now become highly political and cynics suggest that the situation the sport is in might have been planned by former FIA president Max Mosely, of course without any proof. Some also believe that Bernie might has invented the whole situation where Red Bull tried to split with Renault to leverage the situation.

These are rough times for the sport and only the chain of events from here will lead us into the new season of F1 2016.

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Anjan K Merkap

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