Ecclestone has now come out with very robust attacks on FOTA and FiA.
Bernard Ecclestone wrote:It (FOTA) will never work because it is made by teams that fight against each other on the tracks. When the teams examine rules, everyone tries to get an advantage. The teams wanted to divide F1, but now they understand that it is good to give importance to the money that they get (from FOM). There is no space for FOTA...
Bernard Ecclestone wrote:I'm not happy with the performance of F1's new teams. To put a stop to F1's unstable rules we maybe need an independent body, independent from the teams and the FIA writing the regulations. There are enough people out there who could do it. Whether a 13th team will join the grid next year we will have to see. We have told them that if they can't put 16 million in now we don't want them. If they can't find that now there is no way they are going to run. It will take at least a few years before new outfits backed by car manufacturers will re-enter the sport. Nevertheless there is no need to reduce team budgets because people will spend what they have got.
I came across a pretty good comment in Joe Saward's blog. Joe is one of the most experienced observers of F1 politics.
Joe Saward wrote:Bernie Ecclestone .. has planted the suggestion that there might be need for an independent rule-making body for the sport. This is clearly a dig at the FIA, which – lest we forget – is already the independent rule-making body for the sport. This is a fairly transparent manoeuvre. Bernie knows that in a few months from now the negotiations for the next Concorde Agreement must begin and he understands that this is going to be a huge challenge for him as the teams and the FIA are now in a situation where there are natural allies, as the commercial rights holders (CVC Capital Partners), whom he represents, are not going to get the same kind of terms from the teams as they have managed in the past. Taking 50% of the profits of the sport has been a great bonus for these folk but they have to face up to the reality that the future number will have to be more like 15%. The game now is to try to split the teams and undermine the federation. The problem is that after years of this sort of thing the teams have learned that being divided is to be conquered. In the old days Ecclestone had Max Mosley in the Place de la Concorde and so had a pretty solid alliance against the teams. This is no longer the case.
It will be fun to watch the negotiations, but hopefully this time they will not lead the usual brinksmanship. The wisest route forward would be for CVC to either take the money and run, selling the rights to someone with a less aggressive need to make profits and then the teams will get more, the FIA will get more, the commercial rights holders Will be amply rewarded (rather than overly rewarded) and the sport as a whole will benefit from more money staying in it and stability.
I have long believed that the best solution is for all the parties involved to establish some kind of trust to look after the commercial matters and keep the money-grabbers out. Whether that can be negotiated is another matter, but with a strong FOTA, allied to the FIA this is entirely possible.
The game plan for Bernie is clearly to attack the FiA at every possible angle and make life difficult for FOTA. To execute that strategy he will try to promote the different interests of rich and poor FOTA teams and kill off as many of the new teams as he can. Only divided and weak teams will allow him to keep running the sport to his own agenda and exploit race goers and tax payers for bank profits.
The first thing that he will try to kill is the resource restriction agreement (RRA) which was put in place to stabilize the teams in the economic crisis. Ferrari is the obvious weak link in FOTA. They have already betrayed the GPMA/GPWC once in 2005 and Bernie is making overtures to them once again.
Bernard Ecclestone wrote:The only two things in the business worth having are the name Formula One and Ferrari.