Has the Concorde Hit Another Stumbling Block?

A division of disaffected groups within the Formula One paddock are purportedly considering lodging complaints with the EU Commission in reference to a perceived abuse of position of the Formula One Group (FOG) whilst formulating the new 2013-’20 Concorde Agreement.

Former Williams Chairman Adam Parr recently stated the Commission should look carefully at the “special conditions" afforded to Ferrari and Red Bull by the FOG in the distribution of revenues.

Such special conditions may fall foul of current European anti-monopoly legislation. Furthermore, if investigated, the EU may want to discern whether any parties accused of such monopolization have a market share greater than 5 percent in the Concorde agreement.

Parr left Williams in March amidst speculation he was dissatisfied with a deal that may have been brokered with Williams in the short-term, despite losing out substantially in the ability to earn greater revenues, revue rule changes and thus affect competitiveness.

Mercedes were said to be in a similarly disconsolate position to Williams until recently when they – along with Lotus and Williams – were offered a CCB (Constructors Championship Bonus Teams) seat and consequently any recriminations fell silent.

Whilst those believed to be considering a complaint to the EU commission remains unclear, its fair to say the remaining teams such as Caterham, Force India and Sauber would have every right to feel aggrieved by the way the Concorde situation has allegedly been handled and may have grounds for complaint.

Furthermore, the Formula One Group’s customers (circuit promoters, TV networks and ticket buyers) could be impinged upon by an inability for teams to be part of the decision making process. Fans want close racing and promoters require healthy competition for ticket sales, etc…

Earlier this year, the EU Commission extended an examination into financial assistance given to the Nurburgring Circuit to avoid insolvency, but whether the Commission investigates any perceived allegations remains to be seen. Nevertheless, having cleared the way for CVC partners acquisition of the Formula 1 Group in 2006 the Commission would not want egg on its face should anything contravening legislation has taken place.

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