Sauber, Force India Accuse F1’s Big Teams Of Running ‘Illegal’ Cartel (Update)

UPDATE

Force India and Sauber are now on Bernie's bad side. You don't want to be on Bernie's bad side

AUTOSPORT's Ian Parkes reported F1's "skewed financial payments model" was initially questioned by Anneliese Dodds, a U.K. member of the European parliament, following the demise of Caterham and Marussia, the latter "eventually saved from administration and now racing again as Manor."

Dodds then directed her concerns to Vestager, who, while interested in the case, "was unable to act without a formal complaint being made." Force India and Sauber "have now decided to stick their heads above the parapet, with one source suggesting the team's necks are well and truly on the line." Autosport

09/28/15

IndyCar's proposed X1 program might be looking better by the day to Mateschitz (L) after hearing from Ecclestone(R) the EU may force the big teams to give up a portion of their F1 cut

The biggest teams in F1 "face accusations that they are taking part in an 'unlawful' cartel worth tens of millions of pounds in a legal challenge that could change the face of the sport," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES.

The charges have been brought by two of the smallest teams — Force India and Sauber — which "risk the wrath of their more powerful rivals and F1’s authorities by calling on the European Union competition commission to investigate."

The two teams "filed a complaint" in Brussels on Monday "after months compiling a damning report" accusing CVC Capital Partners, the City-based private equity group that controls F1, of paying five teams — Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams — more than £150M ($228M) a year "to buy their co-operation."

The teams have told the EU that Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One group of companies, controlled by CVC, "is abusing its dominant position in motor racing and has a responsibility not to distort competition."

It could be weeks before the EU "decides whether to investigate, but the mood in Brussels is said to be for a clean-up of the sport" after the scandals engulfing FIFA. An EU investigation "could have a seismic effect."

One source said that Ecclestone may decide to put the £155M ($235M) of special payments "to the five aside until the outcome is known."

A spokesperson for CVC "was unavailable." A spokesperson for Force India and Sauber "was unwilling to comment." He said, “It would be inappropriate until the EU competition authorities have decided what they would want to do."

However, a briefing note showed that Force India and Sauber "have tired of the heavily skewed payments system that favors five teams over the five independently run outfits struggling to stay alive."

The notes said that the system of "dividing revenues and determining how rules are set is both unlawful and unfair." London Times

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