News and views on motorsports

Friday, January 28, 2005

Manufacturers On The Future Of GP Racing

Having been shellshocked by Ferrari's signature on the new Concorde agreement, the other remaining GPWC members together with Honda and Toyota have come to some sort of agreement for a framework for Post 2007 GP Racing. So reads this story on PlanetF1.

A notable principle objective of the framework is to establish "an open, transparent and fair in commercial, technical and sporting governance." Obviously a reference to Concorde cannot help but spring into mind here. The use of the GPWC as a commercial bargaining chip is also apparent. The section on Commercial and Sporting Governance dwarfs all other sections. Lots of salient points relate this including transparency in financial governance, equitable share of revenues to "stakeholders", the inclusion of all revenues in the division of funds, and expansion of overall revenues.

Points relating to television make up a significant portion of the Commercial and Sporting Governance section as well. The one I like most says : "To ensure access to the sport on free to air TV on a worldwide basis in order to reach the broadest possible audience." This is in direct contrast to Bernie's plans of taking Formula 1 to pay per view. Grand Prix racing should remain free for all viewers. It makes sense for the manufacturers as well, since they and their sponsors are paying to reach the widest possible audience. If GP Racing became pay per view then this objective would not be met and you can bet that the revenues from pay per view will only end up in Bernie's pockets and not the manufacturers.

On paper at least the manufacturers do have the fans in mind. The first point of the Sporting Framework is "To entertain, excite and attract spectators, viewers and sponsors." One interesting point in the Sporting Framework is "To reward good teamwork." That's interesting. Asides from the Constructor's championship, I wonder how they would go about achieving this.

The Technical Format looks encouraging in the sense that there is nothing in there to suggest that Grand Prix racing should be the exclusive domain of the big car manufacturers. It does include salient points on cost cutting but at the same time an expressed aim is to ensure "Sufficient opportunity and technical freedom for teams, engine manufacturers and suppliers to use the sport to showcase their technology through differentiation and innovation and to challenge their engineering skills." Hopefully, this means no silly technical codes like a single brake suppliers or single monopolistic tyre supplier. I venture though, this means no standardized computer boxes as well, which to me would really cut costs. Ditto rev limiters. Well, whatever, so long as it leads to some good battles on the track.

Although the point about eliminating "high cost technologies which do not provide differentiation or have relevance to other industrial sectors" is a little unclear. High cost technologies that have relevance to other industrial sectors? Whatever do they mean by that?

Overall I think its pretty good. Whether or not it will be applied to Formula 1 as we know it today or in a rival series is now the question. Bernie wants a wrap on the future by Melbourne. Ferrari of course can have no complaints with the current system especially now that they've got what they wanted i.e. the increased revenues. But surely they would also agree to the other points within this framework, right? We shall see. As James Allen of F1-ITV puts it in this article, it will be an exciting month ahead.

More on this topic later.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Amazing, another racing blog, there are very few around.

I have had mine a little over a year, it can be viewed here.