News and views on motorsports

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Group Of Nine Say Nay

I would have to put this up earlier, but Blogger has been giving problems lately.

As reported on numerous websites, the Group Of Nine teams and the five manufacturers met yesterday in Surrey to discuss the future of Formula 1. One of the outcomes was a decision not to attend the April 15 meeting with the FIA and Ferrari to discuss post 2008 regulations. Instead the G9 will press on ahead with their own rival series to be called "Grand Prix Racing."

I haven't been able to gather any more details but I suppose this series will still be run by GPWC Holdings BV. This is a company formed by the teams and staffed by personnel from the G9.
Group Of Nine Say Nay

Well, depending on who you believe, this indicates two distinct possibilities.

Possibility One. The teams are dead serious and wish no further involvement in Formula 1 post 2008. However, Toyota recently have taken some sort of neutral stance on the matter preferring that the others take their plans to the FIA. Then there are others like McLaren who indicate that an exit from racing is a distinct possibility. But sites like looks at this as a sign that teams are willing to spend more time and money on the new endeavour.

Possibility Two. F1 Racing magazine's March issue, speculates that all this is merely a big ruse by none other than Bernie Ecclestone in order to wrestle SLEC back from Speed Investments. SLEC is the company that holds the commercial rights to Formula 1. Speed Investments on the other hand is the entity formed by the banks who collectively own majority control of SLEC.

By getting the teams to display outward displays of discontent, Ecclestone would succeed in bringing down the value of the commercial rights controlled by Speed Investments. F1 Racing speculates that the banks would be naive enough then to sell their control back to Bernie for bottom dollar. By that, I mean rock bottom.

But seriously speaking, are these bankers really that naive? Take Bayerische Landesbank for instance. They have a long association with BMW. Surely BMW would not be party to Ecclestone's games. Not against one of the biggest backers in their past.

And are the banks really that naive as F1 Racing suggests? Well, in my experience they can be but who really knows. It wouldn't be that hard for them to hire someone to do some serious research.

My take on things is that the teams really are serious about these things. After all, key personnel from all the teams and manufacturers sit on the management of GPWC holdings. It seems more than simply showboating. Time and money are being spent developing their framework and an implementation for 2008.

But we shall see.

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