News and views on motorsports

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Formula 1 Business Attitudes

This article on is one of the more interesting ones I've read recently.

It begins by telling the tale of the recent purchase of the Long Beach Grand Prix by a Champcar subsidiary. It ends with a diatribe on the business of Formula 1. And it makes excellent reading. This concluding statement in the article sums of the nature of Formula 1 business: "Selling F1 is now a business where it seems the deal always goes to the highest bidder rather than to those who have the longer term development of the sport in mind." And this is exactly how Bernie Ecclestone has gone about things.

The article on GrandPrix laments on how Long Beach, a highly popular event every year, is a wasted opportunity for Formula 1. It would have raised Formula 1's profile in the States even higher. But you see, someone like Bernie would have had to buy the event. Whereas, the way Bernie operates is that he prefers to suck money out of circuits and venues for the privilege of running a race.

Governments are willing to splash tons for his races to raise their profiles, for whatever good (real or imagined) they think holding a race does for the countries. Lets face it, thats one of the main reasons why FOA/FIA wants to hold more races in places like Asia. Desperate governments in this region want raised international profile (and more opportunities for their cronies to make money.) They'll pay Bernie anything for it. Then they'll pay that stupid German architect to build the dumbest and most boring of racing circuits that'll have all of us fans yawning.

But as the article states, this is to the detriment of the long term development of the sport. The person benefitting the most is Bernie of course and via the terms of the Concorde agreement, Ferrari most of all before the other teams. The article points out that "in recent years the Formula One group seems to have become a machine for making money for trust funds and bankers rather than doing what is best for the sport."

Shouldn't there be some place in the FIA survey for us all to comment on these aspects of the sport?

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