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Worst of 2015: F1's struggle for power

Bernie Ecclestone's attempts to wrestle back power challenged by Ferrari
As we near the end of 2015, we take a look back at some of the best – and worst – F1 moments making the headlines over the last twelve months…

F1's struggle for power

After repeated criticism of the sport's governance in 2015, namely the Strategy Group, which many teams feel doesn't serve its purpose as rivals struggle to agree on matters due to inevitable vested interests, fresh powers were given to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and FIA President Jean Todt.

The mandate handed to them by the World Motor Sport Council in early December, meant that they now have the opportunity to 'make recommendations and decisions regarding a number of pressing issues in Formula One'.

However, the most famous team in the sport, Ferrari, later challenged the move...


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First published: 11th December 2015

Ecclestone: Ferrari is challenging mandate move

Bernie Ecclestone says Ferrari has written a letter to the FIA complaining that it doesn't have the right to hand down a mandate that could give the F1 supremo and the governing body pivotal power in decision-making processes.

Following widespread criticism that the democratic process of the Strategy Group is ineffective in F1 due to the vested interests of its different members, the World Motor Sport Council overwhelmingly voted in favour of a mandate to be given to Ecclestone and FIA President Jean Todt that will grant them additional power on 'pressing issues'.

With until the end of January to present proposals to teams, the move is seen as a way of diverting more power to Ecclestone and Todt, who fear manufacturers are beginning to dictate the sport, not least a 'duopoly' between Mercedes and Ferrari.

With just Ferrari the only member of the WMSC to oppose the move, Ecclestone told the BBC it has written a lawyer's letter arguing the mandate contravenes contracts. However, Ecclestone remains unconcerned if the matter is taken further.

"The only thing we could do is to ignore what Ferrari have said and carry on with it and say: 'You've got a choice - you can leave or go to arbitration and see what the arbitrators think. I think if we went to arbitration, we'd win easy,"

Ferrari, meanwhile, says it is "intention is simply to make sure that the governance principles" established by Ecclestone and the FIA and agreed with other stakeholders in F1 "continue to be duly complied with."

Speculating in a wide-ranging interview that Mercedes helped Ferrari bring its power unit up to speed last winter in order to lessen the criticism of the V6 Hybrid power units brought about by its dominance in 2014, Ecclestone says the combination of the two manufacturers could 'destroy' F1 if it becomes solely dependent on commercial interest than 'show business'.

"There is all sorts of things we know we can do and should do to make F1 back on the road where it should be, because we are in show business.

"We are there to entertain the public. We are not there to put on a show for Mercedes to demonstrate and sell their cars. Or Ferrari."

“We're helping a manufacturer, because it doesn't make a lot of difference to Ferrari with the sort of engines they make.

“So we are going to destroy Formula 1, if you like, because of a manufacturer, who would leave like the others have left when it suits them - BMW, Toyota, they leave when it suits them."

Ecclestone's words come as he grows increasingly frustrated with the influence Mercedes and Ferrari have begun to exert over F1 since the new regulations were introduced. With eight of the 11 teams competing in 2016 set to use their power units, Mercedes and Ferrari's influence on the grid will stretch even further next year.

“When Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff "puts his hand up and says Christmas is going to be 26 December, everybody agrees - same with Ferrari.”

Bonus reading:
Ecclestone primed to tackle manufacturers with mandate
FIA, Ecclestone granted more F1 power
Manufacturers to collaborate as alternative engine rejected



Related Pictures

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08.10.2015 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM and Maurizio Arrivabene (ITA) Ferrari Team Principal

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ProfessorX

December 31, 2015 12:55 PM

As long as competition is seen as a negative, and rule makers make it hard to 'overtake', F1 will continue to be a complete borefest. The irony... Isn't it funny how people complain about one thing but mean something completely else.



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