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Dispute over customer cars: Ecclestones power in danger

Dispute about customer cars
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L ange Formula 1 put the horror scenario ahead of them like an annoying evil: What happens if 3 to 4 teams suddenly get out overnight? The current tense financial situation at Lotus, Force India, Sauber and Manor has now led to a certain panic at the end of the day. Pessimists believe that 3 to 4 teams could disappear this year.

The Concorde agreement stipulates that the top teams would have to add a third car if the number of starters falls below 16. First Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. Then Mercedes and Williams. Otherwise Bernie Ecclestone would be in breach of contract with the organizers. The teams concerned do not want to offer a third car. Because, according to their statements, it costs between 20 and 35 million euros more and it has not been clarified who will pay these costs.

Secondary theater of the paddock paddock passes

So the use of customer cars is currently being discussed. However, with completely different ideas. Bernie Ecclestone would like to have standard cars built by Red Bull or Dallara. And then they get the old Renault V8 with Kers in the rear.

Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren prefer to sell two of their current cars each to the troubled teams and relabel them from the designer to the customer. Ecclestone doesn't find this plan so great.

In fact, the skirmish is mostly about claims to power. Ecclestone is no longer so good at the big teams. And vice versa. The main thing is that the Formula 1 boss has once again shortened the teams' paddock passes and access authorizations to the starting grid. To sell more Paddock Club tickets.

Mercedes and Ferrari don't want to put up with that. Recently there have been some unfriendly discussions with Ecclestone. Because suddenly even board members of the automobile companies were left without a passport.

Customer cars strengthen the power of the top teams

But these are only superficialities. In fact, the power struggle is taking place on a larger stage. Ecclestone slowly realizes that he has created a plenary session with the strategy group that will make Formula 1 ungovernable. And that the teams represented there are spitting in the soup more and more often. You will probably also stifle his idea with the comeback of the refueling stops. After careful consideration, almost all teams are now against it again.

Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene mockingly said in Monte Carlo that the power ofTeams are limited: 'FIA and FOM each have 6 votes. That makes twelve. The teams only have six seats in the strategy group. In fact, we can always be outvoted.' But then Ecclestone would have to ally with FIA boss Jean Todt. That doesn't seem tempting to him at the moment.

If the teams were to prevail with their customer car idea, that would further weaken Ecclestone's influence. Because then only five designers remain. They would have even more leverage.

First: They pursue the same interests. Namely, do not save under any circumstances. Second, the poor teams would be relegated to branches of the rich. Who have to do what the respective chassis partner tells them to do. Third: If one of the five designers threatens to withdraw, you can no longer send him into the desert. This way, the Ecclestone and FIA teams can dance around on their heads.

Ecclestone also sees this danger. With his alternative customer car model, he would be holding the reins in his hand. Because he can choose the chassis manufacturer as he sees fit. And would have to eat the buyers out of his hand out of gratitude. Unfortunately, for Bernie, the plight of the small teams comes at the wrong time. Because no manufacturer can build ten chassis overnight. The big teams, on the other hand, would each have two replacement chassis up their sleeves. They could be used quickly.

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