Poor financial and governance structure of F1 may force teams like McLaren, and drivers like Romain Grosjean to quit the sport.
Concerns surrounding the financial and governance structure of Formula 1 is no new topic. As a result, the current system has led to an uncompetitive sport. Several teams and drivers in the past have complained that F1 does not provide all teams a level playing field.
Highlights: Ferrari Causing McLaren to Quit:
- Sauber Highlighted F1’s Unfairness in 2016
- McLaren Threatens to Quit F1
- Grosjean Claims F1 Is Not A Sport
- F1 Favors Big Teams Like Ferrari
For example, some teams receive higher finances and rule-making powers irrespective of the position they finish in the Constructor’s Championships. Although Chase Carey, CEO of the F1 Group, has proposed changes to the financial and governance structure of F1 from 2021 onwards, F1 still seems to be favouring the bigger teams. However, the question is whether some teams and drivers will still compete in F1 if it does not become fairer.
Sauber Believes F1 Income Sharing is Unfair
Sauber’s boss, Monisha Kaltenborn, in 2016 stated that F1 is an unfair sport. Kaltenborn had raised concerns that F1 doesn’t reward teams fairly even if they were to finish in the same positions. “You are good, you are bad, that’s your doing. But today even a team like Force India or ourselves, and a couple of others actually, were to let’s say, be in the top three, we could never get that kind of income,” explained Kaltenborn.
Will McLaren Quit F1
Although McLaren is F1’s second-oldest team behind Ferrari, they are finding it increasingly difficult to be in the sport. McLaren’s CEO, Zak Brown, told the Guardian, “For McLaren, it has to tick two boxes: to be financially viable and to be able to fight fairly and competitively.” Brown threatened to leave the sport. He said, “If we feel the new rules don’t put us in that situation, we would have to review our participation in F1.” McLaren quitting F1 would be a huge loss considering how long the team has competed in the sport.
Grosjean Makes Unhappiness with F1 Clear
Similarly, Haas’ driver, Romain Grosjean, too hit out at the existing financial and governance structure of F1. He highlighted the concerns that smaller teams like Haas face and stated that F1 cannot be called a sport if it is unfair. Grosjean said that Formula 1 is a show and not a sport as “a sport is supposed to be fair and Formula 1 is not fair.” To make his frustrations clear, Grosjean added, “Would you call tennis a sport if they were all not with the same rackets? Or if the court was wider on one side than it was on the other side?”
Grosjean highlighted that several drivers will not be motivated to continue in F1 if it doesn’t become fairer. “There are obviously a lot of drivers out of contract at the end of the year, there could be drivers also retiring.” F1 drivers becoming unhappy about the competitive nature of the sport is nothing new. Previously, even past Driver’s Champions like Fernando Alonso highlighted the uncompetitive nature of the sport as a cause for leaving and moving to other competitions.
Does F1 Favour Big Teams Like Ferrari?
Despite proposed rule changes in 2021 by Chase Carey, F1 still seems to be giving in to the top teams’ demands. Therefore, it seems that the unfair nature of the sport is continuing, and consequently, all teams may not continue in the sport.
The big topic of discussion was if Ferrari were to retain its veto power in 2021. This discussion was a part of the Concorde agreement that is currently being drafted. Although FIA president and former Ferrari team boss, Jean Todt, were interested in Ferrari losing the veto, Ferrari’s threats to quit F1, if their demands were not made, allowed them to retain the veto. Hence, not only demonstrating the power of the top teams in negotiations but also highlighting that F1 cannot be completely fair.
In conclusion, F1 still seems to favour the top teams. Therefore, some teams like McLaren and their drivers might quit the sport.