“Sahara Force India is one of two teams to have registered a complaint with the European Union questioning the governance of Formula One and showing that the system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula One’s rules are set is both unfair and unlawful”, Force India said in a statement to Sky Sports.
Formula One’s smallest teams have finally lodged an official complaint with the European Union over the sport’s “unlawful” financial system.
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told Germany’s Sport Bild: “I will not comment on that”.
That November letter to Ecclestone had spoken of “a questionable cartel” controlling “both the governance of Formula One and, apparently, the distribution of…funds”.
The two teams are complaining about the payment structure within Formula 1 and the way the championship is governed, with F1 owners CVC Capital Partners seemingly favouring Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, McLaren and Williams.
It also comes less than 12 months after Caterham folded, with the latter prompting Labour MP Annalise Dodds to contact the European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in 2014 over her concerns about how F1 is run, but suggested the teams had a bigger role to play in changes being made.
Scuderia Ferrari are now second in the constructors’ championships, but have a 170-point deficit to leaders Mercedes.
Lotus were in the High Court threatened with administration over a tax bill of £2.7 million, but Renault says that it has signed a letter of intent to acquire a majority stake in the Enstone-based team.
An European Union investigation could have a seismic effect.
The extra revenue is known as premium payments, agreed by the five major teams by way of bilateral agreements in 2012, ahead of the expiration of the Concorde Agreement.
Already, Ferrari faces the disruption of its planned stock market flotation in New York, because so much of its history is tied to the performance of its F1 team.
After almost a year of threats and grandstanding, Force India and Sauber, who are struggling financially, have registered their grievances with what they view as the skewed distribution of prize money. “By locking in a permanent advantage for a select few teams, the sport has been gravely undermined“.