The prospect of an investigation into formula one by the European Commission could be back on. In late April, we reported that the Commission’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager would not investigate unless a formal complaint is lodged. It has been rumoured for months that certain small teams are furious about the unfair income distribution model in F1, and a lack of representation in the powerful Strategy Group. Now, the Financial Times reports that small teams are in fact preparing to lodge a formal antitrust complaint, alleging that the bigger teams are being favoured.
“There’s a head of steam now,” an unnamed source said. “This isn’t a problem that’s going away.” The report said signatories to the complaint, to be directed mainly at F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, will ask to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
Ecclestone commented: “It is strange. I would like to know what they (the small teams) want. Nobody has ever made any requests to me about what they want. They all signed contracts. We will wait for the complaint. I hope the complaint goes ahead and the competition authorities have enough patience and time to deal with it.”