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[pending] Case #18:Fans vs FIA-FIA puts commercial interests over sporting interests

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#1 Marcel Schot

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Posted 14 January 2002 - 16:43

Several members have brought forward to the court arguments that have a uniform background of dealing with the position of the FIA in the sport, and how its activities affect the fans of the sport. The court has chosen to bring these arguments together in a case known as Fans vs FIA, and to divide this case into three distinct subcases for which separate hearings will take place.

Subcase C: That the FIA has put a priority on commercial interests ahead of sporting interest.

The judges residing on this trial are Billy and Marcel Schot.

This case shall examine whether the FIA lets commercial interst prevail over sporting interest.

Commercial interest in this case, shall be defined as interests, which allow the FIA and/or its associates and/or proteges to increase the amount of income or income generating exposure.

The court seeks claims made against particular FIA decisions, rulechanges or lack thereof, which have been acted out solely to protect the commercial interest of the FIA.

It is the task of the prosecution to come forward with such claims, while it is the defence's task to convince the court that in every case the FIA's sole intention has been to act in the best interest of the sport and its participants.

This case will open on 23 January, after which hearing will be open for 2 weeks (14 days). No later than 7 days after the end of the hearing, the judges will post their verdict.


#2 Marcel Schot

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Posted 23 February 2002 - 21:06

The hearing is now open. Good luck to all.

#3 howardt

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Posted 14 March 2002 - 19:33

I'm a bit scared to be 1st from the floor, but here goes :

I'd say that the Melbourne 1st corner incident is a good demonstration of how the sport comes first. All agreed (although some reluctantly) that the rules are in place, and the decision taken was in line with those rules. In fact there was a quote from DC, which I can't find right now but I'm sure someone else can, along the lines of "If it was a show they would have stopped the race, but it's not a show it's a race". (actually it was nothing like that - help me out here, please ?) :|

Anyway, the point is that if they were only running races to show off sponsor logos on TV then surely it would have been in the interests of the FIA to let everyone trot back to the start and have another go.

The F1 circus doesn't exist to make money, there are far more efficient ways of doing that. But it does need lots of money to keep up the globetrotting & the razzmatazz. Bernie's not stupid - he knows that without the sport, the money will dry up very quickly, and without the money there would be no more racing.
Imagine for a moment that Ferrari win every race this year, and then every race next year, and the year after that. I'm sure there are a few reading this that would be delighted, but a lot of fans of racing would give up and go watching tractor-pulling on Eurosport instead. And with the viewers goes the money. If no-one's watching, who want's to advertise ?

So the FIA isn't (only) a business, it doesn't engineer the races so that Ferrari win every time, and there is no conspiracy. It's a sport, just like any other (professional) sport around, albeit one with a lot of money involved.

#4 Julius

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Posted 17 March 2002 - 18:29

F1 exists to make money - if not for the teams then for the sponsors and manufacturers via advertising. Consequently, to put the "sport' ahead of the "commercial interests" is just not possible or wise - at least not for long!

Now...the only general complaint I have about F1 is that they can get too damn greedy for thier own good. First rule of good-ole', selfish capitalism - keep the customer happy and he'll keep buying what you have to offer. In this case, the customer consists of the fans, manufacturers and sponors: all of who are upset andit's paramount to killing the goose who lays the golden egg. This is not good business and can't possibly maximize profit in the long haul. I hope F1 gets more selfish (i.e., recognizes hier own self-interest) because pi$$ing off customers and supporters is in not in F1's self interest - or anyone else's.

#5 palmas

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Posted 21 March 2002 - 11:06

Yes, off course they put money first, sport second. Thats why they are moving GP from countrys that do not alow tobacco publicity to others that do alow. Also new countrys for GP's are chosen for "market dimension" reason as you can see the choice of moving to Russia and abandon Portugal.

Trully, money is the reason F1 exists, if there was no money to gain, there would be no F1.

In the end what I beleive to be in court today is not if FIA puts commercial interest over sporting interests but if FIA "bends" the rules to get the most of the commercial profits, making a negative impact on the sporting interests!

#6 philhitchings

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Posted 21 March 2002 - 19:30

Palmas, although I agree that the FIA puts commercial interests over sporting interests, I find your assertion that expanding the global nature of F1 is purely in terms of financial commercialism to be missjudged.

Jackie Stewart has recently gone on record stating that the GP circus needs to expand to other continents and countries to be considered a truly global sport. This in itself makes commercial sense, though in terms of expenditure this move is:

1 a drain on resources
2 places pressure on the teams in terms of development
3 places pressures of long haul living on team personnel.

You only have to look at the beginning of this season to witness the dire straits that Jaguar are in with the R3- that is the sport--- "get it right or suffer the consequences."

Ferrari too in terms of the constructors championship are trailing. Little development taking place (well perhaps not Ferrari : but the point I believe stands).

A European season would suit me personally as I live in Europe and could enjoy more of the races without the added expense of a long haul flight. However I like to see new circuits as I like to see new challenges for the teams.

I do not like to see the FIA deal out partisan rulings to keep the championship (or indeed a race) artificially close, and there are several incidents of this commercial sculldugery(?sp.) in recent years.

Open competition we don't have, the rules still prevent that. Commercial interests are clearly in place there but widening participation in terms of tracks/countries holding GP's doesn't extend the case against the FIA.

#7 heki

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 11:20

OK, my English sucks, but here are my allegations:

1st - GP tracks: while the most entertaining and by the drivers most prefered track in SPA is under siege from the FIA, threatened by its removal from the F1 calendar, while the removal of the mickeynausee Hungaroring with its full tobbacco advertising is never worth of a consideration... the sport asks for SPA, the money for Hungaroring.

2nd - Introducing additional rights for race stewarts, delivering them another lever to customize the result in the way the "customer" likes it... Malaysia 2002 is more than a clear example how to misuse such a thing

3rd - no-more-than-12-teams rule and 48M-caution rule for new participants - if this has some sporting interests then please enlighten... yeah, and there is that 107% rule, which has a bit more to do with the sport, but when was this strictly applied?

4th - One-engine-per-driver-per-weekend rule, where the waster but in two minutes replacable nut in a practice session can destroy a superb sporting performance in the qualifying session

#8 Vunz

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 11:21

They put money first and the sport in second position for example when it comes to stretching the championship as long as possible. I copied a post made last week in RC in which I laid out a few examples in which the FIA made some dubious decisions trying to stretch the championship, coincidently, these are all examples from years in which the WDC wasn't decided before the final round.

1. Disqualification of Schumacher in the British GP in 1994 for overtaking in the warm up lap and subsequent banning in two races for ignoring the black flag. Why? With Senna tragically taken out of the championship, Schumacher was running away with it. The FIA needed a new competitor and created Hill as a rival. Hill needed some extra points to his tally and the FIA provided this.

2. Disqualification of Villeneuve in Japan 1997 for continuing practice at full speed under yellow. Why? With Jacques out of the race, the championship would be stretched to the final round in Jerez.

3. Schumacher finishing first in the pits in Silverstone 1998, while serviceing his stop and go for overtaking Wurz under stationary yellow. Why? Hakkinen was clearly ahead in the championship and if he could add another 10 points to his tally things would be hard to stretch throughout the championship.

3. The Ferrari barge board saga in Malaysia 1999. Why? If both Ferrari's would've been disqualified Hakkinen would instantly be champion. This was unthinkable, especially since the race was long over and no celebrations had taken place. And more importantly, the spectator would be robbed of a season climax in Japan.

#9 Marcel Schot

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Posted 26 March 2002 - 17:39

In the light of the recent activities, the case will remain open until April 1st, after which the judges will close the case and make their verdict.

#10 Mosquito

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Posted 02 April 2002 - 10:55

I would like to bring forward a recent decision in regard to this case:

Originally, the FIA intended to drastically reduce the size of the rear wing. After complaints from the teams and their sponsors, this decision rule has been stricken, since the teams would loose their biggest bill-board on the car.

#11 Marcel Schot

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Posted 02 April 2002 - 12:07

This case has been closed now. Thank you all for taking part. A judgement will be posted as soon as possible.