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Force India lodges complaint with European Union against Formula One

Sauber and Force India say in their complaint that prize money is unfairly distributed in F1 and big teams like Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams receive preferential treatment.

News 29 Sep 2015, 16:04 IST
Sahara Force India F1 complain 2015
A disturbance in the Force: the team have complained that prize money is unfairly distributed in F1

Vijay Mallya-owned Sahara Force India, who are currently 5th in the constructors’ standings, have, with midfield team Sauber, lodged a complaint against Formula One that is said to relate to the distribution of prize money in Formula One.

The teams feel shortchanged by the F1 Strategy Group and how it is structured. The strategy group is comprised of representatives from the top teams in F1 – Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams and McLaren for historical reasons.

"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.

UK-based Force India have long had issues with the way the F1 Strategy Group is strcutrured, as it believes it is heavily skewed in favour of the older, larger teams, whose recommendations then supersede any suggestions or input comparatively smaller teams may have.

According to Force India, F1’s current payment system also heavily favours these teams, with smaller teams struggling to stay afloat as they are plagued by financial issues. Most notably among these is Lotus, who may be one of the most successful teams in Formula One history, but in the recent past has been struggling to stay afloat, moving through sponsors. They also have a pending case against them by HMRC for tax avoidance.

It was confirmed yesterday that French automakers Renault, who formerly owned the team, had taken a majority, controlling stake of the team, in a move that has saved Lotus from going ino administration.

The distribution of monetary prizes in Formula 1 is not made public, but according to the report filed, “Ferrari were paid more than £102m last year and that Sauber received a reported £30m.”

Scuderia Ferrari are currently second in the constructors’ championships, but have a 170-point deficit to leaders Mercedes. They finished in 4th last year, but despite this allegedly received £29.3m more than winners Mercedes, who were nearly 500 points ahead of them at the end of the 2014 seaosn.

More to follow.

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