Up until very recently, missing a grand prix was considered to be one of Formula One’s greatest sins and frowned upon by the sport’s commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone. The repercussions of such tardiness were often met with huge fines, and as teams that missed races in the past were usually doing so due to other financial difficulties, when a squad failed to arrive at a circuit they were rarely seen again.
However, with a new Concorde Agreement in place, it would appear that an understanding has been met among those signatories that allows teams to miss up to 3 races before being shown the exit of the sport and the entrance of the courtroom. This apparent agreement was presumably made with the new teams in mind, particularly if they cannot build a chassis and pass the relevant crash tests in time for Bahrain in mid-March.
The FIA have published a statement saying that should a team miss a race, it would not go unnoticed and would constitute a breach of the Concorde Agreement and the FIA regulations. This of course implies penalties and more than likely, a forfeit of revenues.
From a sporting and regulatory point of view, each team that has registered for the championship is obliged to take part in every event of the season.
Any failure to take part, even for just one championship event, would constitute an infringement both of the Concorde Agreement and the FIA Regulations. FIA Statement.
Is it acceptable for a team to miss an event, for whatever reason, or should the sport stick to its recent traditions and enforce the participation of every grand prix under penalty of exclusion/courtroom hearings? While it is never nice to hear of teams going into battle with the governing body and/or the commercial rights holder, having every team at every race does mean consistency, competition and at the end of the of the day, sport. Or is the hard-and-fast rule failing to take into account the hardships of recent times and the fact the sport now has more teams competing, and therefore one or two may not necessarily be missed?
This is going to get complicated. If Concorde says one thing and the FIA says another, then that means either Concorde or the agreement with the FIA is unenforceable if a team misses the race (most likely the latter, since Concorde has the FIA as one of its signatories). This will lead to any team missing a race triggering several court cases rather than the one of previous years.
I think it’s good that there’s now a mechanism in the Concorde Agreement in case a team has a genuine reason to miss a Grand Prix that doesn’t involve protracted case-by-case negotiations, but believe that force majuere should be the only reason for exercising that mechanism. As I understand it, a team missing a race would lose the relevant fraction of that season’s TV money (in 2010 that would be 1/19 of the total accrued in the season), so that should be sufficient disincentive to skip races just because, for example, the team boss happened not to get their way on some point of governance. It’s “force majuere only” in practise if not in theory.
Better communication between all sides would have been helpful in this instance.
According to Joe Saward, the Concorde Agreement has two parts that are applicable here, and while they may be read as conflicting, they possibly are not. Essentially, Joe says that one part states that should a team miss 3 events in a season, they will be deemed to have withdrawn. The other part is the usual ‘you will attend and participate in all events under penalty of your first born etc…’.
I agree. Although given that this involves the elusive Concorde Agreement, I’m surprised this news even came about in the first place.
In terms of the actual sport though, the bit you and I watch of a Sunday, is it acceptable for a team to miss a race or two?
I think that if it’s a new team they should be allowed for their first year but have a minimum (Like the 3 that Jean Todt put in). If it’s a team which has had a lot of engine faliures like Red Bull did last year they should be allowed one race off but be given a (small) penelty (i.e. Grid penelty)
(My spelling might be pretty rubbish for my comments. Half term has taken it’s toll on my spelling. And my English teacher (Inglish Teecha) hates me.)