I wrote a piece on the ITV F1 website yesterday looking at the prospects for the FOTA teams to start their own breakaway series, which they are being encouraged to do by FIA president Max Mosley.
I mentioned that Max always makes the point that the FIA owns F1 and if teams don’t like it they can go and race elsewhere. The teams of course believe that they are the show.
Mosley compares the role of teams in F1 to patrons in a restaurant; they may eat there every day and spend a great deal of money doing so, but that doesn’t mean they own the restaurant.
Well overnight I received this message, I won’t say who it’s from, which I though I would share with you,
“When you eat in a restaurant, you don’t have to buy the food, bring the food, create the recipes, bring the chefs, bring the waiters, and cook it and serve it to yourself, do you?
“Whereas, in Formula 1, the teams do indeed do the equivalent of that (ie, pay for the factories in which the cars are built, hire and pay the workers who design and build them, hire and pay the drivers who drive them, hire and pay the guys who run them at races, hire and pay the guys who find the sponsors who in turn help pay for it all, etc etc).
“A more accurate analogy of what the FIA provides would be an empty room in which one was allowed to provide the kitchen equipment and the staff, at one’s own expense, and then cook and serve the meal to oneself.”
There is of course another dimension to this, which is the television coverage.
No-one televises you eating in a restaurant (unless you are on Hell’s Kitchen or some daft programme) but the F1 teams put on a spectacular show, which raises around £800 million a year in revenues from TV companies, of which the teams receive 50%.
That is where the key to this lies. What exactly is the show, is it the restaurant itself or is it the quality of what the teams serve up?