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Austrian Grand Prix: Formula 1 teams to blame for dull races – Alexandro Agag



Mercedes drivers have finished first and second in six of the eight Formula 1 races this season

Formula 1 teams should have no say in the governance of the sport, says Formula E founder Alejandro Agag.

Mercedes have won all eight F1 races in 2019, with six wins for Lewis Hamilton and two for Valtteri Bottas.

After a start-to-finish win in France, Hamilton put the blame on the sport’s bosses and former F1 leader Bernie Ecclestone for the unexciting races.

Agag said: “What happened in Formula 1 is the fault of the teams. It isn’t the responsibility of the FIA or promoter.”

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The Spaniard, who is also the chief executive of the all-electric Formula E series, added: “The only way for Formula 1 in the future to have a healthy championship is to get the teams out of the governance completely.

“The teams have their own interest, which is completely legitimate, but they shouldn’t be allowed to introduce that interest into the equation.

“The teams should let [motorsport’s governing body] the FIA make the decisions, together with the promoter.

“If I were Chase [Carey, F1 chairman], I would be looking at this saying, ‘Oh my god, how do I fix this? I own the circus but I cannot change the order of the show.”

Alejandro Agag founded Formula E with its first race held in September 2014

After Sunday’s win, five-time world champion Hamilton, who has won the past four F1 races, said: “Don’t point fingers at the drivers, we don’t write the rules.

“We have nothing to do with money shifting, all that kind of stuff. You should put the pressure on the people at the head, who should be doing the job.

“This is a constant cycle of Formula 1 for years and years, even before I got to F1, and it’s because the way Bernie had it set up and the decisions they were making back then and it’s the same now.

“Until that management structure changes, it will continue to be the same.”

Hamilton leads the F1 championship by 36 points over Bottas with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel a further 40 points behind before this weekend’s race in Austria.


Andrew Benson, BBC chief F1 writer

Alejandro Agag is admired for the relative success he has made of Formula E in a relatively short time, but his analysis of the political situation in Formula 1 leaves something to be desired.

It is simply untrue to say: “What happened in Formula 1 is the fault of the teams. It is not the responsibility of the FIA or the promoter.”

The single biggest issue in F1 at the moment is that it is a two-tier championship in which only three teams can have a hope of winning, and one of those three – Mercedes – is doing a better job than the other two, Ferrari and Red Bull.

The two-tier championship has arisen out of an inequitable split in the prize fund, which disproportionately rewards the top teams. This, as it happens, was created by the man who used to be Agag’s opposite number in F1, Bernie Ecclestone.

Back in 2011, Ecclestone encouraged Ferrari and Red Bull to split from a teams’ union that was causing him problems by offering them much more prize money. Mercedes did a separate deal which entitled them to similar money if they achieved long-term success. Which they now have.

Ecclestone’s problem was that the system he set up with the intention of giving himself more power actually played into the teams’ hands, increasing the influence of, particularly, Mercedes and Ferrari. On this, Agag has a point.

One can also point the finger at the expensive and complex hybrid engines for exacerbating the situation. But Ferrari’s is now at least as good as Mercedes’ so it’s hard to see that as the main issue.

Agag is right that something needs to change. And that is being addressed at the moment. A budget cap has been agreed for 2021, and teams and the authorities are discussing rule changes that will hopefully improve the racing.

It is true to say that the teams are involved in this, and not everyone necessarily thinks that’s a good idea – Lewis Hamilton said only last weekend he felt the teams should not be involved, for example.

But the fact is that it has always been that way in F1, and the sport is so complex that it would be unwise to exclude them completely.

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