The risk of an investigation into Formula 1’s structure by the European Commission is still hanging over the sport.
A spokesman confirmed to the Telegraph: “We have received a complaint and will assess it.”
The complaint was lodged recently by Force India and Sauber, two financially-struggling midfield teams who bemoan the unfairness of Bernie Ecclestone’s income distribution system and the rule-making strategy group.
Complaints within F1
It is being egged on by a senior European parliamentarian, Anneliese Dodds, who urges the Commission to intervene.
She told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt: “Following complaints within the sport of F1, the EU must take the lead on a sport loved by many across Europe.”
The Telegraph report said there is a risk an investigation would put the brakes on the looming sale of the sport’s commercial rights, but F1 supremo Ecclestone insists he is not worried.
Ecclestone said: “No. For us, no. The payments we make to the teams, they are in contracts,” Ecclestone added, “and everybody knows what everybody else is paid. There’s no secrets.”
Is F1 anti-competitive?
Sauber chief Monisha Kaltenborn, however, argues that the ‘non-privileged teams’ were given take-it-or-leave-it proposals.
Asked if one solution would be to simply tear up those contracts and start again, Ecclestone told the German broadcaster ZDF in a joint interview with former FIA president Max Mosley this week: “If everybody agrees, yes.
“But no one will agree to take less money, and give it to another team. So I would say it’s impossible.
“Unless there’s a rule somewhere that it’s anti-competitive. I understand some of the teams are complaining to the European Commission.
“But there are lots of things that are anti-competitive for the teams in formula one, so they’ve got a lot of complaints than just the amount of money.
“And if all of them – as Max just said – are on a level playing field, there should be no complaints. They all then could do the same thing,” said Ecclestone, referring to Mosley’s proposal of a budget cap in F1.