EU Parliament Supports Anti-Competition Investigation Into Formula 1

While those inside the Formula 1 paddock are focusing on what impact new technical regulations will have on the on-track spectacle, many EU politicians are turning their attention to how the sport operates behind the scenes.

The European parliament officially announced it supports investigating anti-competition allegations against F1 filed by Sahara Force India and Sauber in 2015, ESPN reports.

In January, the EU parliament issued a report outlining its recommendations for the European Commission’s agenda. Anneliese Dodds, U.K. representative on the parliament, reportedly submitted an amendment asking for “an immediate investigation into competition concerns.” Dodds’ amendment passed Tuesday with 427 votes for, 156 against and 86 abstentions.

Much of her issue with F1 lies in its governance structure, which gives the six top teams a hand in rule-making. Also, under the current commercial agreement in place until 2020, larger teams, such as Mercedes-AMG Petronas, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari, receive a much larger payout, regardless of where they finish in the Championship.

In addition, Ferrari gets an extra “historical bonus” for competing in F1 since the series’ first season in 1950. That bonus equated to roughly $56.1 million, more than Manor F1 was paid for the entire season.

“I’m happy that today the European Parliament backed my call for a full and immediate investigation into anti-competitive practices in Formula One,” Dodds said, via ESPN. “A few weeks ago Manor Racing became the latest team in the south east of England to collapse after administrators failed to find a buyer.”

Dodds also wants the investigation to look at a potential conflict of interest regarding Liberty Media’s purchase of F1. The FIA, which had to approve the sale, purchased a 1 percent stake in the sport in 2013 from then-CEO Bernie Ecclestone that it couldn’t cash in until CVC Partners sold its shares to Liberty.

If F1 is found guilty of anti-competition practices, it could be fined as much as 10 percent of its annual turnover, which reportedly is roughly $1.68 billion.

Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool