DESIGN BY COMMITTEE
participating in “informal” sporting and
technical meetings, which involve all the
teams, but are only used to refine ideas
that come from the Strategy Group.
“The Sporting and Technical Working
Groups don’t exist formally any more,” says
Whiting. “They were in the old Concorde
Agreement. We do consult all the teams
of course, and we have sporting and
technical regulation meetings, but only
because, for example, the Strategy Group,
as part of their overview, says something
like, ‘We don’t want brake ducts.’ We’ll
refer it to a technical regulations meeting.
Based on what the Strategy Group wants,
the regulations meeting will come up with
the regulations to fulfil those requests.”
There is some logic to the principle of
the big decisions emerging from a group
associated with any transgression.
Overseen by the FIA’s Charlie Whiting,
the Sporting and Technical Regulations
are organic, tweaked and updated every
year. But how does that process occur?
Until recently there existed a Sporting
Working Group, made up of the 11 F1 team
managers and the FIA, and a Technical
Working Group – the 11 technical directors.
All the teams had a say as ideas were
discussed, agreed, then passed up the chain
via the F1 Commission for ratification by
the World Motor Sport Council.
Amid some controversy, the process
was changed after the old Concorde
Agreement ran out. Now there is a body
known as the Strategy Group, on which
only six of the 11 teams are represented.
There are five permanent members in
Ferrari, Red Bull Racing, McLaren,
Mercedes and Williams, while the next
best-placed team in the championship
becomes a member for the following year.
So that honor currently belongs to Lotus.
Each team has a vote, while the FIA and
FOM (in other words F1 commercial czar
Bernie Ecclestone) have six votes each,
with decisions requiring a simple majority.
The other five teams, namely Force India,
Sauber, Toro Rosso, Caterham and
Marussia, are not involved, to their obvious
frustration. They get no official information
about what happens in those meetings,
and they don’t have a formal opportunity
to contribute to new ideas, other than by
asking a Strategy Group member to put
them on the agenda of a meeting.
However, they do have some input by
from top left) FIA
president Jean Todt;
F1 commercial czar
in Paris; Luca
chairman of Ferrari
– one of the teams
seats on both the
F1 Strategy Group
and the Formula
(BELOW LEFT) F1
race director Charlie
The role of technical
directors, such as
Paddy Lowe, has
the demise of the
Group in 2012.
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