of team principals, rather than technical
directors or team managers, even if it
doesn’t include all 11 players.
“Previously, everything went into the
Working Groups and got discussed there,”
says Whiting. “When they were happy
with it, it was sent up to the Formula One
Commission. In theory, the first time the
F1 Commission heard about anything was
when it arrived there from the Working
team). Proposals have to secure 18 out of
25 votes to be passed, or unanimity of the
11 teams is required if it’s post June 30.
If approved, they proceed to the World
Motor Sport Council. If they’ve got that
far, passing them is usually a formality.
While all teams are involved at the
Formula One Commission stage, the body
can only discuss proposals that have come
from the Strategy Group. Thus, while the
five disenfranchised teams do get a vote,
their input is limited, and they may have
little or no warning about what they are
about to hear when they enter a meeting.
This has been the cause of considerable
tension. Clearly, the big teams often have
very different agendas, especially when it
comes to subjects such as cost control.
It seems a little hit and miss as to what
does get through the F1 Commission. The
plan to make the last race of the season
pay double points made it all the way
through, seemingly without anyone realizing
what a public outcry it would cause. By the
time it became apparent and some key
players began to question it, it was too late.
In contrast, other controversial changes –
a ban on tire warmers and a package of
cost control measures, including major
changes to the weekend schedule – did not
get passed at the last Commission meeting,
despite approval by the Strategy Group.
A rule change that left fans despairing
when they first saw the 2014 cars related
to the noses. You could question how the
technical directors could have come up with
the rule without realizing the outcome, but
Whiting denies that was the case.
“I don’t think they did know how it would
end up when the rule was written,” he says.
“It was written with the best of intentions
to make the noses safer, but when they
started wind tunnel development, they
realized there was a more aerodynamically
beneficial way, which involved making
them look a little less conventional.”
The good news is that it will – hopefully –
be addressed by changes for next year: “It
wasn’t so much the aesthetics, as the fact
that the tip of the nose – the bit that was
structural – was too high,” says Whiting.
Despite the advent of fan forums and surveys,
F1 fans are distinctly absent from any formal
decision-making. Would the double-points finale
have been adopted if they were more involved?
“we [the Fia] can say
something is illegal if we
think it is. it’s up to the
teams to contest it”
Ecclestone and FIA
president Jean Todt
sign the “Concorde
are yet to ratify the
new version of F1’s
Groups. So the perception was that it was
all being driven from the bottom up. We
have more of a top-down approach now.”
Proposals that emerge from the Strategy
Group go to the Formula One Commission,
on which all teams are represented by their
bosses, along with other key stakeholders,
namely Ecclestone (its chairman), Jean
Todt as FIA president, eight race promoters,
tire-supplier Pirelli, two sponsors (currently
Rolex and Marlboro), and an engine supplier
(Renault, which does not have its own
INSIDE FoRMuLA 1’S RuLES PRoCESS