FIA?s plans for Formula 2 shows Max Mosley wants war with Bernie Ecclestone

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Bruno Senna, iSport, GP2, 2008, 470150

A surprise announcement from today?s FIA World Motor Sports Council today revealed the FIA wishes to set up a new feeder series to Formula 1.

It will be called Formula 2, reviving the name used for a similar series until 1984, before it was replaced by Formula 3000 and, later, GP2.

But why is the FIA proposing to create yet another F1 feeder series when there are already so many? Is this a further sign of a developing was between FIA president Max Mosley and F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone over control of the sport?

A new entrant in a crowded market

The new F2 seems to be a direct competitor to GP2, which was formed in 2005. In just three seasons it has brought seven new drivers into Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Kazuki Nakajima, Nelson Piquet Jnr and Scott Speed.

Not only is it clearly succeeding as a route into F1 it’s very popular with fans as well, providing close and entertaining racing that regularly puts F1 to shame.

If F1 sits at the top of the single-seater motor sports pyramid, GP2 is one of several categories beneath it that form a path to the sport. Any new entrant into this arena would be challenging many established championships, many backed by major car manufacturers.

Renault has the Renault World Series, which Fernando Alonso used en route to F1 (when it was called the Nissan World Series) and which Robert Kubica won in 2005 before being pinched from Renault by BMW’s Mario Theissen. Renault also supplies engines for GP2.

At a lower level BMW runs the Formula BMW series with championships operating in several countries. The new European Formula BMW championship joined GP2 as one of F1’s regular support events at European rounds this year. Timo Glock and Sebastian Vettel are among the graduates of the German series.

Mercedes, Toyota and Volkswagen build engines Formula Three which has long been one of the best routes to F1. Formula Master was started last year plus there are various Formula Renault championships, thew new Superleague Formula, a series for old F3000 cars and more. Even A1 Grand Prix can be considered an F1 feeder championship.

So why does the FIA think this busy market for driver and team talent needs yet another entrant?

The new Formula Two

Although the FIA is supposed to be the regulatory body for world motor racing I doubt they are proposing the creation of Formula Two for the better of the sport.

I think this is a ploy to undermine the GP2 series. Like F1, GP2 is owned by CVC, who purchased it in August last year. Since the revelation of his involvement in a sadomasochistic sex orgy Mosley has accused Ecclestone of attempting to wrest control of the sport from the FIA. Earlier this week Ecclestone denied he was responsible for leaking the details of Mosley’s sordid activities to the press in an attempt to discredit the FIA President.

Rumours abound that Ecclestone may try to lure the manufacturers away from Formula 1 to a new series of his creation, potentially called GP1, according to a rumour on Pitpass. In preparation Mosley is creating Formula 2 as a counterpart to GP2.

According to the FIA F2 will allow teams to compete “within a budget of around ??200,000 a car per season.” This seems unfeasibly cheap – GP2 cars cost ??1.5m per season to run and even Formula BMW costs 50% more than the proposed F2.

A split?

So what we have here is a proposal that seems completely unrealistic and completely unnecessary.

It seems to have been designed simply to provoke a reaction from Ecclestone. But the longer the FIA goes on making moves like this, the more realistic the prospect of F1 splitting into two becomes.

That would be disastrous for Formula 1. Those who are pushing for a fight with Ecclestone should heed the lesson of the CART/IRL split that left open wheel racing in America almost mortally weakened. Anyone who would risk such a thing happening to F1 clearly is too preoccupied with their own selfish ends to be bothered about the consequences for sport.

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32 comments on “FIA?s plans for Formula 2 shows Max Mosley wants war with Bernie Ecclestone”

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  1. Joe Saward offers an interesting analysis of the situation over at – These are interesting times.

  2. the FISA/FOCA, FIA/FOM and the Balestres/mosley wars seems like a story arc from star wars.

  3. Given the FIA’s track record, I wouldn’t be surprised if they missed something massive out of their calculations. So far, their “cost-cutting” has made F1 more expensive, so expect F2’s $200,000 to turn into about $3-6m a season. There’s no reason why GP2 could not continue to be the prime feeder series, and a series based on cost-cutting will not have sufficient racing or technical capability to bridge between F3 and F1 properly anyway (F1 teams don’t think in terms of cost-cutting, even if feeder formulae sometimes must!)

  4. There’s a field of unused Panoz DPO1 chassis sitting quietly somewhere …

  5. Max is a child. this move proves it. Long live a breakaway, where teams are free to compete without personal vendettas from the FIA, stupid costly rule changes, or separate deals for different teams.

    Max has techincal regulation changes on the agenda. That should strike fear in the heart of every team principle.

  6. Max doesn’t get it. The FIA are supposed to REGULATE sport, not create it! The extent of his personal animosity and vengeance seeking is unbounded and exceeded only by his ego and vanity.

    Just the kind of guy we need running and ruining a world wide organization. The remaining time of his term in office will be spent ‘effin over the sport and his enemies (anyone who disagrees with him) as opposed to making anything better. And I thought Nixon was bad!

  7. The point made earlier by cgmasson is an interesting one.

    Surely Max can make it so that no driver can drive for an F1 team without either having previously driven for an F1 team or having at least 1 years experience in F2.

    He’s in a monopoly position. It would suit him to abuse it.

  8. Given the samll number of available seats on the F1 grid each season, and the amount of drivers groomed to setp into those precious few vacancies, it’s hard to see where many of the F2 drivers would end up. Indeed, more chances to prove him/herself for a driver would be good. But F1 dosen’t have a NASCAR-style grid with 40+ seats each week, so F2 would probably just create more drivers looking for an F1 ride.

    Unless the FIA made a great case for it, I just can’t see any case for anything of this sort.

  9. Gman- So true, drivers coming up, cant even aim to be test drivers.

  10. Can someone answer me a question. All of the ‘support race’ vehicles are prepared away from the pits in the paddock, but what happens to all the formula one gear/ signs/ equipment cars etc when there is, for example…a GP2 feature race or Porsche supercup race on? Are there like 100 pit garages or do Mclaren et al have to share their fuel rigs and pitboxes with isport GP2 team or similar?

  11. I think they just close the front of the F1 garages and the GP2 and other teams bring their kit over on quad bikes and stuff and set up in the pit lane in front of them. Refuelling rigs aren’t needed because GP2 don’t have refuelling in their races (and it isn’t missed, if you ask me…)

  12. Let battle commence! Since, CVC own GP1 (ahem) and GP2, we can assume that when the time comes Bernie, Flavio and VJ will take the whole circus with them around their tame circuits. I wonder if the Porches are part of it too? Or would they only have GP3 and GP4 support races?
    Meanwhile, in the other corner, Max and the FIA are creating the ‘alternative’ scenario of real racing cars and newer categories.
    Not forgetting that GP2 is a one-make series and Bernie is hinting that GP1 would be too, presumably using KERS type engines.
    I think most of the teams would jump at a new series where they can develop engines, use their own tyre suppliers and get a share of the profits.
    I say the more racing series the better, and the less influence by Bernie and CVC the better too!

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