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F1 figures think Strategy Group could manipulate rules processes

Grosjean made a great start to take the lead

Leading Formula 1 figures fear that future rules processes are now at risk of manipulation through the introduction of its new Strategy Group.

Ahead of the first meeting of the Strategy Group on Monday, a number of paddock representatives believe that previous checks and balances that prevented radical changes being imposed have now been removed.

They fear that with there being six FIA representatives, six FOM representatives and six teams making rule plans on the Strategy Group, there is a bigger danger that regulations tweaks could be imposed against the wishes of most teams.

Dieter Rencken analyses the Strategy Group agenda

Sauber team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn believes the make-up of the Strategy Group means that a bloc vote from the FIA and FOM with support from only a few teams would be enough to sway rule tweaks.

"The danger in the whole system is that the way it is now, because of representation, we could have five teams against it, but we could not stop it," she told AUTOSPORT.

Williams technical chief Pat Symonds thinks that F1 had previously benefited from having input from technical staff in the Technical and Sporting Working Groups, rather than solely relying on team bosses who have different agendas.

"What I'm fearful of is that I think the TWC [Technical Working Committee] as it is now will still be used as a body for let's call it 'technical debate'. That 'technical debate' will reach conclusions, because that's what debates should do," he said.

"They were, particularly the technical one, pitched at the level where it was composed of a number of people who had the ability to make decisions, but were not divorced from what was going on.

"The difference is that it's then up to the FIA how they treat those conclusions. And I guess my fear is that they will be selective about it."

Although all teams will still be able to reject rule changes they are not happy with at the F1 Commission level, Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley thinks such a scenario is not good for the sport.

"Arguably, each team still has a member on the F1 Commission, and the F1 Commission still has the power to reject - but that is not constructive," he said. "You want to have the teams in accord before it gets to the F1 Commission."

LEGAL THREATS

Martin Whitmarsh

Such is the unhappiness at the Strategy Group, that there has been talk any decisions it does make could be legally challenged, as the structure has not yet been agreed to formally by the teams in the Concorde Agreement.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitted that such a scenario was possible - which made it essential the Concorde was sorted.

"People are not choosing to legally challenge," he said. "It's running along, but at some point someone will become sufficiently agitated by an issue.

"Any individual, I think, could really start to challenge this through some legal route, and I think the sport would then be very untidy indeed. So hopefully we'll pull that together.

"The commercial rights holder, the FIA and the teams have got to get together and agree on a Concorde Agreement. The quicker we do that the better. Before there's a dispute."

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