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McLaren, Toyota left out of F1 Commission

McLaren and Toyota are two of the teams that have been squeezed out of the voting process within the new 2008 F1 Commission, which is being finalized today by a fax vote of World Motor Sport Council members.

The F1 Commission is the body that approves measures agreed by the Technical Working Group and the new Sporting Working Group, and then submits them to the World Motor Sport Council for final ratification.

As part of the wholesale changes to the sport for 2008, the F1 Commission is being restructured.

That process had to be finalized as soon as possible, as the Commission will have to act on the 2008 technical regulations before June 30.

Since their own next meeting is not until July 5, the WMSC members were asked this week to vote by fax to finalize the composition of the new Commission.

Only six of the 12 teams (including new entrant Prodrive) will be allowed a vote, rather than all of them, as was the case in the past.

FIA president Max Mosley told in Monaco that the teams have not been chosen purely in terms of their positions in the world championship, but on a national basis, via their entrants' licenses.

"We need to do it now by fax, rather than on July 5 at the next meeting," Mosley said. "Because any change to the sporting rules that affects the design of the cars for 2008 has to be made before June 30. What we're proposing is one team from each country. The FIA tradition is country by country."

Licenses tend to reflect the nationality of the team owner, rather than where the actual race team factory is based. That's relevant mainly because national anthems played for the winning constructor on the podium have to be that of the license.

For example, Toyota's top management would not be very happy to win a race and have the German anthem played, and the same goes for Honda, Super Aguri and Renault with regard to Britain, and BMW with Switzerland.

At the moment, six countries enter F1 teams, but Mosley said that Red Bull Racing will apply for an Austrian license, bringing the total to seven, leaving the split between the countries as follows:

Great Britain: McLaren, Williams and Prodrive;
Italy: Ferrari and Toro Rosso;
Japan: Honda, Toyota and Super Aguri;
France: Renault;
Germany: BMW;
Russia: Midland F1;
Austria: Red Bull Racing.

Mosley said that where there is more than one team from each country, "I think we would have to take the most senior team. For example, Honda is probably the senior Japanese team."

Mosley did not mention who would get the British vote, but understands that Williams will be given priority, leaving McLaren out in the cold.

It's not clear what definition of the word "senior" is being used, because McLaren are ahead of Williams in the championship and have also been in the sport for longer.

However, Williams are already a member of the Permanent Bureau, which is a sort of sub-division of the Commission that votes on certain matters, such as the recent Yuji Ide situation.

It thus seems that the six teams who get the crucial votes will be Williams, Ferrari, Honda, Renault and BMW, with Austria's Red Bull taking precedence over Russia's MF1 for the final slot.

Apart from McLaren, that leaves Toyota, Toro Rosso, Super Aguri, Midland and Prodrive without a direct vote, although obviously Toro Rosso are in effect represented by Red Bull Racing.

The lack of participation by Mercedes and Toyota in the voting process will clearly be a major blow to both manufacturers, who by coincidence are also two of the less FIA-friendly teams in the paddock.

The other votes within the F1 Commission are held by the FIA and FOM, plus five race promoters.

Although no confirmation was forthcoming from the FIA, understands that the five promoters will be Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Monaco and Spain.

In the past, there were also representatives of sponsors, tyre suppliers and engine manufacturers on the Commission, but they have now all been dropped.

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