EU complaint makes fight between small teams and F1 owners 'equal'

Force India feels it is no longer in a David versus Goliath battle with Formula 1's commercial rights holders now it has involved the European Union

EU complaint makes fight between small teams and F1 owners 'equal'

Earlier this month the EU agreed to look into a complaint made by Force India and Sauber over what the teams claim to be an "unfair and unlawful" division of F1's revenues and setting of the rules.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley feels the battle with F1's owners is now on a more level playing field than was previously the case.

"If we were fighting this cause on our own, then yes, you could view it as a David versus Goliath situation," Fernley told Autosport.

"But in this instance, by asking the EU to do it for us, we've actually an equal position.

"If the EU does not believe there is merit in the case then we are no worse enough from a team point of view than we are today.

"But at least we will have tried in terms of bringing it to a head and looking at someone to come in who can make a difference if they feel it is appropriate.

"The EU is the root to solving this, and they have to be convinced by us there is a case for investigation.

"If we can't achieve that then obviously one of two things has happened, either we haven't done a very good job of it or there isn't a case to answer."

But for its impending takeover by Renault, Lotus would likely have joined the cause given it, too, has long championed for a more equitable revenue share.

As for Manor, it is still trying to find its feet after emerging from administration, otherwise Sauber and Force India might have had another ally.

Fernley added: "With all due respect, throughout the process we have had support.

"Circumstances of those other teams change, and we shouldn't pre-judge that.

"At the end of the day what matters is Sauber and Force India have stayed the course of the programme, and we believe very strongly we need to address the sustainable issue."

ECCLESTONE 'PRAGMATIC'

Despite the seemingly unsavoury situation for F1, Fernley has confirmed keeping Bernie Ecclestone in the loop throughout the process.

"Bernie has always been aware we have been progressing the complaint," said Fernley.

"There has been no agenda with Bernie at all. He knows we are pursuing it, and once it had been accepted as a complaint, he was also advised of that.

"I feel very strongly this needs to be addressed, and Bernie respects that.

"He doesn't necessarily agree with it, but he respects it.

"He was very pragmatic about it. That's probably the best way of describing it."

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