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Force India accepts the risk of repercussions over F1 EU complaint

Bob Fernley accepts the risk of repercussions against Force India and Sauber, after they called in the European Union to investigate Formula 1's governance and payment structure

The F1 outfits lodged an , claiming "the system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula 1 rules are set is both unfair and unlawful".

Force India and Sauber are drawing upon Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) that prohibit anti-competitive agreements and the abuse of dominant market positions.

F1's EU complaint comes at the worst possible time

It is anticipated EU competitions commissioner Margrethe Vestager will deliver an answer on whether there is a case to answer by the end of the year.

Whatever the outcome, Force India deputy team principal Fernley is expecting some fallout, with the sport's commercial rights holders, venture capitalists CVC Capital Partners, understood to be unhappy.

"We're big boys, we know what the risks are," Fernley told Autosport.

"Will there be repercussions? Probably, in due course.

"But if you feel strongly about something and you're not prepared to take care of your own convictions then you shouldn't be doing it.

"I've enjoyed a very privileged career in Formula 1, or motor racing as a whole, doing I something I love for over 30 years.

"I would dearly like to think if I leave Formula 1 then somebody else could have 30 years as well.

"If that means there has to be a penalty for me personally in the short term then it is not the end of the world. It is one of those things. You have to accept it.

"But you have to have the strength of your convictions."

Sauber: Small teams had 'no choice' on F1 deals

Suggested to Fernley he could become a fall guy, he replied: "I'm not saying that for one minute. I don't know that. Nobody does.

"But sometimes when somebody has very strong opinions and takes on something that is not in the interests of some very powerful people, there can often be a casualty and you have to recognise that.

"If you didn't go in with your eyes open then you'd be very foolish."

Fernley concedes it took a lot of soul searching on behalf of both teams to opt to pursue the case, although it was felt they had little option in a bid to try to level the playing field with the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull.

"It was a very, very hard decision to have to take," said Fernley.

"But I feel it was a decision on which we gave every opportunity for mediation over a significant period of time, certainly at least 12 months, to try and get a conciliatory agreement in place.

"Clearly there is no interest in that whatsoever, so we have had to look at bringing in a body that is independent and has the power to bring us all to account, and the only one that can do that is the EU."

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