After discussions with the governing body of Formula One, Eight out of the current ten F1 teams have threatened to break away and form their own F1 championship. The teams; BMW Sauber, Brawn GP, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull Racing, Renault, Toro Rosso and Toyota have all submitted conditional entries to the 2010 Formula One Championship. The two remaining teams; Force India and Williams have submitted unconditional entries and are locked into the agreement regardless of whether the other eight follow through with their threat or not.
It seems to me that the eight teams are bluffing, even though they may hold all the cards. If the eight were to leave it would have wide ranging repercussions for the Formula One brand, it may be one of the most popular sports in the world but if the big teams were to leave it would be akin to watching 3rd division Irish football teams playing in the English Premiership. Sponsorship would dry up, fans would leave in droves and F1 would soon be relegated to late nigh slots on Motors TV.
The eight breakaway teams strength lies in the group, for it to work they would all have to hold strong. As a group in a new championship they would retain a lot of the prestige of F1, the familiar teams would also make it easier for fans to migrate. The remaining Formula One championship would be limp, the FIA claim there are a host of smaller teams (most of whom have already had the entries rejected) that would be willing to step in. However, without the prospective draw of the bigger teams there would be less revenue from sponsorship, TV rights and ticket sales; these smaller outfits would struggle.
I may sound like I’m all for a new championship but I’m not… I’d rather watch Formula One in its existing format. What I suspect is happening is an attempt by the eight teams to force a change in the FIA management, which may or may not work. I suspect we’ll all find out shortly.