Competition in motor racing : a new formula one antitrust case?
The European Commission considers to open a new antitrust case against the owners of the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1), which by some accounts represents the second biggest sports business in the world. Two interrelated concerns are raised: (i) a violation of a former settlement between F1 organizers and the EC’s competition division by re-mixing regulatory authority and commercial rights through the Fédération Internationale l’Automobile (FIA) and (ii) an unfair treatment of smaller teams by excluding them from regulatory decision procedures and by a grossly uneven distribution of revenues among teams. These two concerns, however, do not only point to a violation of the former settlement, they also reveal a major flaw in the 2001 agreement. Instead of restoring competition, the power may just have been leveraged from the FIA to the commercial rights holder.