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Force India and Sauber drop EU complaint

25 January 2018

Force India and Sauber have demonstrated confidence in Formula 1’s new owners Liberty Media, and withdrawn a complaint to the European Commission about anti-competitive practices.

The complaints, which argued that the division of revenues and rule-making processes were ‘unfair and unlawful’, were made by the privately-owned teams in 2015, before Liberty’s takeover of the sport. They claimed that the billion dollar sport was in breach of articles prohibiting cartels and the abuse of dominant market positions.

Bernie Ecclestone, who headed up F1 before Liberty’s takeover, dismissed talk of a cartel, but did question the influence of Mercedes and Ferrari over the direction of the sport.

 

Sauber and Force India said in a joint statement that they were reassured by talks with F1’s new management, and as such, now preferred to resolve the issues through dialogue.

“We have been greatly encouraged by the dialogue that has been introduced following the appointment of Chase Carey as Executive Chairman and CEO of the Formula 1 commercial rights holder and his new management team,” it read.

“We are encouraged and reassured by the even-handed and fair negotiating approach taken by the new management of Formula 1 to all the teams and their issues.

“While the concerns leading to the compliant were fully justified, we believe this new approach provides the necessary degree of assurance that our concerns will be looked at objectively, and we prefer to resolve the issues facing the sport through dialogue rather than a legal dispute.”

A spokesperson for F1 welcomed the withdrawal of the complaint and said it was a “positive step” for the sport.

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