Mallya joins call for more autocratic rule of Formula 1

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Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has become the latest figure to call for a more autocratic rule of Formula 1 as the legitimacy of the sport’s Strategy Group continues to be brought into question.

Ever since the collapse of the Formula One Teams’ Association in 2014, decisions regarding the future of the sport have been taken by the F1 Strategy Group, made up of representatives from Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams, Ferrari, McLaren and Force India.

The body has come under fire ever since its formation in 2013 given the exclusion of the other teams and its lack of actual progress over the past two-and-a-half years.

In Monaco, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted that “the only thing the Strategy Group has unanimously agreed on and implemented this year is the fact that the drivers should wear the same crash helmet for the entire season”, acting as proof of its failings.

In an interview with the official Formula 1 website, Mallya echoed the thoughts of his deputy, Bob Fernley, by suggesting that decisions about the future of the sport should lie with the FIA and the commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone.

“The way Formula 1 is run now – with the Strategy Group – teams are in fact running Formula 1,” Mallya said. “They discuss anything from technical regulations to revenue distribution etc, and that’s it.

“This is one of the few sports where the teams have such a big say in its running. In all other sports you have a promoter – which is FOM – and you have a regulator – which is the FIA.

“Between them they decide the set of rules and tell all participants: here you are – these are the rules. You’ve got to comply with them and get on with the championship.”

Mallya said that the biggest issue with the Strategy Group was the lack of perspective among the more prominent members, given that their priorities are their own interests, not the good of the sport as a whole.

“F1 is overly democratic,” Mallya said. “There are teams in the Strategy Group that are extremely inflexible – they only want to protect their own position.

“So we have to live with what the Strategy Group decides, which effectively means that we all have to live with what the big teams decide.

“We have our views and we clearly express them, but we are steamrollered by the big four and that is the rule-making process.”