Force India, Sauber team up in F1 complaint to EU

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BRUSSELS (AP) In a challenge to Formula One’s status quo, Force India and Sauber lodged a complaint with the European Union on Tuesday charging that the sport’s rule-making and revenue-sharing mechanisms are unlawful, unfair and harmful.

“We have received a complaint and will assess it,” an EU spokesman, Ricardo Cardoso, said.

The move, long expected, represents a challenge to the dominance of F1’s major players and teams. It gives voice to smaller teams’ assertions that they cannot compete effectively because they don’t have an equal say or equal revenue.

In a statement confirming that it is one of two teams that submitted the complaint, Force India said: “The system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula One’s rules are set is both unfair and unlawful.”

The other team, Sauber, said the complaint argues that EU competition law is being violated and challenges “the rule-making powers and privileges, which are harming the sport.”

Any investigation, if the EU acts on the complaint, is liable to be lengthy and the outcome is uncertain.

Still, the EU wields major powers when it comes to anticompetitive behavior of companies. It can impose fines and force companies to change course. Its impact on sports has been particularly clear since 1995, when an EU court ruling forced football to change its transfer system and opened up European leagues to the spread of foreign players.