Renewed Calls For MotoGP Qualifying Format Change

• An FIA accredited F1 journalist since 2011

FIA president Jean Todt does not see Formula One's governance changing before the current Concorde Agreement and commercial contracts with teams expire in 2020.

F1's decision-making process has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after changes to the qualifying format failed to mix up the grid as intended, and instead ruined the spectacle of the pole position shootout. Ongoing indecision over qualifying has only strengthened calls for a new form of governance after the drivers wrote an open letter attacking F1's "obsolete and ill-structured" rule-making process two weeks ago.

>F1's rule-making process

Strategy Group

Rules are formulated in the F1 Strategy Group, which is made up of six of the 11 teams, the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder, which is represented by Bernie Ecclestone. Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull and Williams have permanent seats on the Strategy Group, while Force India is the sixth member this year because it was the best placed of the rest of the teams last year. Each team has one vote each, while the FIA and Ecclestone have six votes each. If they work together, the voting structure gives the FIA and Ecclestone the power to overrule the teams. However, Ferrari also has a veto based on its historical standing in the sport.

F1 Commission and WMSC

Suggestions from the Strategy Group are then passed on to the F1 Commission, which is made up of 26 votes. The FIA, CRH, teams, race promoters and sponsors are all represented and before the end of February each year, a 66 percent majority is required to pass rules for the following year. After that date unanimous agreement is required (with the exception of the 2017 rules, where the deadline has been extended to April 30, 2016). Once new rules are agreed by the F1 Commission they are passed to the FIA's World Motor Sport Commission for approval, although this is usually just a formality.

The FIA agreed to the existing system (see boxout for details) in 2013, and at the time heralded "a strong and stable sporting governance framework which includes the Formula One Group, the FIA and the participating teams".

But when it was put to Todt that the system he agreed to in 2013 leaves the sport in a bind when it comes to rule making, he said: "That is the way of the triangular governance of Formula One. [We have to] wait until the renewal of the Concorde Agreement in 2020 and then decide to change the governance. It may be another president of the FIA because we are currently in 2016 and it cannot be before 2020.

"Unless the teams and the commercial rights holder and the FIA decide we want to change the governance, then we can do it tomorrow. But we can only do it tomorrow if everybody accepts to change the governance."

Todt says it is the F1 Commission, which existed before his first term as FIA president, and not the Strategy Group, which he helped form, that is the issue.

"The Strategy Group did not change anything. The Strategy Group is just proposing something to the F1 Commission and the F1 Commission has always been there. It's something I was thinking just yesterday, in the past we had the Technical Working Group and Sporting Working Group and the F1 Commission could only accept or reject proposals. So we are in exactly the same situation [as before the Strategy Group]."

Asked if he would take on full power if it could be agreed among the teams and Commercial Rights Holder, Todt said: "That would be more logical. The FIA should have complete control as a regulator and as a legislator of Formula One, but historically it has not been like that. The only time the FIA has been able to change something unilaterally is because of safety. Safety you could change without any consultation or any agreement and we still can."

"In the end we could get rid of the Strategy Group because it's a commission of the FIA, so we could change it like that," he said. "But the FIA wouldn't be so excited because it costs them 40 million to regroup with that, so it's these little side issues sometimes that create big problems."

He added: "The reason we [originally] had the Concorde Agreement was because it was a peace treaty. So that's how we got this and we haven't changed it. The world's changed, everything's changed but we've kept what we've got. The FIA should write the regulations and say these are the regulations, you all enter the championship, if you don't want to enter up to you."

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