By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One teams should have no say in the governance of the sport because they follow their own agenda and are an obstacle to change, Formula E founder and chief executive Alejandro Agag said on Thursday.
The Spaniard compared the ongoing and extended debate between Formula One teams and stakeholders over the post-2020 rules to his all-electric series’ ability to make quick decisions.
Five-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said last Sunday, after winning a processional French Grand Prix, that the sport was in a mess and teams should leave the decisions to the governing FIA.
Agag agreed: “The only way for Formula One in the future to have a healthy championship is to get the teams out of the governance completely. That’s it,” he said.
“The teams should let the FIA make the decisions, together with the promoter.
“We have the same interest, which is the championship. The teams have their own interest, which is completely legitimate, but they shouldn’t be allowed to introduce that interest into the equation.
“What happened in Formula One is the fault of the teams. It is not the responsibility of the FIA or the promoter,” added the Spaniard.
Agag sympathised with Formula One chairman Chase Carey, who was appointed by commercial rights holders Liberty Media after they ousted former supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 2017.
“If I were Chase, I would be looking at this saying ‘Oh my God, how do I fix this. I own the circus but I cannot change the order of the show,’” said Agag, whose series has Liberty Global as a shareholder.
“You’re actually unable to really alter the rules because you have the teams… that block everything. Here in the governance of Formula E we have only the FIA and us, and we have a great governance with the FIA.”
He cited the example of Saturday’s Swiss ePrix in Bern, which had a long stoppage after a first lap pile-up and saw little overtaking due to the tight circuit layout.
“I was talking yesterday with (FIA president) Jean Todt about it. We have to fix that,” he said. “Probably it’s a one-off (race). It’s too narrow. You couldn’t get past.
“We can make tweaks because it’s us deciding,” he said of potential measures to improve the racing.
Agag is due to hand over this year to a new and as-yet unannounced chief executive, leaving him as Formula E chairman and head of a planned Extreme E series due to launch in 2021.
He has also been mentioned in paddock speculation as a possible replacement for Carey, if he were to stand down at the end of 2020.
Agag said there had been no talks and he was ruled out anyway by non-compete clauses with Formula One written into his Formula E contract.
“Even if they were nice enough to offer it to me, it’s something I could not do,” he said. “Contractually I could not do it.”
Toto Wolff, Hamilton’s boss at dominant Formula One champions Mercedes, has been linked to the job with some senior team sources telling Reuters that Liberty were actively pursuing the Austrian.
Wolff has publicly played down the likelihood of a move while Liberty have a policy of not discussing such issues in public.
“Toto would be great, he would be my candidate,” said Agag. “But I don’t know if Chase is going anywhere.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)