The European Parliament has backed an investigation into “anti-competitive practices” in Formula One.
South East Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds called for an amendment to the parliament’s annual competition report published in January. The motion carried with 476 votes in favour and 156 against. The vote could now force the European Commission into launching an inquiry.
Dodds believes Formula One’s smaller teams are “unfairly punished” by the way in which prize money is distributed.
Force India, who finished fourth in last season’s constructors’ championship, and Sauber both lodged a complaint to the EU on such grounds in 2015. Manor, the British-based constructor, who ended last season at the bottom of the standings, collapsed in January and are unlikely to compete in the forthcoming campaign.
“I’m happy that today the European Parliament backed my call for a full and immediate investigation into anti-competitive practices in Formula One,” said Dodds.
“A few weeks ago Manor Racing became the latest team in the south-east of England to collapse after administrators failed to find a buyer. Smaller teams are unfairly punished by an uncompetitive allocation of prize money that will always give the biggest teams more money, even if they finish last in every race.”
Dodds also expressed her concerns over Liberty Media’s recent £6.4billion purchase of the sport. The FIA, Formula One’s governing body, benefited from the sale.
Dodds added: “There is also significant conflict of interest over the recent sale of the sport to Liberty Media, after the regulator received a (US dollars) 79.5million (£63.7m) profit from authorising the sale.
“I have written a number of letters to the European Commission calling for a full investigation and I am grateful that the rest of the European Parliament has added its voice to this call.
“We must ensure that we don’t lose even more highly skilled jobs in this sector and allow a sport loved by 500 million fans to become increasingly less competitive.”