Brown: Most major sports prohibit ownership of two teams

Brown: Most major sports prohibit ownership of two teams

Brown: Most major sports prohibit ownership of two teams

McLaren CEO Zak Brown took an indirect swipe at Red Bull claiming the fact that they own AlphaTauri is unfair for other teams as he pointed out areas where Formula 1 can improve.

Brown’s recent statement came in a letter he penned for McLaren fans on the team’s website, reflecting on the outgoing 2023 F1 season, his team’s situation and plans for the future.

Looking at the broader picture of the sport and the regulatory work done along with the FIA giving credit where he believes it was due especially with the F1 cost cap, something the American has been strongly supportive off.

Brown wrote: “From a regulatory perspective, both the FIA and Formula 1 also need to be given credit for the budget cap, which has introduced a fairness and a parity to the competition that didn’t exist before.

“This has also seen a tremendous amount of value created for the teams, hence all the new investors, and an overall grid that is the most competitive it’s ever been. I can’t think of a single team, OEM, investor, or owner that doesn’t 100% support the cost cap,” he added.

But McLaren’s top man insisted there are still more areas where F1 can improve, he explained: “There is an opportunity to improve some of the other processes in Formula 1 to strengthen the values of fairness and competition.

“The sport is not perfect, and as we look ahead to negotiating the next Concorde Agreement to unite the governing body with the teams and commercial rights holders, we should prioritise some of those rules that currently impact the impartiality between competitors.

“For example, most other major sports prohibit the ownership of two teams within the same league because of the obvious potential damage that it does to competition,” he pointed out.

“It’s an unhealthy situation because it impacts decisions made both on and off the track. Whether it’s a case of having access to more data, sharing components/personnel, or even having influence over a strategic vote, it’s not in the spirit of the regulations.

“It’s important to stand up for independence, competition and fairness, and I’d like to see changes in the regulations to ensure that in future, they stop influence spreading from one team to another through strategic alliances and especially through ownership.

“Formula 1 should be true to its brand, and every team – except Power Units – should be totally independent of each other,” Brown maintained.

The fans want fairness

grandstands, gradins, spectators, fans during the Formula 1 Aramco United States Grand Prix 2021, 17th round of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship from October 21 to 24, 2021 on the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, United States of American - Photo Antonin Vincent / DPPI

With F1 recently pushing for a larger fan base and looking to spread the sport’s activities around the world as much as possible, Brown warned that fans will be alienated by the sense of unfairness.

He said: “I believe Formula 1 fans universally believe in fairness in competition and a level playing field, and would reject any actions that compromise the true spirit of competition within Formula 1.

“Part sharing of information, shared ownership models, and strategic alliances within the sporting fabric of Formula 1 will only serve to undermine the fans’ belief in fair and fierce competition,” he concluded.

Over the course of the years several major teams have built relations with smaller one, which started with supply contracts for power units, but then extended to supply of some car components as the regulations allow.

That also extended to driver contracts where big teams would place drivers in their young talent programs at other teams to get them ready before putting them in their own cars.

Ferrari has that kind of relationship with Haas for example, the American outfit sourcing power units and some car components from Maranello. The same applies to Ferrari’s connection with Sauber/Alfa Romeo.

Charles Leclerc started in F1 at Alfa Romeo in 2018 before being promoted to Ferrari in 2019 while Mick Schumacher was placed at Haas to develop his skills – that turned out to be a disaster though.

Mercedes shares ties with Williams, which is where George Russell got his training. Williams use Mercedes power units and their new boss James Vowles is a former Mercedes employee.

Aston Martin gets its power units from Mercedes for now, they will switch to Honda power in the new era that starts in 2026. They also use Mercedes gearboxes and rear suspension.

Having given these examples, it is only Red Bull that owns and operates two F1 outfits, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri, both teams having similar if not stronger connections than the aforementioned examples.

Big Question: Do you agree with Zak Brown’s concerns about fairness in F1?