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Europe to ‘brush off’ F1 investigation – report

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The European Commission looks set to dismiss claims formula one authorities are acting anti-competitively.

Recently, it appeared likely the European Union’s executive body would launch an investigation into the sport, following a letter by concerned British politician Anneliese Dodds.

Her concerns, reportedly backed by disgruntled smaller teams including Lotus, Force India and Sauber, centred around the FIA’s exchange of decision-making power for a 1 per cent shareholding in F1’s commercial rights.

Smaller teams were in turn locked out of the new Strategy Group, where Bernie Ecclestone and the grandee competitors make key decisions about the future.

The Times this week reported that an anti-competition chief at the European Commission, Krzysztof Kuik, had spoken to team bosses and experts.

Correspondent Kevin Eason said there is “widespread apprehension that a Competition Commission investigation could stop F1 in its tracks”, as it could result in “wholesale changes in the way that the sport is run”.

But F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, writing for Forbes, concluded that Kuik’s written response to Dodds in fact signals that the Commission has “brushed off” the anti-competition allegations.

Kuik wrote: “We are aware of the recent allegations regarding formula one’s governance, as described in your letter and the recent press reports.

“I appreciate it that you have provided information about those issues and have taken note of your concerns.”

Sylt concluded that the letter “comes across as a brush off as he gives no indication that any specific action will be taken”.

He said Dodds shares that view, as she has now written back to the Commission’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, this time with “some very specific requests”. (GMM)

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