On Friday evening the FIA published the official entry list for the 2019 F1 season, as required by the Sporting Regulations. There were four notable changes to team names: Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow; Rich Energy Haas F1 Team; Williams Racing (Martini dropped), and Racing Point (Force India dropped). None were a surprise, and very much formalities.
Eligibility for F1’s revenues is linked to retention of teams’ chassis names. However, as we detailed last week, there is currently no overarching covenant that binds the various F1 agreements related to this: Sporting Regulations and individual team commercial agreements are applied separately.
From a Sporting Regulations perspective, Racing Point could readily adopt a new chassis name in lodging its entry. But this raises the question of whether F1’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media agrees to combine the performances of the Force India chassis (subsequent to Spa 2018 only, when the team’s new entry was accepted) with those of the Racing Point chassis name from the start of next year.
If not, Racing Point’s plan for a quick name change creates a problem. In order for its seventh place in the 2018 championship – which is worth tens of millions pounds – to be taken into account, the team would need to revert to the Force India chassis name, despite having entered for 2019 under a Racing Point chassis. Furthermore, the regulations demand that chassis names include at least an element of a given team name, so Racing Point would need to adopt Force India into its team name.
Racing Point Force India would therefore be back to square one…
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The procedure for changing a chassis name is more complicated now than it was under the 2010-12 Concorde Agreement: then teams sought approval from the FIA and commercial rights holder (to ensure that any name was not ‘offensive’), and lodged applications with the F1 Commission. A vote of 18 votes (of 26) approved the application, and historic performance was recognised.
Since the start of 2013, when bilaterals superseded the Concorde Agreement, the process is superficially considerably simpler as these agreements specify that only the prior approval of the commercial rights holder is required for change of chassis name.
However the complicating factor is that the bilaterals variously refer to carry-over clauses from Schedule 10 of the 2010-12 Concorde Agreement, which in turn refer to Formula 1 Commission approval. Which overrides which – commercial rights holder or carry-over clauses?
A source with knowledge of the situation suggests it would be “prudent to obtain approval from both CRH and Formula 1 Commission for any change of chassis name”, and pointed to the example of Marussia, which underwent this process when the team emerged from administration and morphed into Manor GP. Otherwise, they warned, there could be legal repercussions – of which Racing Point Force India has had more than its fill recently…
The next Formula One Commission meeting is scheduled for 16 January 2019 in Geneva, although e-votes could be called for before or after that date. Either way, the matter needs to be resolved prior to the opening round in Melbourne on 17 March if the matter is not become even more farcical.
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Official 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list, as published on 30th November 2018
|Car no.||Driver’s name||Company name||Team name||Name of the chassis||Name of the engine|
|44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||Mercedes||Mercedes|
|77||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport||Mercedes||Mercedes|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Ferrari Spa||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||Ferrari||Ferrari|
|16||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari Spa||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||Ferrari||Ferrari|
|33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Limited||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull Racing||Honda|
|10||Pierre Gasly||Red Bull Racing Limited||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||Red Bull Racing||Honda|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Renault Sport Racing Limited||Renault F1 Team||Renault||Renault|
|27||Nico Hulkenberg||Renault Sport Racing Limited||Renault F1 Team||Renault||Renault|
|8||Romain Grosjean||Haas Formula LLC||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||Haas||Ferrari|
|20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Formula LLC||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||Haas||Ferrari|
|55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||McLaren Racing Limited||McLaren F1 Team||McLaren||Renault|
|4||Lando Norris||McLaren Racing Limited||McLaren F1 Team||McLaren||Renault|
|11||Sergio Perez Mendoza||Racing Point UK Limited||Racing Point F1 Team||Racing Point||Mercedes|
|18||Lance Stroll||Racing Point UK Limited||Racing Point F1 Team||Racing Point||Mercedes|
|7||Kimi Raikkonen||Sauber Motorsport AG||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||Sauber||Ferrari|
|99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Sauber Motorsport AG||Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team||Sauber||Ferrari|
|26||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso S.p.a||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR14)||Honda|
|TBA||Alexander Albon||Scuderia Toro Rosso S.p.a||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||Scuderia Toro Rosso (STR14)||Honda|
|63||George Russell||Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited||Williams Racing||Williams||Mercedes|
|88||Robert Kubica||Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited||Williams Racing||Williams||Mercedes|
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