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MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was created using a variable planed lens.) Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR14 Honda on track on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2019 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Formula One and the Super League

When football and motorsport cross paths...

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Recently, 12 of the biggest European football clubs decided to form a league of their own to salvage their complicated financial situations and when talking about sport and money, Formula 1 is always the model.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Milan announced last week the creation of a new independent league. The whole project is already finished after having been heavily criticized by UEFA, FIFA and the fans, but it’s still interesting to discuss some analogies to Formula One.

The biggest advantage of joining for these clubs was the income derived from media rights and spectacularization of the sport. The owners of the Super league even proposed a Netflix series inspired by F1’s Drive to Survive. Many of the founder clubs are in a financial crisis due to the rising cost of football and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, hence their revolutionary choice.

On the other side, the recent approval of a budget cap showed how Formula One is on the opposite road. Even F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali noticed: “In Formula 1 we have already had situations twice where there has been a risk of having fractures with federations and sports management to try to bring home a championship that could bring more results from the point of view of sports revenues. Formula 1 at the moment is starting from the opposite approach, we are trying to control costs, it is not by chance this year is the first year with the budget cap that forms a different dimension of financial sustainability for the teams, I believe that this is the first theme that the world of football, if I may, should discuss and also quite quickly and everything else must be addressed, I believe, in the spirit of confrontation.

However, even if teams have now adopted a radical difference of approach to the financial crisis, it’s important to notice that Formula One is de facto a Super League. The teams aren’t changing according to meritocracy and results and the rules are specifically made to protect the founder teams.

In 2020, the anti-dilution fee was approved: any new team entering the championship will have to pay a total of $200 million to the other teams as a sort of compensation for the dilution of the money prize. The rule is also in place to protect existing teams as it would be economically favorable to invest in an existing team rather than to create a new one.

The similarities with Formula One are incredibly clear especially when considering the approach many important teams now have during negotiations. Every time a new rule that goes against a certain team is proposed, that team will threaten to leave and that becomes incredibly worrying for F1 when the most important teams (Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull) stomp their feet , exactly how the Super league’s founders did.

Considering then that one of the creators of the Super League is Juventus President Andrea Agnelli, whose family owns Scuderia Ferrari, the question comes naturally: is Formula One really the example to follow or was Formula One the model of the crisis?


Headline Image: Formula One

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