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Bernie's boss to crash crucial F1 meet

2015-05-14 13:34

UNDER FIRE Bernie Ecclestone (L) in this file picture taken at the Sakhir Circuit in Manama in April 2015, is facing heavy criticism from his contemporaries in the sport. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Donald Mackenzie, chairman of F1's primary shareholder CVC Capital Partners,and International Automobile Federation president Jean Todt were looking forward to Thursday's (May 14) critical meeting of the powerful Strategy Group.

Faced with the sport's stakeholders baying collectively for urgent change, all of the most influential F1 figures will get together on then at F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's airport facility at Biggin Hill in England.

As trackside and TV audiences decline so race promoters complain and aujtomakers and potential sponsors show reluctance to enter, Mackenzie has got involved.

RED BULL URGING CHANGES

He's the powerful chief of CVC, the controlling shareholder of F1, and essentially Ecclestone's boss.

Mackenzie, not usually centrally involved or seen, was at the most recent GP's in Bahrain and Spain. Now he will also be at Biggin Hill.

Red Bull is perhaps the loudest voice urging regulation changes but Helmut Marko was not confident about Thursday's meeting.

"The system with the FIA, FOM and the teams does not work," he charged. "You cannot always ask everybody what they want -- there should be an independent mechanism."

Former team boss Eddie Jordan agrees: "I have known Bernie for years, and his greatest successes were achieved as a dictator.

"He is of course an absolute dictator, but it has just been taken out of his hands."

TODT MET WITH MACKENZIE AND ECCLESTONE

Interestingly, however, the now extremely low-profile FIA president Todt was also at the Spanish GP, and it is believed he met in Barcelona with Mackenzie and Ecclestone.

While it is the big teams such as Ferrari,Mercedes andRed Bull who dominate the Strategy Group publicly, it is the CVC-controlled and Ecclestone-led FOM and Todt's FIA who actually control 12 of the group's 18 votes.

As a unified front, they may be able to push through some key reforms for 2017, with former quadruple world champion Alain Prost summing up the appetite for the future.

"We need more power," he told Servus TV, "we need fatter tyres, a reduced influence of aerodynamics, more mechanical grip.

"This is important because sometimes I have the impression that even the drivers are not enjoying anymore," Prost added.

And Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda told Auto Motor und Sport: "My suggestion? Reduce the mimimum weight, forget the flow rate, keep the V6 turbo but everything else is free."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.


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