F1 still at risk of investigation – source

Tue, 28 February 2017, 08:35

Feb.28 (GMM) The possibility of a European Commission investigation into formula one remains open for now.

However, the BBC has reported that competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager in fact “rejected” calls for an investigation in a letter on Monday.

Vestager “has written to say the matter will not be taken any further”, the BBC report claimed.

But F1 business journalist Christian Sylt says the BBC has simply got it wrong.

The calls for an investigation were led by British politician Anneliese Dodds, taking the side of small teams Force India and Sauber who claim the governance and income distribution models in F1 are wrong.

But her latest appeal to the Commission was about Liberty Media’s recent takeover of the sport, which led to an $80 windfall for F1’s regulator, the FIA.

Sylt told us: “The reply (from Vestager) specifically concerns the approval of the takeover, not the EC’s intention to investigate an alleged breach of EU competition law as a result of it.”

Explaining why the Commission’s intervention on the Liberty sale was not necessary, commissioner Vestager said: “This transaction did not satisfy the turnover thresholds that must be met to fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction”.

The European commissioner added that authorities in Austria, Spain, Portugal and the UK all approved the Liberty deal.

Vestager also said her office is “looking at” F1’s controversial British tax arrangements.

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