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Friday, March 8, 2013

Marussia may not be seen in Melbourne

It's not that they won't show up but rather that FOM will not allow them to be shown on television during qualifying or the race.

The problem seems to be the lack of any signed agreement between Marussia and FOM who holds the commercial rights to Formula 1.

ESPN F1 have the story where they say that a spokesperson for Marussia told them yesterday that:
We are in active discussion with the Commercial Rights Holder but, as of today, we do not have a signed agreement with them
As this blog has previously reported on a couple of occasions now, the lack of any signed agreement means that Marussia receives no cash from FOM, no revenue from the sport's profits and is reliant upon the money coming in from the few sponsors they have, their bank loans and their drivers.

Recently Bernie appeared to relent when on February 7th last he met with the smaller teams and confirmed that agreement would be reached to include Marussia (or the 11th team) in the F1 revenue stream.

It seems that to this point nothing has been signed between the pair.

Marussia don't seem to be worried about that though with John Booth the Marussia Team Principal saying that the lack of any agreement is more of a headache for FOM:
It's vital for Bernie because he won't be able to film us without it
I don't agree with his reading of the situation based on the rumours which emerged from Bahrain in the wake of Qualifying last year.  While I didn't watch the race due to my comprehensively explained feelings about the  use of my beloved sport as a PR opportunity there were numerous reports in the media afterwards saying that Force India had not been shown on the televised feed for qualifying, likely due to the fact that the team did not take part in FP2 on Friday evening in order to enable their team members travel back to their hotels in safety.

The fact is that FOM would appear to have no difficulty excluding a team's cars from live broadcast.  Whie various excuses were given by Bernie at the time, none of them stood up to scrutiny.  the Guardian reported:
Force India refused to comment last night, but a team insider who declined to be named said: "Everyone knows what happened. Bernie is giving Force India a slap on the wrist for missing Friday's second practice session."
It's not so difficult for FOM to ignore a car; even though numerous Broadcasters are at each GP the television pictures come from the feed controlled by Formula One Management.