The reigning drivers’ champion is racing prodigy Sebastian Vettel of Germany,
the youngest man ever to win the championship. Vettel drives for Red Bull
Racing, which also took the 2010 constructors’ championship, having piled
up points from both Vettel and teammate Mark Webber, the third-place fin-
isher in the championship standings.
F1 governance occurs under the auspices of FIA, which establishes and ad-
ministers rules and regulations governing motor sports worldwide. After that,
the situation becomes relatively complicated. FIA has literally hundreds of
affiliated organisations around the world, the leaders of which gather at the
annual meeting of the FIA General Assembly at the Federation’s Paris head-
quarters. The General Assembly is nominally FIA’s supreme governing body
and is responsible for electing, by majority vote, the Federation President and
officers as well as for passing on FIA initiatives and rule changes.
Although the not-for-profit FIA and its officers are the overseeing authorities
of F1 racing, the Federation has delegated the commercial rights and actual
administration of the sport to the privately held Formula One Group and its
subsidiary companies. This arrangement is the result of a contract, known as
the Concorde Agreement, negotiated in 1980 between FIA and the Formula
One Constructors Association (FOCA) and resulted in the regularisation of
what had been a haphazardly organised sport. Subsequent emendations and
renewals have been negotiated between FIA and the Formula One Group and,
since 2008, with the additional participation of the Formula One Teams As-
sociation (FOTA).
Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Management –which effectively ad-
ministers television distribution, the commercial rights to team names, and
all F1 media content –has been F1 racing’s dominant figure for the last forty
years. By 1981, the former used car salesman had been a F1 team owner for
a decade. As a salesman and business owner, he recognised his fellow team
owners were mostly engineers and former drivers with little interest in either
administration or politics and were willing to leave much of that to him. In
the mid-1970s he became head of the Formula One Constructors Associa-
tion, and in that capacity as the spokesman and negotiator for the F1 teams,
Ecclestone wrested the original Concorde Agreement from FIA by threaten-
ing to withdraw the teams from F1 and establish a rival racing series. The
1981 agreement created the division of executive labour that characterises
the sport today, with FIA serving as the supreme rule-making organisation
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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