Sauber and Force India lodge complaint with EU

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Sauber and Force India have officially lodged a complaint with the European Union opposing Formula 1's governance and payment structure.

Both teams are targeting CVC Capital Partners' - the outright owners of Formula 1 - financial bias towards the sport's five biggest teams, namely Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and Williams.

Force India issued the following statement:

"Sahara Force India is one of two teams to have registered a complaint with the European Union questioning the governance of Formula 1 and showing that the system of dividing revenues and determining how Formula 1 rules are set is both unfair and unlawful. Due to the ongoing legal discussions, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

F1's annual capital payouts to the favored teams were questioned earlier this year by a UK member of the European Parliament, Annelise Dodds, who channeled her concerns to the EU's competitions commission.

The institution required an official complaint be lodged however by a potentially prejudiced third party, in this case another F1 team. This has now been fulfilled by Sauber and Force India's formal complaint.

Monies paid to the top five F1 outfits, and known as premium payments secured under negotiated bilateral agreements signed in 2012, are estimated to be in the region of $250 million, and are in addition to F1's normal prize money schedule.

Documents lodged with the EU by the two independent teams underline the unjust and biased nature of the payouts, and their resulting negative economic consequences on the sport.

"These unfair side payments put the independent teams at a perpetual sporting and economic disadvantage and directly harm the sport."

"These unlawful practices hurt the sport, its participants and the many thousands of people in and around Formula 1, and the many millions of European fans."

When the threat of a potential complaint emerged back in June, Bernie Ecclestone shrugged off the warning, stating that both Sauber and Force India were wrong to sign their contracts if they considered the terms so unfair in the first place.

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