The decision by major European football clubs to form a Super League to help boost their income sent shock waves through the sport last week, but a fan revolt prompted those involved to abandon their plans.
F1 is no stranger to threats of rupture itself. There was talk of a Grand Prix World Championship in the early 2000s, while the now defunct Association of Formula One Teams (FOTA) announced plans in 2009 for its own series in 2010 amid frustration over conditions offered to teams to run.
However, the idea of a FOTA series was scrapped after the teams, FIA and F1 commercial rights holders all reached a compromise on governance and future financial conditions.
In addition to the teams receiving a larger share of the league’s profits in recent years, F1 has also placed an emphasis on cutting costs.
New rules attempted to limit team spending, while the introduction of a budget cap for 2021 ultimately secured a spending cap.
Domenicali believes F1’s focus on cutting costs is key to getting Grand Prix racing out of the dangers of a Super League-style breakaway – and he thinks football bosses may need to tackle to club finances in the same way.
Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02 and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR21
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Speaking to Italian channel Sky TG24, Domenicali said F1’s mindset about cutting costs for teams has helped provide a solid foundation for the long term.
Speaking about what happened with the Super League, Domenicali said: “In Formula 1 we have already had a situation on two occasions where there was the risk of a breakaway championship to try to bring back to the House. [to the teams] more results from an income point of view.
“In F1 at the moment we started with the opposite approach: trying to control costs. It is no coincidence that this year is the first year of the budget cap, which gives a different dimension of financial sustainability to the teams.
“I think this is the first problem the football world, if I may say so, has to tackle, and in a fairly quick fashion.”
Beyond the question of costs, Domenicali also felt that F1’s tech plans for a hybrid and biofuel future were ensuring the series a sustainable future that would keep manufacturers and teams interested.
“We will be a hybrid F1, and we will have an eco-sustainable fuel,” he explained. “There are already a lot of activities like this going through the company, and it gives F1 the opportunity to be a protagonist.”