Force India believe F1's new Strategy Group illegal

Formula 1's new Strategy Group is set to meet for the first time on Monday, but Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes it might be illegal.

As part of the new Concorde Agreement, the group will replace the sporting and technical working groups which were made up of representatives from all 11 teams and key members from the FIA and FOM.

However the new Strategy Group does away with that and consists of 18 voting members. Of those, six are from the FIA, six are from FOM and the remaining six is made up of the leading teams.

Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams are five permanent members based on their historical contribution, whilst the sixth member will be the highest ranked outfit outside of those five - therefore at present the seat is held by Lotus.

The remaining teams aren't represented and have no say in the way in which the sport is run, which Fernley believes is "unethical and undemocratic".

"All teams basically pay the same amount to go racing," he told the Daily Telegraph. "The only differentials are in drivers' salaries and hospitality. And yet some teams have no say in how the sport is run. It could certainly be deemed abuse of a dominant position.

"There is genuine concern among some of the teams on the Strategy Group, particularly the ones who are public companies. This is not ethical governance."

Many in the paddock believe this is the first step in forcing smaller teams to use customers cars to force the grid to become more competitive.

The Briton doesn't believe such a strategy will work for Formula 1.

"If you have big teams acting as constructors, unified and pledged to offer their services as two-car constructor teams, you have the grid," he added.

"The pie gets split only five ways and they get revenue from customer teams, too.

"I can tell you now that customer teams will not work. It is completely changing the DNA of F1."