The European Parliament has backed calls for an inquiry into alleged “anti-competitive” Formula One business practices.

Force India and Sauber previously filed formal complaints to the EU in 2015 over the sport’s governance and uneven payment structure. The two teams felt the sport was distributing prize money and bonus payments unfairly, and far too heavily in favour of the sport’s bigger teams.

A vote on Valentine’s Day regarding a proposition bought forward by Labour MEP Anneliese Dodds passed by a margin of 311 votes, with 467 in favour to 156 against, and 86 abstaining. The vote will now add to calls for the European Commission to launch a full inquiry.

The proposition comes a few weeks after the collapse of Manor F1, which fell into administration at the start of January and officially folded at the end of the month after FRP Advisory failed to find a buyer.

In a statement, Dodds said, “I’m happy that today the European Parliament backed my call for a full and immediate investigation into anti-competitive practices in Formula One.

“A few weeks ago, Manor Racing became the latest team in the south east of England to collapse after administrators failed to find a buyer. Smaller teams are unfairly punished by an uncompetitive allocation of prize money that will always give the biggest teams more money, even if they finish last in every race.

“The problems in Formula One extend well beyond the allocation of prize money, with serious concerns being raised about an agreement with HM Revenue and Customs that allowed the sport to pay an effective two per cent tax rate.”

In a further development, the FIA has denied claims of a conflict of interest when F1 was sold to Liberty Media in January.

Reports emerged the FIA had been given a 1% stake in F1’s commercial rights holding company Delta Topco as part of the deal that saw Liberty buy F1 from CVC Capital.

In their statement, the FIA said, “There is no conflict of interest on the part of the FIA with regard to its approval of the change of control of the CRH which has been approved by the World Motor Sport Council taking into consideration exclusively the terms of the existing agreements between the CRH and the FIA and the best interests of the Championship.

“The FIA would naturally be happy to demonstrate the absence of any conflict of interest to any competent authority that may so request.”

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