F1 » 21 September 2013
Singapore Grand Prix: Teams ‘screwed up’ by ditching unity in financial fight
The divide in the FOTA ranks has cost F1 dearly in terms of cost-cutting and revenue share, according to those at the 'wrong' end of the grid.
F1 team bosses admitted that they had missed an opportunity to both contain the cost of competition and create a more equitable split of revenues simply because the remained rivals off the track.
With the introduction of a new engine and drivetrain package for 2014 set to raise costs considerably, especially for those teams towards the rear of the grid, the push towards making the sport more affordable for all appears to have been abandoned, leaving those in charge to lament a lack of unity when it came to negotiating with both the FIA and rights holder CVC.
Ironically, it was the governing body that had initially championed the crusade for lower financial burdens, only to propose the costly switch to turbocharged 1-6-litre engine on environmental grounds for 2014. Not resisting that move was indicative of the teams' biggest failing, according to Caterham owner Tony Fernandes.
“I've been consistent since day one that costs are too high,” the Malaysian claimed, “When I came into F1, people talked to me about costs coming down, but I don't think there's been a single year [where] it's come down. I think next year will be probably the highest year, so I think there's something fundamentally wrong.
“I don't think it's just the engine, by the way, I think the teams lost out an opportunity to get costs under control. I think self-interest overrode the sport and we are as much to blame for this problem as an engine.”
With the points table reflecting the gulf between the top teams and those in the midfield in both performance and financial terms, there was an obvious air of frustration that all eleven parties could not have remained unified when it came to fighting their corner on costs.
“We are always talking of reducing the costs,” Toro Rosso's Franz Tost sighed, “On the one hand, we must say F1 is the peak of motorsport and we should come with new innovations… but the teams are stupid enough to decide to do tests during the season.
“This is totally a waste of money because we have eight test days and, as soon as the car goes out on the track, it costs money. But the teams want to do it. On the one hand, they're complaining they don't have money, and, on the other hand, they throw it through the window. It's a little bit difficult to understand for me, but we were voted down because we were against the tests. And who wants the tests? The rich teams - as usual!”
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier, who has never made any secret of the squad's struggle to balance its finances, agreed that the introduction of new technology was in keeping with F1's raison d'etre, but shared the frustration at the selfish approach taken by the leading teams.
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