A1GP chairman Tony Teixeira has accused both Formula 1 and his counterpart in the top flight, Bernie Ecclestone, of copying ideas from him and of wanting to be like the World Cup of Motorsport – quipping that instead the Formula One Management chief executive should simply 'buy him out'.
Since its launch four years ago, Teixeira has made A1GP into one of the world's leading single-seater series, competing around the globe – and particularly in the southern hemisphere – during the traditional off-season and attracting big-name drivers of the calibre of Nelsinho Piquet, Adrian Sutil, Sébastien Buemi, Adam Carroll, Karun Chandhok, Olly Jarvis, Narain Karthikeyan, Jos Verstappen, Marco Andretti, Robert Doornbos, Bruno Junqueira, Scott Speed, Graham Rahal, Timo Scheider and Nico Hülkenberg amongst many others.
What's more, for the current 2008/09 campaign, he secured a deal for all cars and engines to be designed and built by Ferrari, a considerable step forward in the championship's growth.
The South African – who as a young teenager used to hitch-hike with friends to Kyalami to watch motor racing – is bullish about the prospects of the groundbreaking nation vs nation series, even in such a period of global economic turmoil and with some events having consequently fallen off the calendar.
“Any business that makes money within three years is illegal,” Teixeira said in an interview with The Times
in South Africa. “If I have an unprofitable race [coming up], I'm not going racing. Of course I won't take the ticket money and then not hold the event, but if it is clear in advance there is no demand, that event is gone. If anyone doesn't like it I say to them: 'Pay my bills!'
“We, along with the rest of the world, are facing a big hurdle and have to find a way to go around it. We are going to be very particular about break-even figures. I would not have ordered the new Ferrari cars if I had known about the crisis in advance. The previous cars were all paid for.”
Like elsewhere within the sport, cost-cutting measures are in place in A1GP, with most notably shorter build-ups to race weekends. In such a climate, Teixeira – who made his fortune in mining and transport, where he 'did not make a single cent' for the first seven years – claims F1 is taking a leaf out of his book in having looked at the viability of a single engine-supplier for all of its teams, and at the pulling power of national pride through outfits like Force India.
Describing the category that is widely considered to be the pinnacle of international motorsport as more like professional wrestling and lacking in credibility, the straight-talking, Portuguese-born businessman suggested that with costs still far too high and the automotive sector in crisis, Toyota, Renault and BMW could all soon withdraw their support and follow Honda out of the exit door.
“Instead of copying all the ideas from A1GP, just buy me out!” he joked, when asked what his advice would be for Ecclestone. “Everything we are is what Formula 1 is trying to be...”