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Mosley: Resource restriction just lip service
2 September 2013
Max Mosley has criticised the majority of F1 teams for not taking the matter of cost-cutting seriously enough – but reserved his biggest condemnation for his successor as FIA president.
Speaking to Germany's Welt am Sonntag, Mosley claimed that he foresaw the financial problems currently besetting even the midfield runners, but says that neither the teams or Jean Todt, who took over at the head of world motorsport when the Briton was forced to stand down, reacted in a way that could have prevented the threat of bankruptcy hanging over them.
“It is something I regret this very much and all the more so because this problem was signalled several years ago,” the 73-year old insisted, “Without intervention, it was inevitable, in my view, that it would get this far.”
Mosley's solution to the issue of spiralling costs was to propose a cap on spending, but he reveals that he received little support for the initiative. Instead, the team's own proposal - the Resource Restriction Agreement - has proven largely unworkable, and now faces opposition from within the group that created it.
“No one wanted to join the proposal,” he explained, “The teams have made their own rules instead of the cost limit introduced but, in reality, it has never been used in reality. It was only ever a non-binding letter of intent, a kind of lip service and was rendered virtually ineffective, partly because my successor Jean Todt was never a supporter of the cap. The FIA has not taken care of a proper successor to the problem of cost control and now F1 has a big problem.”
Mosley insisted that it was down to everyone involved in the sport to take steps to prevent one or more teams going to the wall financially, but maintains that giving the competitors a bigger slice of the sport's revenue is not necessarily the solution.
“It's about the survival of the F1,” he stressed, “If nothing happens, F1 will shrink. The smaller teams will be forced out of the sport, forced to give up. It is high time for a rethink.
“However, F1 would not change if less money would be spent by all teams. If the big teams get more money from Bernie Ecclestone, they would spend more money so the proper solution would be a mandatory spending limit for all teams - whether large or small. It would only be fair for all.”
Unsurprisingly, Mosley does not blame Ecclestone for the sport's financial problems, repeating his mantra that the fault lies with 'the monetary policy of the teams'. Instead, he praises his former ally for the way he has brought the sport into the commercial era.
“Bernie has managed the commercial side of the sport for years with great success,” he pointed out, “He brings the tracks, the organisers, the TV stations… he keeps F1 alive commercially. It's certainly not his fault that the teams live beyond their means. On the contrary: without him, the sport would look bleak.”
Mosley's views were echoed by former Ferrari favourite Gerhard Berger, who laments the passing of the Mosley-Ecclestone alliance that he believes kept F1 on the right path.
"In F1, the old adage 'too many cooks spoil the broth' is more and more true,” the Austrian told Bild am Sonntag, "Previously, Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone worked as a unit but, today, we have, in Jean Todt and Ecclestone, two chefs who have different tastes and different spices. This leads us to something that is expensive and also difficult for many of the fans to understand."
Like Mosley, Berger is a fan of what Ecclestone has done with the sport, but fears that a lot could change in a short period of time.
“He has led this sport for decades with perfection, vision, cunning and hard work to great success, for which we all have to thank him," the FIA's single-seater commissioner commented, "As long as he is fit, there is no one better, but F1 is owned by CVC, who would normally hang on to an investment for up to ten years. And that time is basically up...”