In a global environment of ever-rising financial crisis, Formula 1's big movers have stressed that it is imperative to bring its still-escalating expenditure under control - as sponsors begin to shy away from the world's most expensive sport.

F1 supremo and commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone blithely remarked 'I suppose like the rest of the world it will have some side-effects, but what they'll be I don't know', when asked about impact the current credit crunch may have on the top flight, the 77-year-old pointing to his company Formula One Management's (FOM) long-term contracts with existing partners and sponsors. Other leading figures, however, have warned that grand prix racing is far from immune from the worsening situation.

"I think it is going to affect all of us," stressed Scuderia Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger. "I think it is going to be difficult times, no question, and if you look at new sponsors coming into Formula 1, it is very seldom, especially the big ones. As I see it, it is not going to be easy [over] the next two years."

Having raced under the Red Bull wing thus far during its F1 career, STR will need to become a fully-fledged constructor in its own right as of 2010, when customer cars will be outlawed. In the current economic climate, Berger knows the small Faenza-based squad is up against it.

Whilst Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner agrees that belts will have to be considerably tightened in seasons to come - FIA President Max Mosley has already demanded that the ten teams, through the new Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), come up with ways to cut costs, reduce emissions and improve efficiency - the Englishman did point out that the massive popularity and interest in events such as this weekend's inaugural Singapore Grand Prix, F1's first-ever night race, can only be good for the sport and its investors.

"The global economy at the moment isn't in great shape," Horner acknowledged, "and it affects all areas of the pit-lane. It is down to the teams to work collectively with the governing body to make sure that we are responsible in what we do to control our costs.

"On the other hand, venues and races such as this one are so powerful and strong for Formula 1 and demonstrate Formula 1 in such a strong and fantastic light - excuse the pun. I think there are other very positive aspects as well, and I think this race, certainly this weekend, will be a big boost for the series in general."

"It would be foolish to think that the external environment doesn't affect our business," echoed Williams F1 chief executive officer Adam Parr, "but I think what is important, as with any business, is to prepare - we are trying to do that, some perhaps harder than others.

"I think that we need within FOTA to get on and identify ways to reduce our costs. I think we need to work with the commercial rights-holders and Bernie to continue to grow the sport, and I think this weekend is a testament to what FOM has achieved in terms of creating something absolutely phenomenal. Our partners and our sponsors are absolutely riveted by this event and they are here in force.

"I think that in spite of the global environment we are in rude good health, but we will only stay in rude good health if we prepare for the future, because the world is changing right now, very, very fast - faster than anybody could have imagined even a month ago. I think it is time to get down and change a few things."

Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President Norbert Haug elicited a similar enthusiasm for the Singapore venture, suggesting the new initiative is exactly what the sport needs in such uncertain economic times. The German argued that, with under-pressure global organisations looking for 'high-impact' ways to advertise, such a novel event is the perfect opportunity.

"If we concentrate on this venue, I think this is a great chance to send out positive signals during this time of economic crisis," the 55-year-old asserted. "Of course, in whole financial world all the surroundings are really challenging, probably more so than ever, but look at what was invested here, and what will be the outcome, what will be the exposure worldwide...

"Singapore is known for being a metropolis for financial business for example, and I think that sends out really positive signals. I think this is an enormous chance. The more you are under pressure to sell your products, the more you need advertising, but very specified and very special examples, and I think Formula 1 can deliver that.

"I think that, in the middle of a period where it is really difficult everywhere in terms of the economy, to have a race like this is remarkable. Again, though, I think we should be mindful that [the reason why] this is happening here currently is that so many people put so much effort behind it.

"It is not just another normal race; it's a huge step and a really good chance for Formula 1, for the sponsor partners, for everybody involved, for the media, for worldwide television viewers. Races like this are special and can help Formula 1 to deliver."