There is still no obvious end in sight to the dispute between Formula 1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone and the sport's teams over the distribution of revenue.
The competitors currently receive 50 per cent of the total income generated by Ecclestone's Formula One Management company, but the Formula One Teams' Association – with the backing of FIA President Max Mosley – argues that figure should be greater.
According to German magazine Auto Motor und Sport
, Ecclestone has threatened the teams with a 'TV tax', whereby those that benefit from the most coverage on-screen would have to pay a sort of revenue 'tax' to those that receive the least exposure. He has also suggested that in a climate of radical cost-cutting, the demands for a greater share are not only against the grain but in fact unreasonable.
“In no other sport do the participants get so little,” FOTA chairman and Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo blasted, with Ecclestone responding: “I would like Luca to call me with the names of the sports that pay more.
“No-one has to take part in Formula 1 if they don't want to. Maybe we'll be able to pay them less money. They don't need so much now.”
Mosley, meanwhile, has suggested that if the sport were to self-implode in the wake of the current global credit crunch and ongoing disagreements between its key players, the FIA would continue to exist whilst 'only the teams and Bernie would be out of business'.
“Thus all the rights would return to the FIA,” the 68-year-old explained, “and we would have to create something out of the ruins.”
Ecclestone, though, has insisted that F1 remains in rude health despite the economic downturn having been the catalyst for a slump in the automotive sector around the world and Honda's resultant and sudden withdrawal from competition last month.
Whilst admitting that the financial climate is 'obviously' having an impact, the 78-year-old claimed that in addition to recently-signed title sponsor LG, 'two other contracts are about to arrive' in the top flight.
“At the moment we have to be patient and see how things develop,” he is quoted as having said by Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “I do not see great suffering for everyone.”