Bernie Ecclestone standing firm on F1 revenue distribution as debate continues
Further talks with smaller teams expected in Abu Dhabi
By Sky Sports Online
Last Updated: 24/11/14 2:21pm
Bernie Ecclestone has repeated his call for F1’s struggling smaller teams to manage their finances better and insisted they cannot expect to receive any additional hand-outs.
The increasingly thorny issue of revenue sharing has dominated off-track talk at the last two grand prix weekends with Ecclestone and the various Team Principals involved in numerous rounds of meetings.
A two-and-a-half-hour discussion between the F1 supremo and the teams ended in deadlock at the Brazilian GP and further talks are set to be held at this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi round following a leaked letter written by Force India Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley expressing the grievances of Lotus, Sauber and his own team which was sent to Ecclestone, commercial rights holders CVC, the FIA, and their fellow teams.
Privately, the smaller outfits suspect they are being forced out of the sport in favour of F1 becoming a series featuring five teams and five corresponding satellite squads. However, while the struggling outfits are arguing for a more even distribution of F1’s finances, Ecclestone insists they all agreed bilateral commercial contracts until 2020 which bind them to the current financial model.
"They've a contract they signed. They know exactly what they signed and how much money they would be getting,” he said.
"What we don't have any control over is how much they want to spend. That's the problem.
"Normally in business you have a look and see how much money you are going to get, and then you decide to spend less than that otherwise you are going to be in trouble.
"It doesn't seem like they've followed a normal business route."
While Ecclestone, a long-time critic of F1’s new hybrid power units, did express sympathy with the small teams over the massive increase in customer engine costs this year – “I agree with them completely, 100 per cent. They have my support," – he rubbished a claim contained within the letter that a “questionable cartel” was being created by himself and the grid’s largest outfits.
"I hope he [Fernley] understands what the definition is of a cartel, and if he does, how he could believe there is a cartel,” Ecclestone argued.
"He is talking complete and utter rubbish. This is the problem we get into in meeting with these team principals, or managers - they don't know what they're talking about."