Bernie offers manufacturers new deal UPDATE (GMM) F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has proposed to give formula one's richest teams more freedom to spend vast sums of money.
The scheme, at odds with the current trend for massive cost-cutting in the wake of the departure of Honda, would be in exchange for the manufacturers promising a long-term commitment to the sport.
"If the manufacturers are prepared to make a long-term commitment, say seven to 10 years, we should let them spend what they want to spend, providing they supply engines and gearboxes at an affordable price," the 78-year-old billionaire told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Following the expiry of the binding Concorde Agreement, the sport is currently commercially governed by a memorandum of understanding, which by Ecclestone's own admission is not legally binding.
It is in pressing for teams to commit to a new Concorde that he recently mischievously threatened to reduce, rather than increase, the revenue distributed to the teams.
The diminutive Briton hopes his lure of greater freedom for the big teams will entice them to sign up soon, even though recent cost-cutting moves were widely welcomed.
"Whether they will commit to that I don't know. Getting them to agree on anything has always been the problem," Ecclestone said.
"But if they did it would prevent the kind of thing we have seen with Honda because we could sue the arse off them if they left. They wouldn't like that."
Despite his recent suggestions to improve the sport, however, including his rejected 'medals' scoring system, Ecclestone insists he is not interested in succeeding Max Mosley as FIA president.
|Ecclestone, right, is willing to make a deal with the manufacturers in return for their long-term commitment to the sport|
"Max doesn't get paid. Even if they paid me 10 times what I earn now I wouldn't do it," he laughed.01/25/09 Bernie Ecclestone has proposed giving manufacturers greater financial freedom in return for making a long-term commitment to Formula 1.
The emphasis in recent months has been on reducing F1 teams’ exorbitant outlays – a drive instigated by the governing FIA but, following Honda’s demise and the global slump in car sales, now enthusiastically supported by the manufacturers themselves, who framed many of the recently adopted cost-cutting rules.
But behind this broad agreement there have been tensions with the FIA about both the necessary scale of cost reduction and the most appropriate measures, with the manufacturers only seeing off the threat of standard engines by promising to supply drive trains cheaply to independent teams. zzzz
Having spent the past week resisting mounting pressure from the teams to give them a greater share of F1’s lucrative commercial revenues, Ecclestone is now keen to strike a new bargain with the sport’s high-spending manufacturers.
“If the manufacturers are prepared to make a long-term commitment, say seven to 10 years, we should let them spend what they want to spend, providing they supply engines and gearboxes at an affordable price,” Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph.
Ecclestone says securing such a commitment from the car companies would lock them into the sport and prevent further sudden withdrawals.
“It would prevent the kind of thing we have seen with Honda because we could sue the arse off them if they left,” he said.
“They wouldn’t like that.”
But he admits his chances of persuading the manufacturers to make a cast-iron commitment are questionable.
“Whether they will commit to that I don’t know,” he said.
“Getting them to agree on anything has always been the problem.” ITV/F1