Whitmarsh Says Seven Out Of 11 F1 Teams Struggle Financially
Ecclestone: The teams have more money than God
There "have been whispers" in recent years in F1 that "all was not well financially with some of the teams," according to Andrew Benson of the BBC. One of the most senior figures in the sport has finally "put a public voice to them." McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh said "of the 11 teams, seven of them are in survival strategy."
Whitmarsh "is not just shooting from the hip." As F1 Teams' Association chairman, he "is well-placed to know what he is talking about." The evidence is out there, despite F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone's claim last week that teams "all have more money than God."
There "does not appear to be an immediate danger, but signs of trouble are plain to see." Marussia and Caterham, the two teams at the back now that HRT has gone, "have chosen to replace experienced drivers who command a salary with novice 'pay-drivers' who bring much-needed sponsorship income with them."
It should also "have escaped no-one's attention that the airline business of part-owner Vijay Mallya is in serious trouble," although Mallya has long insisted that the Force India F1 team "is a separate business and therefore unaffected."
Last year, "there were even problems at Lotus," which finished fourth in the constructors' championship. The fundamental causes of the problem "are both simple and complex."
Firstly, the world "is still battling with the economic problems caused by the banking crisis" of '08. F1 "is not immune." That is "the simple part." Now "for the complicated bit." For many years now, the teams "have been battling to get a bigger share of F1's income," which in '11 was about £963M. Until recently, the teams "collectively received 47% of the total revenues, on a sliding scale from Ferrari down to the least successful team."
But still there "is resentment at how much money F1's commercial rights holder, the venture capital group CVC, is taking out of the sport." Whitmarsh said: "Bernie has done a fantastic job for the owners. We can criticize him, but he's doing a better job than we are. He's keeping the money on behalf of his employers." BBC
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