F1 money wars set to explode

(GMM) A new row over money, with the formula one teams on one side and the sport's ruling bodies on the other, looks set to intensify.

Britain's The Guardian newspaper reports that the teams, now allied together and pledging undying unity in the FOTA alliance, are angry about the huge debts being serviced by formula one's owners CVC.

The newspaper said the more than $5 billion debts are requiring interest payments of more than $230m per year — with the teams suspecting that the FIA are in cahoots with CVC and Bernie Ecclestone amid the latest push to radically slash costs.

They are reportedly concerned that the annual debt payments total more than the commercial revenue they receive from CVC.

"We have had banks, oil companies, financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies with us as sponsors. We have raised this money. Why do we have to keep cutting costs?" a FOTA insider is quoted as saying.

"The sport earns a lot of money so let's look at our share," he added.

Ecclestone, CVC and F1's holding company Delta3 are, however, staying firm, insisting that teams receive more commercial revenue today than at any other time, even amidst a global financial crisis.

But another insider told The Guardian that the teams are keen to sit down with F1's commercial parties to renegotiate their share — also given Ecclestone's push into new markets that are willing to pay higher race sanction fees.

"(The calendar) used to be 12 races, then a maximum of 17. There used to be 80 per cent of the races in Europe and now 80 per cent are across Asia: the costs to the teams are much higher now," the insider said.

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