Losing two teams ‘very bad for F1’s image’

2014 United States Grand Prix

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Formula One is damaging its image by failing to address the reasons why teams like Marussia and Caterham have found themselves in financial trouble, according to Sauber’s team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.

Speaking during today’s press conference Kaltenborn said the absence of the two teams this weekend, which has left F1 with just nine teams participating, should serve as the final warning to the sport.

“If we don’t act now together then you have to ask yourself what else needs to still happen,” said Kaltenborn.

“You look at simply the facts, we are the sport here, we are still one of the best global sporting platforms. We have turnovers of billions of dollars and the sport as such, together with the stakeholders, are not in a position to actually maintain eleven teams.”

“You really have to ask yourself what is being done to the sport here?” Kaltenborn continued. “We are sending out messages where fans are being involved in topics they really don’t want to talk about.”

“They should be talking about the excellent races we have, what a great experience it is to come here, but yet they are discussing financials, costs, teams going into administration. That’s a very bad image we are creating to the outside where new partners are going out and saying do they really want to enter this kind of a sport with all these troubles which are normally not meant to be in sport, but into other economic areas.”

Kaltenborn urged those in charge to avoid introducing further costly changes in the technical rules and change how revenue is distributed in the sport, which is currently skewed in favour of the richest teams.

“We need to look into the equitable sharing of the income we have so that you can really maintain more teams than just the big ones,” she said.

“And we also need to see on the technical side that there’s a certain stability and continuity there. Because you often hear from bigger teams that they say ‘well, whatever we agreed has always led to more cost’, then you should first of all see who’s agreed to it. And it’s usually the high end [teams]. So everything’s lined there but it’s high time that we take some action now.”

Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya agreed: “I have been very vocal about this. I have said that you can’t have Formula One with only manufacturer teams. You need smaller teams. It’s part of the DNA of Formula One, for several decades.”

“The FIA on one hand and the commercial rights holder on the other must both work closely to ensure that it is viable and sustainable going forward.”

We’ve talked about cost caps a number of times and finally I think the large teams, manufacturer teams, were oppose to it. But I think that was a good initiative that didn’t quite see the light of day, to make any meaningful difference.

“And on the other hand as far as the revenue share is concerned I think this probably is a unique sport where the participating teams get the least amount of revenue as compared to the income and if you compare it to any other sporting activity globally we unfortunately are at the rough end.

“So I’m very sad that two teams are no longer with us on the grid here in Austin. And I think such things should not be allowed to happen, that’s my firm view.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Losing two teams ‘very bad for F1’s image’”

  1. Bravo. Well said.

    1. All teams should get an equal share of the prize money, with one extra ration to 1st place in the WDC. The big teams could still pull ahead in funding because of sponsorship, but at least the minnows and midfielders would not be struggling to survive. Marussia is due for a 10th place if they can survive to the end of the season, but this does not look likely. It is a shame. Here’s hoping Bernie goes off to his great reward soon so the sport can be rescued from the madness.

      1. What? No. Look, there’s no doubt that the current distribution is skewed, but to suggest that everyone from 2nd place down should receive the same prize is silly. There should be clear incentives to do well in the sport other than sponsorships. We want to encourage development throughout the season, otherwise the season will be decided within the first half of the schedule. Yes, that happens some years, but who wants to watch that year in and year out?

  2. Said it before and will say it again. If cost can’t be controlled, then try controll the income of teams. Just stop with price money and bonusses, and equal all the payment from CVC/FOM to the teams. Question is, who is actually going to make it happen.. Indeed no one, because the big and rich teams + Bernie don’t care.

  3. The phrase “its in our DNA” really starts to get me on nerves – don’t know why.

    1. It has become ubiquitous of late, hasn’t it? I mentioned it a few weeks ago:

      It’s time to define and defend the DNA of Formula One

    2. Agree. It’s just when they are lazy enough to explain it with arguments, they just say “it’s in the DNA of F1”.

  4. Like it or not, we are moving to a new era of F1 where we will have top 5 teams running four cars. And with crazy new rules to improve the show… this new reality show will be the beginning of the end for F1 as we know it.

    Opportunity for someone to come up with new series and put and end to Bernie’s monopoly.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      1st November 2014, 0:42

      But why stop at four car teams? Let’s go for 1 car supplier with 20 cars!
      And let’s get rid of the last 6 cylinders and make the cars all electric.
      And let’s make the pit stop more exciting by drivers changing cars.
      And let’s get more fan interaction by voting for a power boost.
      And let’s get rid of all historic circuits and drive in city centres.
      And let’s get all the old F1 drivers back.
      And we can call it something more contemporary, e.g. Formula E

  5. Bernie doesn’t agree, he was on SKY Sports News before saying he’d have no problem with only 8 teams starting next season and that the financial problems the smaller teams are experiencing are entirely their fault.
    In fact the only thing bothering him about F1 was the sound of the engines, everything else is fine and when asked about the current crisis he replied that he couldn’t remember a time when there wasn’t a crisis in F1.

    Effectively we have someone running the sport who thinks it’s perfectly fine for lots of the profits generated to be taken by the shareholders, for the big teams to take most of what’s left and the smaller teams to be left with less than it costs to run a team. I’m not a financial expert but even to me this appears to be a pretty poor and unsustainable business model.

  6. Let’s stop beating around the bush, Ferrari (and other top teams) may be disproportionally rewarded in comparison with the junior teams but NO TEAM gets as big a share of the revenue as FOM/Bernie/CVC whose only capitol investment in F1 is the TV recording and transmission equipment which lasts for many years without the constant development and annual replacement expense that the teams have to spend just to compete for last place on the grid.
    For the record, CVC did not invest in F1, they only purchased the rights to control F1 from Bernie, who did an insider deal with Max Mosely his ex business partner and best buddy for them, Max sold for $300m, Bernie sold for $2.5B, CVC expect to sell for $10B+ and the teams get shafted.

    1. You know what’s ironic? Back when Bernie had bought the TV rights to F1 (for a paltry $1 mil), he had offered to sell the teams a 10% stake each for $100K, & they pretty much all said no because they felt that $100K would have been better spent on making their cars faster & trying to get a competitive leg up. Talk about short sighted!
      Formula 1 teams & organizers alike have always been self serving. That’s why it took a handful of drivers to champion changes for safety back in the day. The organizers didn’t give the tiniest of rodent backsides, & the teams repeatedly compromised safety in the name of fractions of seconds in lap time. It’s not much different today. I’m 100% certain that if Honda, BMW & Toyota weren’t nso terrible at F1, they’d still be competing, & you’d never have heard a peep from them regarding costs, because lack of funding certainly wasn’t the reason they did so poorly. That’s why I don’t think it’s fair to blame their exits on money, or lack thereof. Now Caterham & Marussia are a different kettle of fish entirely… well, maybe just Marussia: I think Caterham should’ve done better with their budget, personally.
      In the same vein, if RBR were closing in on their 5th title, you wouldn’t hear all this talk about parity, evil “engine freezes” & the mythical “good of the sport”, because when they were serial winners, I distinctly remember Horner saying their obligations were to their shareholders & fans, so it wasn’t really their problem if they were winning all the time. They certainly didn’t care about the good of the sport when them & Ferrari opted out of FOTA & sought lucrative deals with Beelzebernie.
      I agree the funds could be more equitably distributed, but due to the competitive nature of the sport & the teams’ willingness to serve themselves & themselves alone, the rest is just cheap talk & wishful thinking, IMO. I don’t put much stock in what they say.

      1. Existing teams or all future teams.

      2. That’s a new story to me, source??

    2. sadly very much so @hohum. I am glad Mallya at least is not afraid to say it on record (“And on the other hand as far as the revenue share is concerned I think this probably is a unique sport where the participating teams get the least amount of revenue as compared to the income and if you compare it to any other sporting activity globally we unfortunately are at the rough end.)

  7. I have a proposal – go back to show up money. Many years ago, when track owners held races to make money, they would pay teams who started races a fee just for showing up. FOM could do this one of two ways, either pay a flat fee to every team that qualifies for a race, or a higher fee at every race for every team with a budget less than say, 100 million (dollars, euros, pounds or what have you). An extra 18-20 million would not hurt the big teams, but could be a lifesaver for the smaller teams, especially as it would be guaranteed income over the season. Thoughts?

    1. A nice thought, but where would the money come from? Certainly not from FOM :(

    2. This is actually how the distribution works, although not exactly equally.

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