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Mallya fearful of rising costs

NEWS STORY
30/05/2013

Force India team principal and managing director, Vijay Mallya, admits concern that F1 is returning to the days of a spending free for all.

Last week, McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh warned that the sport is facing a crisis with as many as seven team at risk as spending rises, a situation made worse by the introduction of an entirely new formula for 2014.

At the same time, Force India's Bob Fernley, also fearful for the sport's future, claimed that current owners CVC are the worst thing to have happened to the sport.

His own business finances very much in the spotlight, Mallya, is concerned that without visible leadership, a couple of the existing teams are involved in a spending race that will ultimately force their rivals out of the sport.

"On one hand the FIA and FOTA - when it existed in full strength - had resolved that we need to reduce the costs of Formula One," he told the official F1 website. "But rather than reducing costs, one or two teams have decided winning at any cost is more important than the sustainability of the sport, so there is no resource restriction that is implemented, quite contrary to the fact that costs are going up.

"Whether it is the commercial rights holder, the FIA, or the teams themselves, I think it is very necessary that all the important stakeholders sit across the table and find a viable solution," he warned. "If you only want three or four teams in Formula One running three cars each you should proceed in the way it is now. But I think Formula One also needs the smaller independent teams as well, so everybody must also look at the common interests - not only the individual interests."

"Formula One works best in a crisis but it is a shame that we have to create a crisis to deal with," Whitmarsh told the Guardian last week. "This sport needs 10 or 11 teams and we should fight to keep the 11 teams we have now. But we are not good at doing these things. We seem to drop the ball. I fear that we will have a crisis and then we will have to get real and sort it out.

Referring to the seven teams he fears might not survive, he added: "I cannot see in their shoes how you can construct a sustainable business model.

"What is frightening is that we have adopted important new engine regulations,” he added. “They are the right thing to do in many regards. They are technologically interesting and relevant to society. But F1 badly mismanaged the cost of the development and supply of those new power plants. We allowed the engineers to be unfettered in dreaming up the regulations, which means teams are now facing big bills. We got costs down to £10m and now we are talking about double that. That is with all the other cost challenges we have.

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