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Haas doubtful of equitable revenue distribution

NEWS STORY
30/05/2017

Franz Tost no doubt spoke for most teams in Monaco, when asked about Liberty Media's plans to redistribute the prize pot more evenly in an attempt to level the playing field.

"If we get more money I'm more than fine," laughed the Austrian.

However, team owner Gene Haas' response was a little puzzling. "I understand that the new owners are typically going to do what new owners do: go out and raise revenue and cut costs and that's exactly what they'll do and since we're on the cost side of it, it's a little nerve-wracking what they have in mind.

"On the other hand, F1 is kind of a crown jewel so maybe they'll tread lightly and everything will work itself out," he added.

Asked to clarify his comment about what Liberty has in mind and it being "nerve wracking", he said: "Since we're the newcomers in this business, our revenue stream from Formula One is nothing so anything we get will be greatly appreciated.

"But I think we just have to be very, very careful in how you redistribute the wealth because there are some teams at the top that have spent fifty years doing this, that have earned some entitlement to how the costs are distributed," he continued.

"I'm not saying that the teams at the bottom don't deserve more but I'm still saying teams at the top deserve more.

"You can't just arbitrarily redistribute that because quite frankly winning races should come with rewards and it should not be a socialistic type structure," he insisted. "Other than that, everything else is open to negotiation but I think in racing, even in NASCAR we're having struggles with that. The team owners are typically on the bottom rung of the income stream and they're struggling - as viewership goes down, sponsors go down.

"It's been very, very difficult in NASCAR," admitted the American whose NASCA team was also in action at the weekend, "and I think to some degree that teams that rely on sponsorship are starting to find it's very, very difficult to attract a major sponsor.

"A $25m sponsor is a huge sponsor. Today, that is practically non-existent. Most of the sponsors - at least I know from NASCAR, they're more in the $5m to $10m range and you have to have multiple sponsors on your cars at different races.

"There's some adaptability to that but at the same time there's a lot of demand from media, so how that money gets redistributed seems to be the question but unfortunately the teams don't have a real strong position there to speak up about how it will get distributed because we don't own Formula One."

Naturally, his views weren't shared by Jonathan Neale, whose McLaren team is second only to Ferrari in terms of the number of Grands Prix it has contested and is therefore the recipient of a much welcome historical bonus at a time prize money earning points appear out of the question.

"If you look back over 15 or 20 years then Formula One as an investment, as an entity, has done very well for itself," he said, "but what got us here won't get us there.

"The world is changing," he continued, "the business is changing, the nature of partnerships, commerciality is changing and I think for some time a number of us, have looked at the grid: well how many sustainable business models are there, in terms of the teams' structure, forget the FOM side of things, just the teams structure? We know that there have been pressures in that sustainability.

"I think it's a question of looking at the package as a whole and I think that's what the new owners are doing which I think is really exciting.

"I think they've got the right people - by the looks of it - around the table but if Formula One does what Formula One has historically done, which is: see the big picture and then take a very narrow fix and do one thing and then wonder why the consequences over here were not what was expected, then I think it will be extremely difficult and very challenging, but it looks to me like the whole thing has been thought out and we'll see what gets put to us.

"We're open-minded and I think generally supportive of the way that the Liberty guys and the new owners are going because we recognise that what has been has had its time."

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1. Posted by ryanhellyer, 30/05/2017 23:07

"I don't care what teams may or may not have "earned". What is important is to improve the show. Paying the winners more than the losers does not help improve the show; it has the opposite effect."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by DJ, 30/05/2017 19:22

"As Haas get their engines and gearboxes from Ferrari, it is no surprise that they support the outrageous and ridiculous percent of the prize fund that goes to Ferrari. I sincerely hope that Liberty media scrap the outdated stupidity and pay teams based on performance with some of the wealth being spread to the smaller teams.

if this upsets Ferrari and they threaten to leave, the other teams should help them pack their bags because Formula 1 is infinitely bigger than Ferrari."

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