Ecclestone proposing 15m customer cars

08/03/2015
NEWS STORY

Just days ahead of the start of the new season, Bernie Ecclestone is proposing 15m customer car packages for "smaller" teams.

Whilst, contrary to how things looked just a few weeks back, Manor appears set to line up on the grid in Melbourne, few would want to take as punt on its long term future, Stephen Fitzpatrick making it clear that his pockets are only so deep. Then there's Sauber, Force India and Lotus, each with its own problems and each requiring a pre-season 'sub' from F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

The ever widening divide between the sport's haves and have-nots has already been well documented, as have all previous attempts to at least narrow it.

The latest idea from Bernie Ecclestone is aimed at making F1 racing affordable, however, as with most of his ideas - other than the ulterior motive - it remains to be seen how it is greeted by the teams and the fans.

His plan is to provide the "smaller" teams with two customer chassis at a cost of 15m, which would be taken from their prize money, leaving them, he claims, with around 35m together with whatever they bring in from sponsors and pay drivers. He is talking of Renault or Cosworth supplying the power units.

"Some of the other teams are saying, 'Well, this isn't Formula One, this would be downgrading Formula One'," her told the Daily Mail. "I can't see that. I'd call these four or five teams that we supplied chassis to the 'Team Championship'. They would all be in the Team Championship but they wouldn't be able to win the Constructors' Championship.

"To all intents and purposes, nobody would ever know," he continued. "The public would never know. It would not alter the way they see the races. It wouldn't change the spectacle. It would just mean that instead of incurring big losses, these teams would be able to make a profit.

"I have come up with something that could make a difference between the people that don't have to worry about spending and those that do. But the bigger teams say it's downgrading. They have been living in a very rich area and they think this would be like living in a poorer neighbourhood. So they don't want to be associated with it.

"When I ran Brabham in the seventies, it was on a 'Be reasonable, do it my way' dictatorship system," he continued. "We were racers and we found the money to keep ourselves going. There were always the haves and the have-nots and there was always Ferrari with a lot more money. Nowadays, there is a big difference. There are teams that spend maybe 500m a season and other people that are trying to work with a 120m budget, which is still too much. The regulations don't hurt the people that can spend but hurt the people who are trying to put a team together.

"When you consider teams take maybe 120 people to race two cars and spend up to half a billion pounds to be there, it's not too logical. The Mercedes unit that they take to races and put in the paddock, it takes 24 trucks to carry the parts to assemble it. The FIA believes it keeps the world alive because F1 cars don't use any fuel. Not true. They use a few per cent less than a normal engine. But some teams have 24 trucks to build their motorhomes, which use a lot of fuel. So it is all nonsense. It is all complete hypocrisy, which upsets me. It is complete stupidity.

"Everyone has got their corner they want to fight for. The FIA want to be green, the teams are split on what they want to do and we want to make sure the championship is successful. We are in the entertainment business."

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Published: 08/03/2015
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