Mallya hits out at Haas

02/06/2017
NEWS STORY

At a time Formula One's new owners are seeking to level the on-track playing field by changing the way the prize pot is divided, doing away with the various historic bonuses and attempting to give everyone a more equal share, there were raised eyebrows when Gene Haas dismissed it as a "socialistic move".

The American believes that teams who have been in the sport for longer should receive more as should those teams enjoying the most success.

Vijay Mallya, whose team enjoys no such bonuses and has, along with Sauber, gone to the European Commission calling on it to investigate the sport, was shocked by Haas' comments suggesting that perhaps (engine supplier) Ferrari played a part.

"I find it actually disappointing that such a new entrant in F1, who has no previous experience of owning an F1 team, makes such a profound statement," he told Motorsport.com. "Anybody looking at the income distribution pattern of F1 will immediately, without even being prompted, realise how lopsided it all is.

"Clearly the DNA of F1 must include independent teams, not just manufacturer teams," he continued. "And independent teams need to be able to be financially viable and able to compete. So I was particularly happy when Liberty Media and Chase Carey effectively said that what Force India has been pleading for a while now, that the income distribution needs to be revisited, and adjusted to be fair to the smaller teams as well.

"For Haas to make such a profound statement, I obviously found that to be disappointing," he admitted.

Indeed, Mallya is hopeful that changes might be made before the current Concorde Agreement ends in 2020.

"I see no reason why it won't happen before 2020," he said. "I've read that Chase doesn't like the so-called Concorde Agreement, which in his view should never have existed. I think he's made it clear that the independent arrangements that various teams made with Bernie were not good for the sport, and actually prevented a level and competitive field.

"I was encouraged to hear FOM, for the very first time, speak my language," he admitted. "This is not something that we've just been saying now, we've been saying it for years.

"I was very pleased to hear Chase support our view, and equally disappointed to see that one of the participating teams held an almost opposite view. It's pretty obvious from the Haas car that they are more than just associated with Ferrari."

Other than money, Mallya is also delighted by FOM's desire to level the playing field on-track.

"It was music to my ears when Chase basically said that money cannot buy performance, and that everybody should have a level playing field. Unfortunately it now it shows very clearly that competitiveness at the front end of the grid really is about how much you spend.

"They need to even that out, they have publicly said it, that money shouldn't be able to buy performance, or affect the competitive advantage of any team on the grid. That's something I haven't heard for a long time, and I'm delighted to hear it now. It's all a question of how quickly they get their act together.

"In addition to all this, we've spoken at length about resource restriction or a spending cap. We've been speaking about this for years. Now Liberty seems to be talking the same language, which is great.

"It can only be good for F1," he insisted, "it can only be good for teams like Force India. If we have a resource cap on one side where teams are prevented from spending unlimited amounts of money, and we have better income distribution on the other side - not only by balancing the mathematical calculation itself, or the income distribution policy, but more income through increased revenues - all this is fantastic. I've waited ten years for it."

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Published: 02/06/2017
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