Surviving in F1


Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
With Caterham and Marrussia's departure into administration. HRT going the same way in 2012 and a great catalogue of others such as BMW, Honda, Toyota, Super Aguri, Virgin and Minardi (as a small sample) all going the same way, it is time to stop and look at the big picture. Most have all left F1 for one basic reason. It's too expensive.

So with Sauber, Force India and Lotus also in real financial difficulties and contemplating a protest boycott of the US GP, I have been thinking.

In my opinion what is need here is deceptively simple. 1 act of good will to fix what is currently broken, and 2 changes to the rules / regulations, which will see F1 prosper for the future.

- The act of good will:
Bernie and the top teams to pay off Marrussia and Caterhams debts so they get back in F1. 18 cars isn't enough and the amount of money we are talking about, around £60 million in total, is pocket change to Bernie, Ferrari, Redbull and Mercedes.
But why should they pay to save failed teams I hear you ask. Because they are in part to blame for that failure. Through the pricing structure, blocking budget caps and refusing them a voice and a vote on rules and regulations, they have brought about the demise of HRT,Caterham and Marrussia who at the time of joining F1 were promised that budget caps would be in place. The top teams all voted against the cap, and now the 3 newest teams have been killed off.
In my opinion it is their duty to make good on their mistakes.

- Rule change 1
All teams to be given a vote and voice in writing the rules and regulations no matter when they joined F1. If you race you have a say.
I really do find it mind numbing as to why this isn't the case already. It is again about the top teams looking after number 1 rather than looking after the sport as a whole.

- Rule change 2
Fair money distribution. Martin Brundle stated that the current constructors prize fund is around 900 million US dollars. It is thought that Caterham and Marrussia were operating on around $60 million per year. For next year the bellow could be brought in. Resulting in only a 50% cut in funding from the fastest to the slowest. This is how I would distribute the $900 million between the constructors.


You will of worked out that 7% of 900 million is $63 million. Or to put it another way, the entire operating budget of the bottom teams. With that sort of money added to their own budget they would not just be surviving, but competing.

If Haas and Audi make it to the grid in 2016 then that distribution would need revised again but with the key feature that from first to last funding is not less than 50%.

I can't believe the top teams will agree to this as it would simply cost them too much money and impact on their domination. So what is needed is some sort of 'emergency powers' where changes are forced through by Bernie, CVC and Jean Todt 'for the good of the sport'. The new terms are handed to the teams where they are told to accept them or leave and race elsewhere.

It is a risk and a few teams may indeed leave but at the same time it would attract a huge amount of new interest.

In my opinion implementing the above would result in a much fairer F1 with more teams, more drivers and much closer racing.
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Bernie has said if the teams are willing to renegotiate there contracts and make some sacrifices to allow fairer distribution he'll do the same. That's a big IF though.

Horner's been fairly vocal, perhaps Red Bull could lead the way....
And I dare say Ferrari will threaten to leave.
The fact that all the teams are not involved in making rules has nothing to do with finance and everything to do with the preservation of self interest. If any of the excluded teams chose to challenge that in court (especially in the EU) it would be dropped in about ten seconds as a restrictive practice.

The trouble is, no one wants to rock the boat that hard as they all live in fear of losing everything.

Now here's an interesting turn up for the books.

Bernie's boss apparently stepped in to calm the waters. Yes, we tend to forget that Ecclestone actually has a boss these days. Maybe, just maybe this marks the beginning of the end.

For all their siphoning off of money from the sport, the goose can't go on laying golden eggs unless it's fit and healthy. Bernie may not give a shit but perhaps CVC have finally realized that without a healthy sport they'll get nothing and worse still, it's too expensive to off load.
Just read the same on sky. Giving the 3 teams currently at the back more cash is great but what about the two teams who need the money the most right now. If Marussia survive their administration period a share of that proposed 100m would make a colossal difference to them.

Why has it taken the collapse of two teams to make CVC spring into action or was it Bernies contempt for the smaller teams which denied any bail out package until it was too late for Marussia & Caterham.
I firmly believe that Bernie's uppance has finally come. His continual wooing of the money men, has lead to the present situation and it has reached the point where the board at CVC has reached the conclusion that more harm than good is being done to F1 pursuing this policy.

Yes the sport needs big names to attract the cash but it also needs the plucky little guys to create a fully rounded sport. It would be as if the Premier league decided they could do without all but the top four richest teams. While that may appeal to fans of Man City and Chelsea, the entertainment value would last about half an hour before everyone got board.

I wonder how long Bernie has got left at the helm now? Or will the bugger bounce back again?
I don't understand why the sport hands out the largest amount of cash to the corporate teams, in the first place, are they so greedy that they won't race unless someone pays them to do it.
According to the above article Ferrari get a £160 million payment, to Marussia's £10 million. Why?
Don't they realise that we would rather see more competitive teams throughout the grid, or do they think we only want to see a dominant Ferrari? I know that Ferrari think that, their powers of persuasion must be phenomenal, or else they have hypnotised FIA(CVC) and Bernie, into believing it.
It's all to do with marketability.

You look at the business model of the premier league to have an idea on how it works. People want to see the best teams play so in turn sky show more coverage of the top 4 teams than any other. As they get more coverage they then receive more money from sky.

F1 is similar, most fans don't want to see the teams at the back, they want to see the top teams and the ones that they are lifelong supporters of. Ferrari have the biggest fan base globally out of any of the teams and its the fans paying the money which the sport needs to survive.
F1Yorkshire that's absolutley true in relation to the premiership however, the Premier league as the commercial rights holder and promotor of the sport ensures that the money they distribute is a great deal more fair than that distrubuted by FOM to their teams. While agree that the sky money goes to where the viewers are, the Premiership money is distributed down such that the top team only gets 1 1/2 times more than the bottom team. This ensures a good base line of funds for all who praticipate. Compare that to F1 and the ratio is nowhere near as close. Even if you recalculated the ratio in football I bet it's nowhere near as bad as it is in F1.
The top teams didn't promise the new teams a budget cap, Mosley did, but Max wasn't in a position to deliver. If anyone should clear the debts, maybe that's where it should start.

Marussia and Caterham are only in administration because their wealthy backers have lost interest, simple as that. Costs have increased with the new engines, of course, but this could have happened at any point in the last three or four years; those teams (and a few others) are not sustainably self-financing.

Having said that my sympathy is limited, i do agree however that the answer lies in a redistribution of income (a change in ownership of FOM seems too much to hope for). The shallow income delta suggested, with a guaranteed minimum, looks like a great idea. Unfortunately for some reason the media is fixed on third cars at the moment, which looks like a smokescreen.
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