Formula One is damaging its image by failing to address the reasons why teams like Marussia and Caterham have found themselves in financial trouble, according to Sauber’s team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.
Speaking during today’s press conference Kaltenborn said the absence of the two teams this weekend, which has left F1 with just nine teams participating, should serve as the final warning to the sport.
“If we don’t act now together then you have to ask yourself what else needs to still happen,” said Kaltenborn.
“You look at simply the facts, we are the sport here, we are still one of the best global sporting platforms. We have turnovers of billions of dollars and the sport as such, together with the stakeholders, are not in a position to actually maintain eleven teams.”
“You really have to ask yourself what is being done to the sport here?” Kaltenborn continued. “We are sending out messages where fans are being involved in topics they really don’t want to talk about.”
“They should be talking about the excellent races we have, what a great experience it is to come here, but yet they are discussing financials, costs, teams going into administration. That’s a very bad image we are creating to the outside where new partners are going out and saying do they really want to enter this kind of a sport with all these troubles which are normally not meant to be in sport, but into other economic areas.”
Kaltenborn urged those in charge to avoid introducing further costly changes in the technical rules and change how revenue is distributed in the sport, which is currently skewed in favour of the richest teams.
“We need to look into the equitable sharing of the income we have so that you can really maintain more teams than just the big ones,” she said.
“And we also need to see on the technical side that there’s a certain stability and continuity there. Because you often hear from bigger teams that they say ‘well, whatever we agreed has always led to more cost’, then you should first of all see who’s agreed to it. And it’s usually the high end [teams]. So everything’s lined there but it’s high time that we take some action now.”
Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya agreed: “I have been very vocal about this. I have said that you can’t have Formula One with only manufacturer teams. You need smaller teams. It’s part of the DNA of Formula One, for several decades.”
“The FIA on one hand and the commercial rights holder on the other must both work closely to ensure that it is viable and sustainable going forward.”
We’ve talked about cost caps a number of times and finally I think the large teams, manufacturer teams, were oppose to it. But I think that was a good initiative that didn’t quite see the light of day, to make any meaningful difference.
“And on the other hand as far as the revenue share is concerned I think this probably is a unique sport where the participating teams get the least amount of revenue as compared to the income and if you compare it to any other sporting activity globally we unfortunately are at the rough end.
“So I’m very sad that two teams are no longer with us on the grid here in Austin. And I think such things should not be allowed to happen, that’s my firm view.”
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Image © Caterham/LAT