Talks fail to resolve F1 crisis

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Published: Saturday 8th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Formula One remains in a financial crisis after talks between supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the teams came to nothing.

Ecclestone spent two and a half hours discussing the two major topics that have engulfed the sport of late and are threatening civil war.

Numerous ideas were thrashed around on the subject of soaring engine costs, following the introduction this year of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units.

In replacing the old V8s, the additional financial burden has led to the smaller teams now struggling to make ends meet.

Marussia went out of business on Friday, whilst Caterham are also faced with extinction and will be on the scrapheap by next weekend if talks aimed at their salvation come to nothing.

Their demise has led to three other cash-strapped teams in Lotus, Force India and Sauber demanding a more equitable distribution of the funds handed out by CVC, F1’s commercial rights holders.

But it was glum faces that emerged from the meeting in the paddock at Interlagos ahead of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said: “Nothing was agreed on anything.

“The situation is unchanged on everything, the money side, engine side.”

Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya has confirmed Ecclestone is to now return to London to discuss the issues with Donald Mackenzie, the co-owner and co-chairman of CVC.

Asked whether the situation could be resolved before the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi from November 21-23, Mallya said: “How do we know how long this discussion with Donald is going to take?

“He just said ‘I’ll talk to Donald next week and get back to you’. That’s it.

“He at least recognises the three smallest teams require more money in one form or another.

“We presented our case and he said he’d talk to Donald and get back to us. I’ve heard this before, so the option is to wait and watch.”

There remains a small threat of the three teams opting to boycott the final race in protest at their situation.

But with double points and a lot of money up for grabs, it is unlikely they will pursue such a drastic option.

Suggested to Wolff the teams may not turn up, he said: “That is a discussion Bernie and CVC have to have with the teams who have come to see him.”

Wolff has insisted, though, they will not follow the suggestion that with the small teams asking for more money they, too, will also call for additional revenues.

Wolff said: “You need to keep Formula One in mind, and we have a responsibility to the series itself.

“You can’t have a narrow view on your own personal situation because we are all here to perform our best and generate the most outcome.

“You need to keep common sense for the general economic and commercial situation of Formula One for all the teams.”

Earlier in the day Ecclestone had made clear he was far from happy with the situation, notably because the money handed to the 11 teams last year was £832million, yet they continue to overspend.

“I don’t know what they do with their money,” said Ecclestone.

“We give the teams nearly £900million a year. We don’t spend it.

“They have a contract until 2020. They know exactly what the terms are, so they have to run their business according to their income.

“If they spend more than they get, not a good way to run a business.

“The trouble is they haven’t really understood. People want to win, all the teams here want to win. Some teams have more money and they spend it.

“When I had a race team a few years ago I used to run it according to how much money we could spend and we won the world championship.

“That’s what they don’t do. They don’t seem to understand somebody is going to be last.”

Published: Saturday 8th November 2014 by The News Editor

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