That or he really is tried of spending extra money trying to keep HRT and Virgin on the grid. Here’s what he told the Telegraph:
â€œBut I would not be surprised if one or two of them did not make the end of the season. I think there are a couple of teams in Formula One who really shouldnâ€™t be there. They are a bit out of their depth at the moment.â€
Ecclestone said he was not worried about a lack of teams on the grid next year. F1â€™s governing body, the FIA, is taking applications for a 13th entry to supplement the present 12 teams, but Ecclestone says 10 is all that is needed.
â€œAll we ever want is 10 teams,â€ he said. â€œLotus is a good name. I wouldnâ€™t want to lose them. But in general this year has been a bit of a nuisance because it has cost money to keep these [struggling] teams in. It has cost a lot of money to pay for them to compete.
“The bottom line is they havenâ€™t really and truly given us value for being there. If suddenly these teams donâ€™t turn up at races then I donâ€™t think the crowds will get any smaller, or the TV sets will turn off, or the newspapers will stop writing, will they?â€
Now, according to the story, other teams — Renault, as noted here, and Williams — are facing their own issues. The WIlliams piece is especially interesting/troubling given that team’s history. Apparently, a number of major sponsors for the team are coming to the end of their contracts and have yet to re-sign, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is not expected back, and Philips and Air Asia. Even if those two return, it is safe to assume it will be for significantly less money.
What it all amounts to is the fact that the economic downturn continues, but even if the world economy were rebounding more quickly, things won’t be back to the heady days when current sponsorship deals were made. And so there is a money crunch looming.
And we all know that makes Bernie mad.
It also would give me pause if I were among those seeking that 13th — well, maybe 11th — spot on the grid for next year.