Small teams call for Abu Dhabi meeting over 2-tier format

The quest for equity continues as the smaller teams in Formula 1 have asked Formula One Management and all teams to gather in Abu Dhabi for a meeting to discuss the re-distribution of the prize money.

In a letter shared by AUTOSPORT, Force India boss, Bob Fernley, has asked that the teams and F1 gather together to address the current financial situation. The concept of a new, more equitable distribution of the prize money is what the small teams are after and they reckon this will offset the much higher costs the new hybrid engine has brought to the F1 equation.

The top teams have had no interest in re-distributing the prize money which would allow for a smaller share for themselves and have insinuated that perhaps customer cars or a Super GP2 car format would be more to the small teams liking given their smaller budgets but Fernley said:

“However, after our meeting in Brazil we clearly see the direction of Formula 1 towards customer cars/super GP2.

“Due to the lack of interest in pursuing this target we then addressed the distribution of income as a way to absorb the higher costs.”

Bob’s recap of the Brazilian GP meeting offers some insight into what the content of that meeting was about and it does seem that a two-tier F1 could be one way forward—a seriously difficult discussion, no doubt.

In closing, Bob said:

“The issues we are facing are related to financial matters which can only be resolved by financial measures,” Fernley wrote.

“In our common interest and for a sustainable future of the sport, we request you, together with the other stakeholders, to implement a more equitable distribution.

“I would respectfully urge you to spare time over the weekend to meet with Monisha [Kaltenborn], Vijay [Mallya], Gerard [Lopez] and myself to find an equitable solution to the distribution of FOM funds with a view to presenting a proposal and reaching a consensus with all the stakeholders.”

So we are at a real crossroads of sort in F1 where the technology has become ultra-expensive in order to move in a direction the FIA and top teams want to move. This is orphaning the small teams that do not have the budget to participate at this level.

Seeking those who can afford the technological step F1 has taken does carry some risk. You’ll recall that former FIA president Max Mosley was very concerned about having a sport with works teams only. He felt that manufacturers were fickle and could pack and leave at any time and stability was gained through a combination of works and privateers. Perhaps that is becoming untenable these days?


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