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F1 owners deny they are “raping the sport”

May 27, 2013, 9:01 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Practice Getty Images

F1 owners CVC Capital Partners have responded to a furious attack from Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley.

During the Monaco Grand Prix weekend Fernley told The Sunday Times CVC “have raped the sport” and “done an absolutely awful job”.

Fernley questioned whether the economic conditions for smaller teams were deliberately being made unfavorable to hasten the introduction of customer cars, something Bernie Ecclestone is strongly in favor of.

Fernley added Force India support Williams team owner Frank Williams’ opposition to customer cars:

“It’s not just Frank. Once you bring in ‘customer teams’ you’ve lost the identity of Formula One. And you as a team have lost your identity. So you’re now just an appendage.

“There are four teams that have been given special privilege and those four teams would be the ones that are likely to supply the customer teams. So everything is now moving in the way of the four teams.”

However Fernley apologized for the harshness of his criticism following a discussion with CVC co-founder Donald Mackenzie.

“He said sorry, that he didn’t mean what he said, that he just wanted to get a headline,” said Mackenzie.

“I appreciate Bob and the middle-sized teams – and the smaller teams – have a tough job. They always have. Naturally, they are worried about next year with the new engines, plus other costs, and they think it unfair the big teams get more money.

“But that’s how it is. It’s a championship where you get paid more if you do well.”

Mackenzie added: “The teams get 65 per cent of the profits, we get 35 per cent, and we don’t take the money out of the company, so we are not taking it out of the sport. That’s incorrect.”

“As for engine costs, that’s not a CVC decision, it’s not a Bernie decision.”

  1. NotoriousKDV - May 27, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    I feel for the smaller teams, I really do, but it’s not like F1 is the way it used to be when it was Ferrari and McLaren and everyone else. Teams like Red Bull and Mercedes and Lotus have done a great job of building their programs. I mean Red Bull wasn’t always Red Bull. I believe they bought the old Jaguar team which was a mid pack at best team and turned it into a dominant team in a very short amount of time. Mercedes wasn’t always Mercedes. Of course it wasn’t even Mercedes when Jenson Button won a championship there but the point is, it’s not like that team has been on top for a long time like Ferrari and McLaren have been.

    While F1 still doesn’t appear to be as competitive as NASCAR and even Indycar, it’s still more competitive than it’s been in a long time so the people running F1 must be doing something right. My message to the mid-sized and small teams would be to figure out how to mimic what teams like Red Bull and Mercedes and Lotus have done. Obviously that means finding more sponsorship money and bigger investors than what they have now but that’s just the way it is. It’s the way the game is played in F1 and if you really feel like remaining a part of it then you have to do a better job of playing the game instead of crying about the big teams.

  2. thenicklemansbrothera - May 29, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    The costs of the V6 engine will drive some of the smaller groups out of F1. To go from $10. million to $30. million for engines will break them. Lotus lost $72 million euro last year and haven’t signed for drivers or engines yet for next year. Might not be able to raise the money. Lotus group stopped supporting the team so there goes another $30 million.

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