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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.”

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