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Bernie Ecclestone “happy” with prospect of smaller F1 grid

Jun 24, 2014, 1:37 PM EDT

Bernie Ecclestone Getty Images

As Luke Smith noted last Friday while on the ground for the Austrian Grand Prix, cost cutting remains a point of contention in the F1 garage.

While smaller squads such as Sauber insist that a cap is needed, the bigger teams with more financial resources don’t appear to be receptive to the idea.

Indeed, our man Luke wrote that Mercedes’ Toto Wolff brushed aside a question on cost cutting during a team principals’ press conference, instead focusing on the Austrian GP’s successful revival.

It also looks like F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone isn’t perturbed about reining in the spending habits of  F1 teams.

In comments to reporters over the weekend in Austria, the British billionaire said that he wouldn’t mind seeing his series’ 22-car grid shrink if some teams finally cried uncle over costs.

“In fact, I would be happy,” Ecclestone said. “It’s like a poker game. You don’t know the other players. They should not be in the game. You should not be in this business if you cannot afford it.”

Ecclestone has a point. Racing is an expensive venture as we all know. But his comments are still likely to come off as brutal to some and they’re definitely jarring to the likes of Sauber and Caterham and Marussia, who are basically being told, ‘This is survival of the fittest. Don’t expect any help.’

Going back to Ecclestone, he’s more concerned about what have become regular issues regarding the “show,” namely the noise of the V-6 engines and the enforcement of certain rules.

“It’s ridiculous what drivers are being punished for — like driving over a white line,” he said about the latter subject.

“These are all drivers who don’t need rules like that. We need rules like we had in the past.”

AUTOSPORT also adds in this bit from Ecclestone: “The stewards should be locked in their room [during the race] and take a look into any infringements after the race, not during the competition.”

  1. techmeister1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    It’s unfortunate that Sauber isn’t able to obtain the financial sponsorship they need to compete because history has shown that they are capable just like Williams of running at the front. As much as I sympathize with Sauber there isn’t going to ever be a cost cap in F1 because it does make sense for this application.

    Cost cutting in all motorsport has pretty much been a façade where those of means spend the money in other areas if there is an agreement to cut costs. As an example if wind tunnel testing or track testing is reduced then more money is spent on CFD and track simulators. You’re not going to stop those of means from trying their best to win because that is the whole point of racing. You need to be able to promote the sponsor brands. F1 is the arena where technology is developed and that is the reason why they race. F1 is the sport of (financial) Kings and always will be. The smaller teams will need to do more with less.

    I would not miss the backmarkers off the grid, who belong in GP2 instead of F1.

  2. kitnamania13 - Jun 24, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    We need more backmarker teams, not less. The sideshow act of the teams at the back is needed to keep people entertained, especially while things at the front are as they’ve been these past few years.

    Come back, HRT, Forti, Mastercard Lola, Andrea Moda, and Life. You’re the Twinkies of the dessert buffet that is Formula 1.

    • indycarseries500 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      Mastercard LOLa

    • techmeister1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM

      They have CRASHCAR for those who need a sideshow act… If F1 fans are bored with real auto racing they can always watch Rallycross. LOL

    • indycar02 - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:43 PM

      if their going to cut teams at least keep it at 22 (24!).

    • PZ - Jun 25, 2014 at 8:57 AM

      RIP Minardi

  3. kando53 - Jun 24, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    “It’s ridiculous what drivers are being punished for — like driving over a white line,” he said about the latter subject.

    “These are all drivers who don’t need rules like that. We need rules like we had in the past.”

    No, what they need is enforcement of the rules, like in the past, before they initiated that stupid ex-driver rules bending officiating.

  4. indycar02 - Jun 24, 2014 at 9:38 PM

    their should be a full field 22 or 24, BEFORE talking like this.

  5. worknman24hours - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Frankly,with Mercedes already guaranteed winning this years Drivers and Manufacturers championships,why even watch the rest of the Formula One season?

    Fifth year in a row that Formula One has been predictable.

    And as far as other racing series to watch,thanks to cable and satellite television as well as the internet,there is a whole world of quality racing that is actually racing other then predictable Formula One.

    I congratulate Mercedes for beating the crxp out of the rest of the entire field.

    Seasons over already.

    Nico’s favored because clearly he is being given at least two seconds a race in the pits over Lewis.

    Lewis now knows how Alonso felt when they drove together at McLaren.

    Sucks,don’t it,Lewis.

  6. techmeister1 - Jun 25, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    The only reason Bernie is talking thru his arse on fewer teams on the grid is because the FIA just approved Haas and another F1 entry for 2016. Thus you can expect a couple of the backmarkers will soon be gone and the new backmarkers will appear with dreams.

    As far as watching the races, it ain’t just about who wins. There is plenty of good racing throughout the field. If all you care about is who wins you’re missing out on a lot of good racing.

    As far as Mercedes is concerned Hammy gets treated the same as Nico if not better due to his chronic whining. Sure there are occasional differences in pit stops times but that happens in all teams. Massa has gotten screwed numerous times this year by Williams including the last race where they cost him P1 and a good chance for a race win. Hammy was unscrupulous when at McLaren just as he is at Mercedes. He’s not a team player, he’s just an arse clown wannabe rockstar.

  7. spa67 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    If were not going to have a cost cap then at least take the gloves off and do it right. None of this BS about homologated engine specs and components that have to last 5-10 races. Good engineering is highlighted when it’s in the context of bad engineering. I miss the KABLAMOS!

  8. hkfan5 - Jun 30, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    Let them race. Damn the cost. It will sort itself out.

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