Pressure grows on small teams with planned prize fund change

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Formula One’s smallest teams are to be put under even greater financial pressure as Bernie Ecclestone plans changes to how prize money is allocated.

Ecclestone plans to abolish the $10m payment made from the $698.5m prize fund to teams which finish outside the top ten in the points standings.

The payment was introduced at the end of 2009 when F1 sought new entries to the championship as BMW and Toyota left the sport.

Of the four new teams whose entries were accepted for 2010 one, US F1, failed to even start a race. HRT collapsed last winter and Marussia, who finished 11th last year, has not been offered a commercial agreement to remain in F1.

“They don’t have a commercial agreement because they are not in the top ten,” Ecclestone told The Telegraph. “We pay the top ten, that’s what we do. For three years we did something different because we had an agreement with [former FIA president] Max [Mosley] but from now on we will pay the top ten and that is it.”

Without Marussia the F1 grid could shrink to just ten teams fielding two cars each.

The move comes as Ecclestone prepares to float Formula One on the Singapore stock market this year. “It will happen this year and it will be up and running,” said Ecclestone.

“[F1 owner] CVC is getting on with it and putting all the bits and pieces together that they have to.”

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)