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.”

IndyCar’s season finale at St. Pete approved to have 20,000 fans

IndyCar St. Pete fans
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ season finale will be permitted up to 20,000 fans, making the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg possibly the circuit’s most well-attended race of 2020. The race originally was scheduled as the season opener before being moved to Oct. 25 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

IndyCar has enjoyed limited crowds at Road America, Iowa Speedway, Gateway, Mid-Ohio and this weekend’s doubleheader races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which could have up to 10,000 fans in attendance. That had been the largest maximum grandstand crowd for an IndyCar race this season.

At a St. Petersburg city council meeting Thursday, Mayor Rick Kriseman approved plans by race organizers Green Savoree Racing Promotions to hold the Oct. 23-25 weekend for the IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Pete with 20,000 fans who would follow health and safety protocols that include mandatory temperature checks and masks.

 “My thanks to Green Savoree Racing Promotions and IndyCar for their flexibility and resilience during this challenging time,” Kriseman said in a release. “I know that everyone is excited to get back on the track in St. Pete. I can’t wait for Oct. 23rd. I know everyone will embrace this race the St. Pete way, adhering to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Let’s have some great racing in the Sunshine City.”

Paddock and the pit lane will remain closed to spectators, and social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed on site.

“Our entire team greatly appreciates the patience and understanding of our ticket holders as we worked through this process with Mayor Kriseman, City Council and local health officials,” Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Promotions. “It’s important for everyone who attends to read and follow all the COVID-19 protocols to contribute to a fun, safe and successful event for us all.”

“The ongoing guidance and support of Mayor Kriseman, City Council, and the City of St. Petersburg’s event team have been phenomenal,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of Green Savoree Promotions. “We also would not be in this position to move this spring tradition to fall without Firestone’s unwavering commitment and dedication. It’s going to be a terrific weekend again in downtown St. Pete in three weeks featuring world-class racing from INDYCAR.”