Ecclestone: F1 financial crisis is probably my fault

5 Comments

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that the current financial crisis being faced by the sport has been self-induced by the leading powers in charge, and that changes need to be made.

However, he is unsure what can be done to fix the problems that saw Caterham and Marussia fall into administration ahead of this weekend’s United States Grand Prix, leaving just nine teams and 18 cars on the grid.

There was a threat of a possible boycott from Sauber, Lotus and Force India – three teams facing financial difficulties at this time – for this weekend’s race, and although this has since faded, Ecclestone still said that changes must be made to prevent more teams from fading.

“The problem is there is too much money probably being distributed badly, probably my fault,” Ecclestone told media in Austin on Saturday. “But like lots of agreements people make, they seemed a good idea at the time.

“We have to open the eyes of those people in a position to turn the lights on and off to what they need to do. I wouldn’t want to be in a position where I was too strong, F1 disappears and someone says it is because of you it disappeared.”

Ecclestone said that a fairer distribution of revenue could be an option, but he is unsure of what the best way to fix the problem.

“I said to people getting a chunk of money that I would like to take a percentage of their performance-related payment,” Ecclestone said. “I would put that money together to divide among the three or four we know are in trouble but are not going to run away with the money, and then I will put in the same amount of money.

“We have to decide the best way to sort this whole thing out. Frankly, I know what’s wrong but don’t know how to fix it. No-one is prepared to do anything about it because they can’t. The regulations have tied us up.

“I think the situation is such that if enough people want it resolved, we can resolve it. It’s a case of the people that are involved in the sport will have to want to look after the sport and be prepared to make some sacrifices.

“I would tear all the contracts up. Take all the money, pay all the teams’ debts that should be paid so people haven’t suffered because of Formula 1.”

So we will see 18 cars on the grid in Austin as planned, which is good. However, the winds of change are certainly blowing, as put perfectly by NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

The bottom line is that more teams cannot be lost from F1. Marussia and Caterham were big casualties, but the threat of a boycott from Lotus, Force India and Sauber appears to have finally stirred Ecclestone into looking for change and putting pressure on the teams at the very top of the sport to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

NBC/NBCSN SCHEDULE FROM UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
James Gilbert/Getty Images
0 Comments

Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.