Ecclestone: F1 financial crisis is probably my fault

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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

Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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