Gene Haas against ‘socialist’ pay-out structure in F1

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Gene Haas does not believe that Formula 1 should employ a “socialist” pay-out structure to teams, believing that the front-runners should be rewarded with a bigger slice of the sport’s revenue.

F1’s prize money distribution has been widely debated for a number of years, with new owner Liberty Media set to review how much of the sport’s revenue is paid back to teams upon the expiration of the current commercial agreement in 2020.

Smaller privateer teams have long craved a greater pay-out that is more comparable to what the bigger manufacturer operations receive.

Despite not being entitled to any prize money pay-out until his team’s third season, Haas is wary of making things too even through the grid, saying that top-line squads should still be rewarded for their success on-track.

“I think we just have to be very very careful in how you redistribute the wealth because there are some teams at the top that have spent 50 years doing this, that have earned some entitlement to how the costs are distributed,” Haas said.

“I’m not saying that the teams at the bottom don’t deserve more, but I’m still saying teams at the top deserve more. You can’t just arbitrarily redistribute that because quite frankly winning races should come with rewards and it should not be a socialistic type structure.”

Haas went on to draw comparison to financial challenges that are being faced across global motorsports, including in NASCAR, where he is co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing.

“Other than that, everything else is open to negotiation but I think in racing, even in NASCAR we’re having struggles with that,” Haas said.

“The team owners are typically on the bottom rung of the income stream and they’re struggling. It’s been very very difficult in NASCAR.

“I think to some degree that teams that rely on sponsorship are starting to find it’s very very difficult to attract a major sponsor. A $25m sponsor is a huge sponsor. Today, that is practically non-existent.

“Most of the sponsors – at least I know from NASCAR, they’re more in the $5m to $10m range and you have to have multiple sponsors on your cars at different races. There’s some adaptability to that but at the same time there’s a lot of demand from media.

“So how that money gets redistributed seems to be the question, but unfortunately the teams don’t have a real strong position there to speak up about how it will get distributed, because we don’t own Formula 1.”