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.
As I said at the top of FP3… F1 is awaiting its Boston Tea Party. The ships are making their way into port. Revolution is on the way.
— Will Buxton (@willbuxton) November 1, 2014
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.