Formula One’s cash-strapped smaller teams could boycott Sunday’s US Grand Prix unless their complaints about division of revenues are heard, Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley said Saturday. “Nothing is off the table at this point,” he said.
“Everything and anything is possible. The team owners need themselves to sit down and decide what actions they want to take and then make sure everybody is informed properly,” added the Briton.
Force India, Sauber and Lotus have all had financial troubles and their bosses have urged bigger teams to create a more level playing field by ensuring all have the means to compete. The talk, which is becoming increasingly militant, comes after the indebted Caterham and Marussia teams collapsed into administration.
That has left just nine teams in Austin with the risk of more falling by the wayside and revived debate about how a sport that makes more than $1.5 billion in annual revenues cannot ensure 11 teams have enough to stay afloat. With an engine supply costing $30 million, smaller teams argue that there should be a minimum guaranteed budget provided to all.
Formula One’s commercial ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone warned the sport’s financial crisis could reduce the grid to 14 cars in 2015. “It could go down to 14,” said Ecclestone. “If we lose another two teams that is what will happen. I can’t predict if it won’t or it will, but if it is 18 (that’s) no drama at all.”
He added he was more concerned at the current V6 turbo engines and said they should be removed. “We need to change the regulations. Get rid of these engines because they don’t do anything for anyone. They are not Formula One.”