CVC accused of 'raping' Formula One
Bob Fernley, the deputy team principal at Force India, has launched a stinging attack on CVC Capital Partners, the City-based private equity group that owns F1, accusing them of "raping the sport".
It is estimated CVC may have made as much as £4 billion from Formula One and has been taking about half of its annual income since buying the commercial rights in 2006.
"CVC have done an absolutely awful job," Fernley told the Sunday Times. "They are the worst thing that has ever happened to Formula One. They have done nothing for the sport and now they are packaging it up to try and offload it to some unsuspecting investors."
Fernley's comments come in the light of reports that Formula One faces massive increases in running costs in the coming years, with the bulk being passed on to teams who are already financially challenged.
CVC has declined to comment officially but Donald Mackenzie, CVC's co-founder, told the Press Association that his company was not to blame for F1's cash problems.
"I appreciate Bob and the middle-sized teams, and the smaller teams, have a tough job, they always have," Mackenzie said after a discussion with Fernley. "The honest answer is the teams need to solve the problem themselves. It is not about how much money we give them, it is about how much they spend.
"As far as we are concerned, the most important message is we do not take money out of the sport. We are not the bad guys. We care about this sport.
"The teams get 65% of the profits, we get 35% and we don't take the money out of the company, so we are not taking it out of the sport. That's incorrect."