Ecclestone still pushing customer teams plan
F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone wants to create a two tiered Formula One world championship to help avert the sport's current cost crisis.
Cost became a major issue in F1 when Caterham and Marussia went into administration in quick succession last October. At the time Ecclestone floated the idea of customer cars and he has elaborated on his ideal scenario further, saying he would charge the customer teams £15 million for a pair of chassis and a Cosworth or Renault engine. That would leave them with £35 million, not including sponsorship and other income, to spend from the money teams are paid to compete every season.
"Some of the other teams are saying, 'Well, this isn't Formula One, this would be downgrading Formula One'," Ecclestone told the Daily Mail. "I can't see that. I'd call these four or five teams that we supplied chassis to the 'Team Championship'. They would all be in the Team Championship but they wouldn't be able to win the Constructors' Championship.
"But to all intents and purposes, nobody would ever know. The public would never know. It would not alter the way they see the races. It wouldn't change the spectacle. It would just mean that instead of incurring big losses, these teams would be able to make a profit. I have come up with something that could make a difference between the people that don't have to worry about spending and those that do. But the bigger teams say it's downgrading. They have been living in a very rich area and they think this would be like living in a poorer neighbourhood. So they don't want to be associated with it."
Ecclestone says he is becoming increasingly frustrated by how teams spend money in the current climate.
"When I ran Brabham in the Seventies, it was on a 'Be reasonable, do it my way' dictatorship system. We were racers and we found the money to keep ourselves going. There were always the haves and the have-nots and there was always Ferrari with a lot more money. Nowadays, there is a big difference. There are teams that spend maybe £500 million a season and other people that are trying to work with a £120 million budget, which is still too much. The regulations don't hurt the people that can spend but hurt the people who are trying to put a team together.
"When you consider teams take maybe 120 people to race two cars and spend up to half a billion pounds to be there, it's not too logical. The Mercedes unit that they take to races and put in the paddock, it takes 24 trucks to carry the parts to assemble it. The FIA believes it keeps the world alive because F1 cars don't use any fuel. Not true. They use a few per cent less than a normal engine. But some teams have 24 trucks to build their motorhomes, which use a lot of fuel. So it is all nonsense. It is all complete hypocrisy, which upsets me. It is complete stupidity. So everyone has got their corner they want to fight for. The FIA want to be green, the teams are split on what they want to do and we want to make sure the championship is successful. We are in the entertainment business."