Smaller teams less committed to F1 claims Ecclestone 16 May, 2014 Bernie Ecclestone Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at criticism of the Strategy Group. The decision-making group features only six of the sport’s eleven competing teams – powerful Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren, 2013′s fourth-placed Lotus and, for historical reasons, Williams. But after plans for budget caps were recently scrapped, the smaller teams angrily hit back by claiming they have been “disenfranchised”. They have even questioned the legality of the Strategy Group against European anti-competition laws. Formula 1 Chief Executive Ecclestone, however, has justified the exclusion of smaller teams Sauber, Force India, Marussia and Caterham. “There are four teams that are not in the Strategy Group and why not?” he told business journalist Christian Sylt. “Because the people that are [in the group] have committed to racing in Formula 1 to 2020 and have put up sensible guarantees if they don’t [race],” Ecclestone is quoted by the Independent. The small teams obviously take issue with that view. “The voice of Caterham does not count as much as the voice of Ferrari,” Caterham chief Cyril Abiteboul acknowledged in Barcelona last weekend, “but it doesn’t mean that we cannot be part of the discussion, at least for the sake of transparency.” (GMM) Subbed by AJN. Related NewsContract loophole may allow Alonso to leave FerrariGermany could host two grands prix per yearEcclestone says Russian GP will go aheadMallya says Force India are in a good placeRed Bull and Renault partnership now in better healthVettel negativity blamed for turning off German fansWhy did German F1 fans stay away from Hockenheim?Mercedes seking multi-year deal with HamiltonEcclestone plays down F1 buy-back reportsWhy is Formula 1 playing to empty stands?