Most F1 teams struggling to survive claims Force India boss

(L to R): Robert Fernley (GBR) Sahara Force India Formula One Team with Otmar Szafnauer (USA) Sahara Force India Formula One Team Chief Operating Officer. Formula One World Championship, Rd 17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Practice Day, Friday 28 October 2011.
Robert Fernley with Vijay Mallya

Force India’s deputy boss Bob Fernley, has admitted that the Silverstone based team is in danger of being swallowed up by Formula 1’s rising costs.

But, amid reports only Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes are immune to a worsening situation in the paddock, he insists Force India is not alone.

“Everything we’re doing at the moment is about increasing costs,” he told the Guardian. “There is no initiative at all about reducing costs.

“If we don’t sit down and address it very carefully we’re going to lose teams.”

The most obvious rising expense facing teams is a huge hike in engine lease fees for the new V6 era, but FIA entry fees are also higher, and new commercial deals have tipped the scales even more in the big teams’ favour.

“I think all teams are struggling,” said Fernley. “You would be surprised by how high up they (the teams) are.”

He slammed Formula 1’s owners, the private equity company CVC.

“I think CVC have done an absolutely awful job. In my view they are the worst thing that has ever happened to Formula 1,” said Force India’s Fernley.

Separately, he told Reuters news agency that CVC might be trying deliberately to put smaller teams out of business.

“Are we actually trying to stack it in a way that is to get rid of teams so they can bring customer teams in maybe?” said Fernley.

Indeed, Bernie Ecclestone told the Daily Express newspaper last week that he thinks customer cars would be “a good thing”.

“Everybody needs to agree to that but Frank Williams is the one who is against it,” said the Formula 1 chief executive.

Fernley confirmed that Force India is also opposed to the idea.

“There are four teams that have been given special privilege and those four teams would be the ones that are likely to supply the customer teams,” he said.

“So everything is now moving in the way of the four teams.”