Mallya: Formula 1 also needs the independent and the smaller teams

Vijay Mallya laments the excessive spending in F1
Vijay Mallya laments the excessive spending in F1

Force India team owner Vijay Mallya has backed his deputy in declaring that Formula 1’s biggest teams are pushing their small rivals out of the sport by gross over-spending.

Deputy team boss Bob Fernley issued a furious attack on Formula 1 owners CVC last weekend, saying he suspected the odds are being stacked in an apparent bid to “get rid of teams”.

“Everything we’re doing at the moment is about increasing costs,” he said. “Everything is now moving in the way of the (biggest) four teams.”

Fernley said CVC has done an “awful” job and is “the worst thing that has ever happened” to Formula 1, and one report even quoted him as accusing CVC of “raping” the sport. According to CVC’s Donald Mackenzie, however, Fernley apologised for that.

“He said sorry, that he didn’t mean what he said, that he just wanted to get a headline,” said Mackenzie.

Robert Fernley with Vijay Mallya
Robert Fernley with Vijay Mallya

But Indian businessman Mallya backed his deputy, accusing the biggest teams of back-pedalling on earlier cost-cutting agreements and ramping up their spending.

“On the one hand FOTA, when it was in full force, decided that we needed to cut costs in Formula 1. “But instead of reducing costs, one or two teams decided that winning at any cost was more important than the sustainability of the sport,” he is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace.

“I think Formula 1 also needs the independent and the smaller teams.”

Bernie Ecclestone agreed that the teams themselves are to blame for spiralling costs.

“They are the ones who control these things. They spend the money,” said the Formula 1 chief executive. “The amount of money I’ve said the teams receive is enough to run a successful business.”

The Jean Todt-led FIA, criticised by some for not getting involved in cost-cutting, has a similar view.

“The FIA has supported the resource restriction agreement but that failed because the teams could not agree,” a spokesman told the Guardian.

“The FIA would still like to help teams to cut their costs,” he added, but he said the matter of much higher engine costs for 2014 “is between the constructors and their customers”. (GMM)