Force India's Robert Fernley says Formula 1 costs still too high
|By Jonathan Noble and Dieter Rencken||Wednesday, February 22nd 2012, 15:44 GMT|
Formula 1 must do much more to bring down costs in the future, says Force India's deputy team principal Robert Fernley, if the sport is to remain sustainable.
Although much focus from teams this year will be in trying to secure a greater share of revenues from F1's Commercial Rights Holders in a new Concorde Agreement, Fernley thinks that the bigger issue is actually the expenditure of competing.
"From a personal point of view, I think the cost base of F1 is still wrong," Fernley told AUTOSPORT. "You need to bring it down.
"I believe very strongly that when you cannot make profit based on your television income and your sponsorship income, then there is something wrong with the sport, and I still believe that is the case today. Our costs are too high."
F1 teams currently share between them 50 percent of the commercial rights income - and are seeking to increase that to up to 70 percent under the new Concorde Agreement.
Should they be even that successful, which is unlikely, Fernley does not think it will ease the financial burden that many teams on the grid are facing at the moment.
"Even if you increased the income from the CRH it would still leave a deficit, and you would still need support," he said.
"I would say today the average team is spending between 80 and 100 million dollars as a small team – and the FOM income will nowhere near cover that. So you have to have the commercial income top up and then make a profit."
Last year, AUTOSPORT estimated that world champions Red Bull Racing earned $93.1 million from commercial rights income for its title success – which is almost less than it spent in capturing both titles.
Fernley said he hoped discussions about a new Concorde Agreement would start in the next few weeks, and that the process would be smoother than last time – when teams briefly agreed to a breakaway series for 2010.
"If we can collectively sit down with [F1 owners] CVC and Bernie [Ecclestone], that is always going to be win/win," he said. "It should be a programme that benefits all."