Ecclestone: F1 untroubled by downturn

Bernie Ecclestone believes Formula 1 is holding up strongly against the financial downturn, and doesn't think teams are having to make many cuts

Ecclestone: F1 untroubled by downturn

A range of budget-reducing rules were introduced over the winter, as Honda put its team up for sale and major sponsors such as ING and RBS announced that they would be withdrawing at the end of their current contracts amid the worldwide slump.

But Ecclestone says the sport is faring better than he expected, and reckons that rather than releasing staff, some teams will have more on hand at this year's grands prix.

"I don't get the impression that this crisis has caused any problems, which is a big surprise," Ecclestone told the Guardian newspaper.

"You would have thought that the teams would take less people and start to cut down on costs. But they're taking more people to the races than they took last year. I know exactly because we do all the credentials.

"It doesn't look to me as though they're cutting down too much."

While teams' race weekend operations might be less affected by the rule changes, the testing ban and the planned development restrictions in the next package of regulations are expected to lead to staff cuts in other areas.

Ecclestone also said that there had been no decline in interest from countries keen to get on the F1 schedule and that fitting all the potential venues on the calendar would be a major challenge - especially if Donington Park's revamp is completed as planned and the British GP secures its long-term future.

"We haven't got a spare date," Ecclestone said. "We're in trouble. We need a date. We're going to be in trouble if we do have Donington."

He added that while F1's stability amid the recession had surprised him, he had anticipated the crisis itself.

"I said a long time ago that the stock market would crash and that Europe would become a third-world economy," said Ecclestone. "And it will."

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