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Small teams had 'no choice' on F1 deals with Bernie Ecclestone

Sauber chief Monisha Kaltenborn says her Formula 1 team effectively had no choice but to sign its current agreement with Bernie Ecclestone that it is so unhappy with

The terms of each team's agreement with F1's commercial right holder vary, with Ferrari, Red Bull Mercedes, McLaren and Williams receiving premium payments, last year totalling $249million on top of prize money from the constructors' championship.

Last week, Sauber and Force India lodged a complaint to the European Union Competitions Commission regarding F1's governance and payment structure.

Ecclestone responds to EU complaint

Kaltenborn argues that while Sauber did agree to its current contract, it was either that or be forced out of F1.

"Even if you sign something, it doesn't make it fair and it doesn't make it right," said Kaltenborn.

"You have to see why we signed this and what options we had at that time.

"For team alike Force India and ourselves, this is our core business.

"We don't do anything else - we run a Formula 1 team and we might have commercial activities next to it, where we basically commercialise the knowhow we generate.

DIETER RENCKEN: EU complaint comes at the worst time for F1

"But this is our core business, so you have effectively no choice but to accept it.

"You have to have seen what situation our two teams were - you get an offer, you either take it or leave it.

"So you sign it, knowing that you sign it, or you leave Formula 1, which is no choice.

"This is why we hope the commission will look at it, why these unfair terms in our deal were put into place.

"We knew some had preferential terms but the entire the scope or scale of these privileges, actually we only recently became aware of these through the media."

According to Kaltenborn, the next step of the process will require the commercial rights holder to respond to the claims and then it will be up to the commission to decide if it wants to take the matter further.

"We have asked the commission to look into the abuse of dominance which arises from the way privileges are granted to certain teams, may that be in terms of rule-making or in terms of revenue stream," she said.

"They will ask the other side to comment on what we have written, which takes a couple of weeks I guess - and I'm not sure how much that can be extended - and then they will take a view on what to do.

"We hope they will start a proper investigation and we hope they will look at the structure and also establish a fairer system which allows teams to compete on an equal basis.

"This complaint is against the commercial rights holder, not against any team."

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