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MAY 16, 2002

Now there isn't a crisis in F1...

A week is a long time in Formula 1 politics. Not so long ago team bosses Eddie Jordan, Tom Walkinshaw and Flavio Briatore were busy telling Autosport that the sport is in crisis and that something needed to be done to cut the costs of competing in F1 to save the smaller F1 teams from going out on business.

The comments did not go down well will some of the other team bosses who were unhappy about the remarks as they felt that they had made it much harder for anyone involved in the sport to raise money.

This week in Autohebdo magazine there is good news. Briatore says that there is no crisis in Formula 1.

The Renault Sport boss is, however, still advocating cost-cutting measures and says that he believes the best thing to do would be for the big teams to sell their old cars to the smaller teams. This would immediately cut costs for everyone as it would make things cheaper for the small teams while at the same time offsetting the costs of the big teams.

The problem with such an arrangement would be a political one as the smaller teams would then become entirely dependent on the bigger teams and would therefore be vulnerable to political manipulation which in effect would concentrate the power in the hands of those with the money.

While there is a provision for teams to run third cars if the entry drops the general consensus seems to be that it is better to have 12 different teams rather than seven teams running three cars. The reason for this would seem to be that if there are only seven teams, that means that five slots are available for new operations and that means that the value of existing teams is reduced as newcomers can start their own operation rather than having to buy into the sport. Although there is a huge $48m bond for new teams to enter the championship this money is refundable.