FEBRUARY 6, 2003
F1 teams lose interest in small guys?
It is becoming increasingly clear that the apparent agreement decided a month ago to help the small teams survive this year is unlikely to happen - at least in the form it was discussed.
The aim was to ensure that Jordan and Minardi would not suffer because of the huge engine bills that they have to pay to Cosworth Racing for their engines. The deal involved the other teams agreeing to hand over some of their TV money to the small teams and Bernie Ecclestone kicking in another $6m to make sure that everyone would make it through the season. We hear that each team was going to give up $2m so that a fund of $22m could be established.
But now there are cracks appearing in the alliance. Several teams only agreed conditionally and some did not agree at all. Others said that they would pay if their contribution was matched by their engine suppliers. In order for the scheme to go ahead everyone needs to agree and that is looking less and less likely in part because some teams simply do not think it is right to be funding their opposition.
It is hoped that some of the manufacturers will agree to step in to help matters. The danger of Jordan and Minardi being unable to meet their engine bills is that the loss of income might possibly effect the budget at Jaguar Racing. This should not happen as Cosworth was demanding strict guarantees from teams before agreeing to engine deals because of losses in recent years from relationships with other teams, notably Arrows last year.
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