The childish rules in Formula that see the participants prize money withheld at the end of the season will now cost Manor in excess of $3m.
Ecclestone refuses to allow the teams access to THEIR winnings until the following season – and then it is paid in equal instalments between March and November, and only then if the team continues to participate thoughout the year.
Bernie would argue this helps the teams budget better, as he claims, “their companies are in the shit because they spend more than they have got”. So Daddy Bernie sends a cheque once a month to tidy them over.
Whether this is compliant with EU law is not clear, however, the smaller teams spend about 35-40% of their annual budgets during the closed season and have to beg borrow and steal credit to see them through this period.
Manor were forced to attend the Melbourne GP to ensure they did not fall foul of the rule which states they can only miss 3 races before 2020 otherwise they forfeit their right to compete in Formula One.
The FIA and Ecclestone must have known the timescales were ridiculously tight for Manor to bring the team out of administration and be capable of running a car on track – after nearly four months being out of business.
In fact the FIA stewards did in fact recognise that Manor “made all reasonable efforts to run in Melbourne” and so did not sanction them. Yet Ecclestone will be refusing them over $3m of their own hard earned prize money.
Under their previous name, Manor F1 finished the season ninth in the F1 constructors’ championship entitling them to around $54m in prize money, however due to their Russian backer co-incidentally withdrawing immediately following the inaugural Russian GP, the team were left high and dry and forced into administration.
Ecclestone has now said he will withhold 1/19th of last years prize money due to Manor F1 failing to get their cars on track in Melbourne two weeks ago.
“We will deduct the race they missed from the prize-money,” he said. “They will miss one 19th of it and they are going to get a bill for the free travel that we gave them.”
It is highly unlikely Ecclestone has the legal right to deduct last years prize money for what happened in Melbourne because the moneys awarded are for last year’s performance and should therefore not be contingent on future performance.
Yet Manor dare not take Ecclestone on, because the consequences could be grave and challenge their continued existence.
Welcome to the world of F1 – run by a despot.