Just because someone repeats something ad nauseam doesn’t make it true.
Whenever the topic of the distribution of income amongst the F1 teams is raised, Mr. E goes into autopilot.
When asked by his good friend Martin Brundle, how he viewed the Sauber/Force India complaint to the EU Commission, Ecclestone droned: “I think they were wrong, but that’s what they’ve done. The commission will have to look into it now for sure.
I don’t exactly know what their complaint is. Maybe they’re spending too much money that they don’t have. They don’t seem to be able to organise a budget properly.”
It may be that Bernie doesn’t really pay much attention to what actually goes on in F1, because if he did, he would know Sauber have brought just two upgrades to their car this year.
Answer: Lack of cash.
Of course this state of affairs may be connected with Monisha’s penchant for collecting driver autograph’s late last year.
Contrast this with Red Bull crash testing a flawed nose design 63 times, before it met the FIA standard.
Also, if Bernie was paying attention, he would have known that Force India failed to show up for the first winter test of 2015. Their ‘new’ chassis had been impounded as a supplier awaited payment for work done.
So maybe Bernie is right. Had Force India failed to budget properly, run out of cash and couldn’t pay their bills.
Well in fact the Silverstone team were doing little different from any other year. However, the collapse of Caterham and Marussia had the effect of middle to lower grid teams being forced to pay suppliers up front for work done.
This problem is exacerbated because Bernie doesn’t begin to drip feed the previous year’s prize money into the teams until March.
Clearly, Force India have budgeted well this year. They introduced their full 2015 chassis in Silverstone, but technical director Andrew Green revealed at that point, the car only possessed half of the updates the team had in the pipeline.
The finished article was delivered in Singapore.
Of course Sergio Perez was fortunate to claim third in Sochi yesterday. However, even a fifth place finish less than 30 seconds behind the Mercedes winner and more than 30 seconds ahead of the Lotus would have ranked as an impressive achievement for the Silverstone based engineers.
The success of the current Force India car is down to proper resource management by the team.
In F1, the reckless spenders are not the smaller and midfield teams, it’s the likes of Red Bull as noted earlier and McLaren Honda whose drivers have used 19 engines between them – in a season when the penalty free allocation was just 8.
Since the relegation of Team Principal from billionaire to tax fugitive, Force India have been forced to become a self-sufficient team. They operate from the funds they receive from F1 and sponsors alone.
Meanwhile, Ferrari are paid more just for being a ‘historic’ F1 team than Force India receive in total.
In the same stage managed interview, Brundle opens the door for Bernie to wax lyrical on his future ideas for Formula One. “I think we need to tear up the current regulations – both the sporting and technical – and have a good look. What we’ve done in the past is cross out one bit of the regulations and put another piece in like patching up a really old house that should be pulled down. It’s about time we pulled the house down and had a good look.”
The irony appeared to be lost on Bernie, that HE has been a leading member of the architectural team that designed and built ‘the F1 house’.