Bob Fernley of Force India believes that the top Liberty Media’s “to do” list, should be the focus on controlling costs enabling the smaller teams on the grid a chance of success.
The Silverstone based team have been extremely vocal in recent years regarding the size of the prize, when it comes to Formula Ones dividing of the pie. Fernley in particular has used every opportunity he has had, to let the paddock know of his and his teams frustrations.
Fernley is hoping that the American company with their new operating structure and personnel, will delve into the long standing problems centred around cost in formula one.
“As you know, Force India and myself have been strong critics for the last two years of what has been going on – and it has been a pretty lonely place at times,” Fernley told Motorsport.com. “So in that sense it is good that what we have been really saying is that what we have been saying for the past two years is becoming mainstream.
“The three things we have been looking at are getting costs under control, better distribution of income – and those two factors will give us competition .
“If there can be a more inclusive system of franchise, those are the three things we have been pushing hard for. It would appear that all of those are on the agenda of Liberty and that, for us, is very encouraging.”
Fernley hopes Liberty will do everything in their power to improve the show, which in turn would mean a levelling of the playing field. If this happens, a multitude of teams would be able to score podiums and wins, making the drivers even bigger stars of the show.
“The opportunity at the moment is to be able to get cost controls in place,” he said. “If you have that in place, therefore reducing the need to spend, then you can also reduce the need for income in the same way.
“And also if you can get competition through that process, then it means the drivers become an important factor, and therefore talent will prevail – they become the best commodity and that is where you want it to head to. That has been the philosophy we’ve had for a while.”
For ‘Big uncle Bob’ to get his wish though, nothing can be done until 2021 at the earliest regarding the prize money distribution. Something Fernley is even keen to continue stressing about.
“You also have to recognise that the financial models have changed in F1. Whereas before your primary income generation was through sponsorship and you topped it up with FOM income, today it is the other way around – your FOM income is the primary source of your income and you are topping it up with sponsorship.
“That is the bit that has been missed, that transition that has got lost and that is why a more equitable distribution is key.”
Bob does have a point there. McLaren’s much publicised lack of a ‘title’ sponsor since Vodafone’s departure backs up his claim. If McLaren with all their glitz and glamour struggle to attract the big corporations (with star man Fernando alongside), then how can a midfield team be expected to compete?
The FOM money has ultimately been the holy grail to survival, with pay drivers and sponsorship being the ‘brucie bonus’ that teams have become less reliant on.
It will be interesting to see if Liberty will do anything prior to 2021, or if indeed… what can they do?