Formula 1 teams need to wake up and start working together to address much-needed cost cuts if the sport is to survive, reckons Caterham owner Tony Fernandes.
Speaking in Singapore at the launch of his road car company’s new AeroSeven Concept, Fernandes was outspoken at the way teams had failed to put a cap in a spending war, and warned about consequences if attitudes do not change.
“I was promised a sport where there would be less money, and I think that is a major failure of the sport,” said Fernandes, whose team has failed to score a point since it entered in 2010. “Nothing has got cheaper, and everything has got more expensive. I am not sure what the benefits are, to be honest.
“It is getting harder, and F1 is going through a period of those who have and those who haven’t. People have to stop this dog-eat-dog approach and ‘let’s screw everyone’ attitude, because it is a short-term approach. If you don’t have a sport any more then what is the point?”
FIA president Jean Todt said at the Italian GP that getting a grips on costs is the priority when a new Concorde Agreement is signed. Although it had been hoped that the FIA would become more proactive in helping address cost issues before now, Fernandes thinks it is the teams as a whole who are at fault for the current situation.
“I think the teams screwed it up,” he said. “We had a group called FOTA and tried to screw each other, so we are the only ones to be blamed.
“People in business try to make as much money as possible and we have been no different to anybody else. The teams missed an opportunity, but ultimately the owners of the sport have to get real about what is happening for the health of the sport.”
He added: “It is crazy money to run an F1 team now in these times of economic doubts. How many new sponsors have come into this sport over the last few years? If you go back to when I watched it, there were stickers galore and everyone was fighting to be a sponsor. But reality bites, and people have to think a little bit longer term than they are right now.”