As the smaller teams face greater pressure from rising costs, the generous payments given to the richest competitors, regardless of where they finish, has become a focus of the debate over F1’s finances.
Asked whether the competition in the sport could be fair when the top teams are earning so much more, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “That’s more of a question for Bernie [Ecclestone].”
“Our job as individuals that represent our teams is to do the best job we can to represent the companies that we work for. So of course you’re going to cut the most aggressive deal that you can.
“And it’s down to the promoter to decide who he values and who he’s going to distribute his money to and how he’s going to distribute that. He’s chosen to distribute it the way it is, the shareholders have all agreed with that and that’s the way it is.”
Horner pointed out that the remuneration for the lower finishing positions in the championship is more generous now than it was a few years ago:
“If you take into account that a team finishing tenth in the world championship is actually earning more than Red Bull were when they came into the sport in 2005, finishing seventh or sixth in the world championship. So the revenues have gone up, The revenues, the share, is of a bigger pie that has been developed, obviously, over the years.
“But it’s very difficult to put us on the spot to answer those kind of questions because our interest is obviously to represent the teams and companies that we do as best we can.”
Mercedes’ executive director Toto Wolff gave a similar view: “Do you think it’s our agenda to close the gap between the teams? I think it is not my agenda.”
“My agenda is to win races and win the world championship and each of those ladies’ and gentlemen’s agenda is to be the most competitive.”
“It is also an income question,” he added. “Obviously we know that income is spread in different ways – just or not right I do not want to comment – but the fact is that some of the bigger teams have an almost break-even operation.”
“And due to sponsorship income, due to FOM income, rights income, so the question is do you want to spend your money and in which way you want to spend your money I guess it’s down to the team and this is why it’s so complicated.”
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