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F1 facing cost 'crisis' - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
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Martin Whitmarsh has warned that smaller teams will struggle © Sutton Images
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McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has warned of a looming crisis in Formula One as smaller teams look set to struggle to foot the bill of competing in upcoming seasons.

New engine regulations, a potential return to in-season testing and a new tyre deal will see teams' costs rise over the next few years despite attempts in recent seasons to reduce spending. A new Concorde Agreement has not yet been finalised, and while the teams share of Formula One's revenues looks set to increase, it may not be enough to cover the escalating costs of competing in the top level of motorsport.

"Formula One works best in a crisis but it is a shame that we have to create a crisis to deal with," Whitmarsh told the Guardian. "This sport needs 10 or 11 teams and we should fight to keep the 11 teams we have now. But we are not good at doing these things. We seem to drop the ball. I fear that we will have a crisis and then we will have to get real and sort it out. I cannot see in their shoes [the seven smaller teams] how you can construct a sustainable business model."

Whitmarsh said Formula One had "badly mismanaged" the introduction of the new V6 turbo engine regulations for 2014.

"What is frightening is that we have adopted important new engine regulations," he said. "They are the right thing to do in many regards. They are technologically interesting and relevant to society. But F1 badly mismanaged the cost of the development and supply of those new power plants. We allowed the engineers to be unfettered in dreaming up the regulations, which means teams are now facing big bills. We got costs down to £10m and now we are talking about double that. That is with all the other cost challenges we have. In addition, under the new agreement, the teams will to pay Pirelli $105m over the seven years."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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