Formula 1

F1 facing split after budget cap proposal rejected

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Formula 1's smaller teams are becoming disenchanted with the way the sport is run.

That is the claim of Germany's Sport Bild newspaper in a report that also says Caterham, Sauber and Force India have signed an "explosive" letter created by Marussia and addressed to the FIA President Jean Todt, Bernie Ecclestone and rival teams.

This comes days after another attempt to impose a budget cap from 2015 was scrapped as the rule-making Strategy Group withdrew their support from the idea.

The decision provoked outrage from those four teams, who do not have a voice in the decision making process as they are not permitted to be part of the Strategy Group.

Instead that group comprises of the 'big five', Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren, Lotus and for historical reasons Williams.

This group also receives a much larger proportion of revenue funds handed out by Ecclestone, not just for their greater competitiveness but also to ensure those teams, particularly Red Bull and Ferrari, remain in the sport.

Initial reports had the planned budget cap around €150m, however, even this figure would still have been much larger than certainly Marussia and Caterham could ever manage.

Talks within the Strategy Group continue in a bid to find ways of dramatically reducing costs, some ideas mentioned include lifting the ban on active suspension as well as plans to introduce 18-inch wheels rather than the current 13-inch rims with these changes happening in 2017.

Despite those efforts Force India's Deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley told the Guardian newspaper that the sport is treading a fine line.

"We have a situation where we have enriched and empowered five teams and disenfranchised six," he said.

"The six disenfranchised teams are worthless."

Fernley warned that without major changes, the current grid of 11 teams could significantly reduce.

"All the teams have taken the cost increase of the new technology but only five have been enriched because of the disproportionate share of the money coming into F1," he explained.

"It's inevitable that all the smaller teams could fall by the wayside."

Sport Bild's report added that the smaller teams even believe the current system could be in violation of European competition law and are demanding they be given a way of getting their views and ideas across.

One Red Bull insider, who wished not to be named, did admit that the current situation cannot remain the same.

"The letter is explosive and also justified," he said. "We do need to change something, starting with a fairer distribution of money, so that the smaller teams get more of the pie.

"We also need to make the sport more attractive, in order to attract more sponsors," he added.

The criticism of the distribution of funds has been a long, drawn out debate for some time. The old Concorde Agreement's often saw clauses and rules that benefited the sport's most famous participant, Ferrari, as threats of leaving and creating a breakaway series often meant keeping the Italian team in F1 came at the price of others.

More recently Red Bull and Mercedes have rivalled Ferrari for the share in power at the top, but the large costs associated with the new V6 era that has began this year has also left smaller teams fighting to survive.

Former FIA President Max Mosley, who admits the change was his idea, has accused those who have publicly denounced the rule changes as having an "agenda" against the new F1.

Talking about the new V6 power units he told Reuters: "It's a really interesting technology and it's change,"

Mosley called the old V8's "dinosaurs" adding: "If you don't have change, you just disappear."

However, Ferrari, who have been one of the most skeptical in regards to the new V6 hybrid units, recently published comments on their official website by Italy's Olympics Chief Giovanni Malago expressing his displeasure at F1's new direction.

"In my opinion, it's a form of self-harm," Malago said, describing the 2014 rules.

"I hope the people who run the sport look again at the rules because the way Formula One is now, it has much less appeal and that's a shame as it is an extraordinary world."

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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