Formula 1

Bernie Ecclestone to ensure financial security of struggling F1 teams

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F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has revealed he will ensure the financial security of F1's smaller teams to guarantee 18 cars, at least, line up in Melbourne in a fortnight according to reports.

With the three midfield teams of Lotus, Sauber and Force India still fighting to stay in business it has emerged that certainly the latter has received a £20m boost from Ecclestone which is an advanced payment of the prize money the team earned for finishing sixth in last year's Constructors' championship.

Huge cuts at Lotus have seen their debt reduced quite significantly from a year ago while Sauber have taken on major sponsorship from Banco do Brasil, the backer of their new driver Felipe Nasr, as well as from Marcus Ericsson who brings a large amount of backing from his native Sweden.

Manor Marussia still fighting to make Melbourne

Excluded from the apparent early payment is Manor, the remains of the former Marussia team who have kept the Marussia name in their entry to be eligible for the £30m+ the team earned from finishing ninth in last year's championship, thanks to Jules Bianchi scoring their only points finish in Monaco.

The team is currently in a race against time to get a 2015-spec car ready for the freight deadline of March 6th, when the cars and other equipment leave for Australia, and there was talk a car was undergoing the mandatory FIA crash tests on Sunday, though nothing official has yet been released.

'Core car' could be the answer

While the payment doesn't solve the main issue of addressing the financial equality between the top and bottom teams on the grid, it does seem further efforts could be underway towards lowering costs as those smaller teams call for the creation of what is being called a 'core car'.

The move would see the basic monocoque and other parts sold to smaller teams who then develop wings and bodywork to keep the cars as unique to each team as possible.

The idea has been brought up in recent meetings of the Strategy Group and the F1 Commission, however, bigger teams are also blocking the idea believing enough of the car can already be shared between teams.

Interestingly, this kind of partnership is already taking place as the 2016 Haas F1 project is being developed through a technical partnership with Ferrari.

F1 cost debate set to rumble on

Much like it was following the demise of Marussia and Caterham at the end of last season, the topic of costs and the division of income in F1 will likely be one that rumbles on through 2015 particularly with Manor Marussia set to join the grid and the tale of Force India, who have already had significant problems developing their 2015 car. Watch this space.

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