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Whitmarsh Says Seven Out Of 11 F1 Teams Struggle Financially; Ecclestone Denies Claim
Published February 18, 2013
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NO BELLS, NO WHISTLES: The LONDON TIMES' Kevin Eason writes that F1 was once "the sport that measured success by the size of the yachts and wingspan of the private aircraft,'' but now the circuit "is facing the end of the era of financial excess and looking forward to a more frugal future." F1 has spent 30 years "on a global smash-and-grab raid, pulling in billions of pounds to fuel gas-guzzling cars and turning drivers and team owners into multimillionaires." That could all be a "thing of the past" after McLaren, one of the biggest and most successful teams of the modern era, disclosed that they were thinking of “downsizing” from their three-story mobile headquarters. Gone, too, are the glitzy launches. Red Bull was the only team to open up the champagne to kick off to the season, "a stark contrast to the days when the Spice Girls were hired to provide the entertainment. Whitmarsh: "There are some reality checks going around. We used to hire Alexandra Palace and launches were a competition. People don’t want to see £1 million extravaganzas anymore. Times have changed. We peaked" (LONDON TIMES, 2/18).
SOLID FOUNDATION: AUTO WEEK's Christian Sylt reported Ecclestone said that "none of F1's 11 teams is at risk of collapsing despite the weak economic climate." Last week, it came to light that Ecclestone "had arranged a meeting" on Feb. 7 with F1's smaller teams -- and this "fuelled speculation that they face a funding crisis." However, Ecclestone said that the outlook "is not as bleak as predicted and, in fact, the point of the meeting was to go over the details of the Concorde Agreement, the contract which governs F1." Ecclestone said, "On Thursday I was bringing the teams up to speed with the new Concorde Agreement. They are all safe. We have got a deal with them all, including Marussia. We are continuing with Marussia. I thought they were going to go but they are not" (AUTO WEEK, 2/11).