F1 CASH CRISIS: Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn is hoping that a deal can be struck with Bernie Ecclestone and F1's controlling shareholder CVC Capital to save struggling teams. Image: AP
AUSTIN, Texas - Formula 1's midfield strugglers believe they may have found a solution to their current cash crisis and hope Bernie Ecclestone can endorse and support their plans before the November 9 2014 Brazilian GP.
Lotus team chief Gerard Lopez and Sauber principal Monisha Kaltenborn each said the deal, which involves teams receiving an extra 'base payment' from the sport's commercial rights holder, offers a fair solution given the current difficulties affecting small teams in the sport.
Kaltenborn, referring to Sauber, Lotus and Force India, said on Monday (Nov 3): "We three teams have been speaking to each other and have agreed on that. Nobody is asking for anything unreasonable. We have to recognise that times have changed, the level to enter F1 has changed."
TOO MUCH INVESTMENT
She continued: "There was a reason for the system earlier, now things have really changed so one has to rethink that. We have all put in too much investment to let it just fizzle out. The times are long gone when a bunch of people got together at weekends and went from track to track and raced." F1's biggest teams have been reluctant to make sacrifices but, under their agreements, they would also be entitled to an extra payment too. Lopez thought a deal could be agreed to keep everybody happy.
Lopez was confident a deal could be struck before Brazil with Ecclestone and F1's controlling shareholder CVC Capital to let smaller teams to receive enough money to operate. Lopez added: "There is a way to solve this in the coming days, probably even to get to a proposal before Brazil, in which case I don't see the point in doing anything drastic that would damage the sport.
"I know CVC and Bernie have been looking at this but it's going to be a base payment to the smaller teams which will make it possible for a normal budget to be pretty much closed here."
TO MAKE ENDS MEET
Kaltenborn added: "It's really not a complicated thing to do. It just requires a bit of goodwill. The figures we've been discussing could let us be in the sport decently. The rest is up to us. We're not asking for a 'dreams come true' solution and we have a comfortable, cushy life. No, all we say is you have to be allowed from the income that the sport generates to have a decent living - that you're not struggling every month, every year, to make ends meet."
The two team bosses were optimistic that a way out of the current crisis could be found 24 hours after Lewis Hamilton's win in the 2014 US GP (Nov 2), which took Mercedes' British ace closer to his second F1 title. He's now 24 points clear of team mate Nico Rosberg going to Brazil but the season-closer in Abu Dhabi will carry double points for the winner.