Fernandes says F1 'screwed up' cost cuts

Caterham boss Tony Fernandes. – Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Caterham boss Tony Fernandes. – Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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SINGAPORE, Sept 21 — Caterham boss Tony Fernandes said Formula One “screwed up” the chance to keep costs under control as teams face a dramatic escalation next year.

The Malaysian entrepreneur said teams failed to come together and make a concerted effort to keep costs down, and also agreed to the extra expense of introducing a new type of engine in 2014.

“I think the teams didn't get together. The teams had a wonderful opportunity to try and create a fair, equitable split so that the sport is sustainable,” he said ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.

“Teams looked at things on an individual basis as opposed to working together in FOTA (Formula One Teams Association) and trying to find a win-win situation for everyone and create a very healthy environment in a sustainable sport.

“We screwed it up, it's as simple as that.”

Fernandes has said in fighting in FOTA was to blame for the failure to implement cost controls. Several teams are struggling for money, and HRT went to the wall last year.

Teams have recently finished negotiations for a new Concorde Agreement to govern the sport and decide how to share profits in coming seasons.

And with an eye on environmental concerns, they will switch to smaller, 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines and limit their fuel supply.

“I've been consistent since day one that I've been in Formula One that costs are too high,” Fernandes, who also helms budget airline AirAsia and English football club QPR, said late yesterday.

“When I came into Formula One, people talked to me about costs coming down but I don't think there's been a single year it's come down.

“I think next year will be probably the highest year — so I think there's something fundamentally wrong. I don't think it's just the engine, by the way, I think the teams lost out an opportunity to get costs under control.

“I think self-interest overrode the sport and we are as much to blame for this problem as an engine.” — AFP

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