I can hear the mutters of “loony leftie” and “liberal turd” already, but stop your internal dialogue for a moment and listen.
There is a problem with Formula One that has stagnated for a few years now. It comes in the form of unfair distribution. That is, the total prize money distributed to each team at the end of the season isn’t related at all to the constructors standings, but instead, is distributed on commercial grounds.
The 2014 revenues speak for themselves. Ferrari finished Fourth in the constructors table that season, but picked up the biggest chunk of prize money in the form of $164M. Compare that figure to Williams’ $86M and then swallow the fact that they finished above Ferrari and secured third place overall in the constructors. Red Bull managed to gain the second biggest slice of Bernie’s pie with $156M, $30M more than the dominant Mercedes team, who won both Constructor and Driver championships.
Teams like Force India who had slowly been working their way up the grid since 2008 find that they’ve hit the ceiling. $60M for 6th place. HAAS are in an almost insulting financial situation, having been snubbed by Ecclestone and his fat-cat FOM buddies of the $10M new team payment because Bernie U-turned, saying “They weren’t asked to join, they asked us to join.” Good job Bernie, you’ve just alienated other teams from joining the sport. You’re not out of touch at all are you?
Sauber’s team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has been a voice for fairer distribution for years. If you look at the disproportionate payments, you see that teams with a longer legacy in the sport (with the exception of an Austrian geezer who peddles energy drinks containing Bull semen extract), are given much more money than their position in the final standings dictates. Bearing in mind that Sauber are one of the longest standing teams in Formula One, so Kaltenborn’s anger is justifiable.
“It’s leading to a competition which is no longer a fair competition.
“It has to do with these privileges certain teams get in terms of rule-making and in terms of the commercial distribution.
“And if that reaches a point where it has an effect on the competition, that is something we are fighting against.”
With a declining viewership and a big unrest between teams, something has to budge, and the tyrannical Bernie Ecclestone isn’t the man to do it. Surely the fundamental principle of Formula One is for the best driver and team combination to win. Not that we get to see the best drivers in Formula One anymore. Gone are the days of securing a seat without bringing a Brazilian bank, or a Venezuelan Oil giant to the table. That’s the other point really, teams like Sauber end up with drivers that bring the most lucrative sponsorship deals, not the most talent, because it’s the only way they can stay afloat. That’s sad.
I don’t want Red Bull Energy Drinks, Petronas, PDVSA, Santander or SHELL to be the biggest winners in the sport – I want the best driver to be the biggest winner, the best team to have a slight financial edge going into next season and a more even playing field in terms of prize money overall.
Neutralize the debate with a communistic approach! If the 2014 revenue had been distributed equally, each team would have had a budget of $83.4M with $50M spare to play with for constructors prize-money.
I know, I know… It’s not likely to happen. I mean, it’s not like any other major sport business models out there use a communist approach to their financial distribution… Apart from that little thing called the NFL. They’ve been equally distributing revenue for a long time. Has it taken the competitive edge off?