Team bosses are sure Formula One will weather the European storm. Struggling Eurozone members headed by Greece have triggered a worsening financial crisis in the sport’s key market.
But Sir Frank Williams, who is understood to be negotiating with Middle Eastern sponsors, remains confident that formula one will still be able to rely on European money.
“I believe it (sponsorship) will still come from Europe because the sport is based in Europe, most people who watch it are from Europe but I think (F1 figures are) very adept at sniffing out the dosh,” he said in Abu Dhabi.
“There will always be money to keep their teams in business. The determination within those teams is immeasurable,” added Williams.
Mercedes’ Ross Brawn broadly agrees but he thinks F1 might have to make some adjustments to cope with the changing global market, even though a cost-cutting agreement is at present highly controversial within team meetings.
“I daren’t bring it up but we’re working hard on the resource restriction (agreement); if we need to, that can be tightened even further,” he said.
“So I think the teams are incredibly resilient and we will cut our cloth to suit the climate and that’s what will happen.”
Bernie Ecclestone has been criticised for expanding F1 from its traditional European market to the emerging ones in the Far and Middle East.
“As you know we were one of the first companies that had the opportunity to receive investment from this area and now we are looking also in the other parts of the world,” revealed Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali in Abu Dhabi.
And Martin Whitmarsh, head of McLaren and the FOTA group, reminded that not too long ago F1 weathered the global financial crisis and then saw Honda, Toyota and BMW pull out.
“I think it brought the best out in formula one,” said the Briton, “because we react well in a crisis.
“Perhaps we are all a little bit too comfortable now – some of the teams – and another bit of a crisis might focus some minds on what we need to do together,” he added.