Ecclestone furious at teams’ demand for greater revenue

ecclestoneFormula One supremo lambasts FOTA president’s demands for more money citing ‘secret’ Ferrari deal.

A furious Bernie Ecclestone has hit out at FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo after the Italian called for the teams to be given a greater slice of Formula One’s revenue.

Amid the negotiations to reduce costs in Formula One, di Montezemolo, president of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), told journalists this month that the teams should receive greater prize money to incentivise and maintain their participation in the sport, in the wake of the credit crisis.

The teams currently earn around $500 million in TV money which is distributed according to position in the Constructors’ Championship. But this only accounts for the money distributed by the FIA as prize money, not the total revenue of commercial rights holders CVC Capital Partners.

“In terms of revenue, we want to know more about them,” said di Montezemolo, according to autosport.com. “Theoretically, like in other professional sports, like basketball in the USA, we can have a league made by us and appoint a good league manager to run our own business. Because it is our own business.

“We want to know the revenues better so we can decrease the cost of the tickets. Then we have the matter of traditional tracks rather than exotic tracks just because they have a nice skyline. We have to discuss the show. How to promote. I’m not prepared any more to have all this dictated to us by outside without any control.”

Ecclestone has lambasted di Montezemolo for making these comments citing the additional income that Ferrari receive as a result of their historical status and contribution to the sport.

“The only thing he has not mentioned is the extra money Ferrari get above all the other teams and all the extra things Ferrari have had for years – the ‘general help’ they are considered to have had in Formula One,” Ecclestone told The Times.

“Ferrari get so much more money than everyone else. They know exactly what they get; they are not that stupid, although they are not that bright, either. They get about $80 million (£54 million) more. When they win the constructors’ championship, which they did this year, they got $80 million more than if McLaren had won it.”

“What he should do, rather than asking for money, with all the extra money Ferrari gets, he should share all that amongst the teams.”

Ecclestone also hinted at the perceived hypocrisy of Ferrari’s new-found harmony with the rest of the teams. Pointing to the threat of a manufactures ‘break-away’ series in 2003, Ecclestone reminded di Montezemolo:

“(Ferrari) were the only team that broke ranks with the other manufacturers – why did they break ranks?” he said. “That’s where the $80 million comes in. We ‘bought’ Ferrari. We ‘bought’ Ferrari’s loyalty. Our deal with Ferrari was that we ‘bought’ them so they would not go to the others.”

Ecclestone was also annoyed at di Montezemolo’s suggestions that the teams did not have access to the full breakdown of how money is distributed in the sport.

“They have the right to send people into the company and search for everything,” he said, pointing to a clause in the Concorde Agreement that allows full examinations of the accounts.

“Ferrari in particular, more than anybody, from day one, have had the right and they’ve never done it. We have bankers here and we’ve got CVC (CVC Capital Partners, the principal owners of Formula One) checking every single solitary thing. So anybody that starts saying that we’ve done anything wrong, I’ll sue the a*** off them.”

With thanks to autosport.com for quotes.