Toyota Team Principal and FOTA vice-chairman John Howett has accused Bernie Ecclestone of trying to split the teams over their demand for greater revenue, dismissing his strategy of exposing Ferrari’s special financial deal as an ineffective “non-event”.
Ecclestone launched an attack on Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo after the Italian, in his capacity as President of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), called for a greater revenue share for the teams in the wake of the global economic crisis [see separate story HERE ].
A furious Ecclestone all but accused Di Montezemolo of hypocrisy and drew attention to the additional income that Ferrari receive as a result of their historical status within sport.
“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,” said Ecclestone.
“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.”
However, Howett insists that FOTA will not be swayed by this argument, saying that the deal with Ferrari is common knowledge amongst the teams.
“He may be trying to [split FOTA] but all the information that was given is very transparent and openly shared among the members of FOTA, so it was a bit of a non-event because everybody is aware of the historic status [of Ferrari],” Howett told The Times.
Howett also affirmed that Ecclestone’s attack has done little to stop FOTA pursuing a greater slice of Formula One’s revenue.
“I think the majority position in FOTA is that people feel that the revenue for a modern professional sport is normally distributed more in favour of the participants than the property holder or the commercial rights-holder,” he said.
“People want to open that discussion and achieve a much more consistent balance with the status in many other professional sports.”
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 accrued by commercial rights holders CVC Capital Partners.
“In terms of revenue, we want to know more about them,â€ 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.â€