Renault’s chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn has called for Bernie Ecclestone to make a bigger cut of F1’s commercial rights income available to the competing teams on the eve of the scheduled deadline (Friday 12 June) for the FIA to announce which teams it will be accepting for the 2010 world championship.
Speaking on Wednesday in front of France’s National Assembly, Ghosn made it clear that he felt it was grossly inequitable that Ecclestone and CVC Capital Partners take a 50 per cent share of the sport’s $1bn annual commercial rights income stream, money generated from race fees, television contracts and circuit advertising.
“We are the ones doing the show, who bring the technology, who bring in the engines, who hire the drivers,” said Ghosn firmly. “And if we do the show, the revenues must come back to us. Today we pay to be in F1. That is not normal. Intermediaries have made enough money with this. We want to take back control of F1.”
Ghosn’s critique was perfectly timed to put maximum pressure on FIA president Max Mosley as Renault are members of the F1 Teams’ Association, eight of whom have made it clear that they have only submitted entries for 2010 on the strict condition that the technical rules remain substantially the same as they are in 2009.
Meanwhile Ferrari has told the FIA that it cannot accept their entry unless they accept the conditions laid down by FOTA and, for his part, Ecclestone has warned that if the manufacturers get around to contemplating a breakaway series in 2010, they will be sued for potentially millions of pounds if they interfere with any circuit or television contracts currently in place for the official F1 championship.
As an adjunct to that, Damon Hill, the president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, has warned against the dangers of a breakaway series, pointing to the fact that US oval track racing never really recovered from the 1996 split between the Indy Racing League and Champcar.
“It risks getting to the point where the credibility of the sport is brought into question,” said the 1996 world champion this week at Silverstone.
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