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Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 2:27:02 AM
Saturday September 21, 2013 MYT 2:27:46 AM
by patrick johnston
Lotus F1 Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the second practice session of the Singapore F1 Grand Prix at the Marina Bay street circuit in Singapore September 20, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Formula One's struggling backmarkers bemoaned what they called the wealth and selfishness of the successful teams on Friday for escalating costs to compete in the glamour sport.
New 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines set for next season will mean a surge in expenses with Caterham, Williams, Lotus, Force India and Toro Rosso all asking on Friday why the bills were getting larger when the sport's governing body, the FIA, had long talked about reducing the burden.
"When I came in to Formula One people talked to me about costs coming down but I don't think there has been a single year it has come down. Next year will probably be the highest year so I think there is something fundamentally wrong," Caterham team principal Tony Fernandes told reporters in Singapore.
"I don't think it is just the engine. I think the teams lost out on an opportunity to get costs under control, self interest over-rode the sport and we are as much to blame for this problem as an engine," added the Malaysian entrepreneur who entered the sport in 2010.
Caterham are still looking for their first point in the sport with their prospects of an improved performance in Singapore looking slim after their two young drivers, Charles Pic and Giedo Van der Garde, finished Friday's practice sessions ahead of the two Marussia drivers only.
Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley, whose team trail leaders Red Bull by almost 300 points in the constructors' standings, said numerous meetings and discussions between all the teams had proved fruitless because of different agendas.
"There is a certain amount of greed that comes in from the top teams as well and they have to take some responsibility for that," he said.
"But it is Formula One, it is not something that is new and there has never been any equality in Formula one so you have to go out there and make sure it happens for yourself."
"WASTE OF MONEY"
Torro Rosso team principal Franz Tost, whose team are a sister outfit to three-times constructor champions Red Bull, also queried the amount of testing the teams were conducting.
"This is a total waste of money because we have eight test days and as soon as the car goes on the track it costs money but the teams want to do it," the Austrian said.
"On one hand side they are complaining they don't have money but they throw it out the window so it is a little bit difficult to understand for me. And who wants to test? The rich teams."
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier, who said his side still owed money to Ferrari-bound driver Kimi Raikkonen, wanted the teams to stick together more during the negotiating stages.
"It is true Formula one is costing too much money and regarding next year's engine I do agree with Franz, F1 does need technology...but rather than blaming the engine or not it is more about the process," the Frenchman said.
"We cannot afford to spend more and more each year. The teams should stick together first which is obviously very difficult to do."
FIA president Jean Todt told Autosport this month his organisation were ready to get tough on cost cutting but Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams, whose side are ninth with a sole point this year, was pessimistic.
"We are an independent team who rely on sponsorships to go racing so the escalation in costs for next year are across various different elements aren't great for us," she said.
"I imagine it will remain this way but like people have said the teams may have had an opportunity but they haven't taken it."
Tost, whose team are seventh behind Force India in the constructors standings, argued more races would help generate money for the teams, who he blamed for the problems.
"Each team got the Concorde agreement and if teams don't accept it then there is no need to sign it, it is simple as that," the 57-year-old said before warning the FIA to stay out of the issue.
"For me the FIA should not be involved in financial topics, they can come up with a regulation that helps the teams cut the costs but then it is up to the teams who spend the money.
"The teams should try to calm down with the costs. If the teams get more money they will go more testing."
(Editing by John Mehaffey)
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