With Caterham and Marussia in the throes of failure, the governing FIA has admitted it is concerned about the financial situation in F1. It is believed the next most endangered team on the grid is the Swiss privateer Sauber, whose boss and co-owner Monisha Kaltenborn sounded furious as she spoke to media on Thursday. "I think the worst part is that we're damaging the sport with this so much that I think the owners of the product of the sport should think what they're doing here," she said.
Kaltenborn insisted that with "billions" flowing into F1's commercial coffers, it is unacceptable that the sport is "not capable" of keeping 11 teams alive. "Now you try to explain that to somebody," she exclaimed. Spain's Marca newspaper claims one struggling team, perhaps Hinwil based Sauber, has leaked the precise cost of minimally keeping a two-car operation afloat throughout a season at present -- EUR 94.4 million.
Earlier this year, FIA president Jean Todt tried to introduce a budget cap in formula one but ran into the opposition of the powerful, big team-dominated strategy group. But in light of Marussia and Caterham's collapses, the FIA said in a statement that "these failings once again acutely raise the question of the economic balance of (F1) and justify the position, expressed many times by the FIA, in favour of any initiative that will help reduce costs in order to ensure the survival of the existing grid or attract potential new entrants".
The FIA demonstrated its sympathy for this weekend's absent backmarkers when stewards on Thursday decided against penalising Caterham and Marussia, despite the clear rule requiring every team to "participate in every event". "In view of the current financial circumstances," the stewards' statement read, "the stewards decide not to impose any penalty". And because "of the particular nature of the breach, the matter is referred to the attention of the FIA president", the stewards added. (GMM)