LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One's smaller teams have written to Bernie Ecclestone to press demands for a bigger share of the sport's considerable revenues.
Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley told Reuters a letter had been sent on Monday to commercial supremo Ecclestone seeking a meeting at this weekend's season-ending race in Abu Dhabi. Copies were sent to rights holders CVC, International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt and team principals.
"In our common interest and for a sustainable future of the sport, we request you, together with the other stakeholders, to implement a more equitable distribution," Fernley said in the letter, details of which were leaked to the media.
The letter, sent on behalf of Force India, Sauber and Lotus, comes after the teams failed to make progress in talks with Ecclestone at the last two races. Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya had told reporters in Brazil that Ecclestone had said he would discuss the situation with CVC's co-chairman Donald Mackenzie in London. The Indian said at the time that he would send Ecclestone a "gentle reminder" if he had not heard by the end of last week and Fernley said Monday's letter should be seen in that context.
Fernley said there was no intention to cast a shadow over a race which will decide whether Lewis Hamilton or Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg takes the title. "The focus should be on a wonderful championship finale and it is not our intention to disrupt that," added Fernley.
However, his letter made clear that the smaller teams were concerned plans were afoot to turn Formula One into a two-tier sport divided between constructors and those using 'customer' chassis or beefed-up 'Super GP2' cars. It spoke of a 'questionable cartel' of the rights holder, Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Williams who controlled "both the governance of Formula One and, apparently, the distribution of...funds."
The three teams said the new V6 turbo hybrid power units and installation costs amounted to an average of $43 million for them, or 70-80 percent of revenues received. Two teams have gone into administration this season, with Marussia closing down entirely.