Formula 1 is on a “dangerous path” due to the rising costs to run an F1 team, Volkswagen Group director Bernhard Gobmeier has warned.
F1 wants to see a fairer spread of income between the teams once the Concorde Agreement expires in 2020 says F1 chiefs Chase Carey and Ross Brawn. There have been talks in FIA about introducing certain standard parts to cut down the costs and bring parity in terms of team’s budgets.
Smaller teams like Force India are urging Liberty media to find ways to reduce costs to help them sustain while Gobmeier warned that the smaller teams are “walking a very dangerous path”.
The New segment for Electric car racing, Formula E has seen many major manufacturers sign up for the series, including two brands under the Volkswagen umbrella, Porsche and Audi.
During his recent visit to India, Gobmeier said, “Formula 1 is on a dangerous path. It is expensive. Most of the teams, apart from the big four, have financial problems. And tracks cannot pay what they are asking for,”
“Due to its expensive nature, they are walking a very dangerous path in my personal opinion. We see it everywhere.”
He added: “Mercedes has over 1,500 people working on the F1 project. That is not even considering the suppliers though it is not so much.
“It is probably 2,000 people on two cars. You should consider how expensive wages are in England and how expensive material is.”
Americans are doing a better job in controlling the costs in sports than Europeans says Gobmeier.
“In America, they have cost control on their minds. They manage it well,” he noted. “In Europe, there are a lot of different categories. In some of them, cost control is really good. But, F1 is completely out of range and so is the WEC.”
He feels F1 should offer a better show if they want to attract bigger sponsors.
“The number of sponsors is going down. The big sponsors, like the cigarette companies, are not there anymore. The small sponsors are also reducing,” he said.
“The number of sponsors is going down and so are the spectator numbers. At the same time, the cost is increasing. Something is not fitting there. They have to make the races more spectacular.”
MotoGP better than F1
Gobmeier, who used to head the Ducati MotoGP, believes MotoGP is a far better show than F1.
“MotoGP is above F1 from the show point of view. It is 100 times better. There is no comparison. MotoGP, its supporting races and World Superbikes are way better than F1,” Gobmeier said.
“Theoretically, MotoGP has the potential to commercially capitalise on its popularity. And they do. We have Ducati in our group and we can see what difference in sponsorship can be achieved.
“Ducati is achieving the biggest sponsorship. Even Porsche, Bentley, Audi do not achieve such big sponsorship. Ducati is special and comparable to Ferrari and the sponsors get real value.
“They do good activation at the races, both in terms of media, hospitality, programmes and other things. The car companies are not so good in that.”