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Does this comment officially mark me down as the oldest fan of JA on F1? Given how quiet things are just now it’s great to review what has now become a substantial archive, and jog a few memories along the way.
$$$ A Change of Heart $$$
As reported in Autosport Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says Formula 1 teams have concerns about ticket prices being too high. And to express this concern they’ve broached the subject with sport supremo Bernie Ecclestone. This is in response to falling attendance and diminishing viewership.
$898.00 (CAD) is what it cost my friend and I to buy two tickets and go the Canadian Grand Prix this year. Add on all our other expenses in travelling to Montreal even from Toronto and we are well qualified to say a “weekend at Bernie’s is expensive.”
No surprise when you consider the sport sold it’s “soul” to CVC Capital in 2006. While I can’t pretend to understand all the transactions that have occurred since, it’s reported in Forbes Magazines that CVC has earned $8.2 billion from it’s investment since (or a 751.3% return on investment). Making things even juicer for CVC is that Formula One has consistently rising earning due to a built-in 10% hosting fee increase each year (unique to almost every other industry). Staggering amounts that you know just can’t be good for the long-term health of Formula One.
So what does this mean (you’ll need to read the Forbes article above to figure it out)? In simple terms I think it means the rich teams get richer (Ferrari, Mclaren, Red Bull for instance), poor teams stay poor (Sauber, Marussia, Caterham for instance) with the rest somewhere in the middle and CVC and company scopes all the cash for mega returns.
Remember the old CAN-AM Sportscar days? Mclaren dominated it true, but then big-budget Porsche came into the series with their 1000 HP 917-10 racecar and blew everyone away so that small teams went from small chance to no chance and McLaren (not then power house it is today) went from hero to zero in a flash! The series started slow decline almost immediately until finally crashing and burning to death very soon after.
With so much money coming out of the sport (and not being reinvested) and so much going to the favoured few big teams the profit drive will bury Formula One over time by squeezing everyone else out of the game. Decisions will not be made for the long-term health of the sport and short-term greed will be the poison in the well.
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