Caterham F1 owner Tony Fernandes says it is “not essential” that his team beat Marussia and finish 10th in the constructors’ championship this season.
There are 11 teams but prize-money is only awarded to the top 10 teams in the constructors’ championship. Caterham beat Marussia to 10th in the final race of the season last year, but currently trail their rivals in 2013 with five races remaining.
“It’s not essential,” said Fernandes in October’s edition of the JA on F1 podcast. “I don’t think I’ll be able to raise enough to cover the payment. If we don’t, we don’t, we’ll have to buy one less football player at QPR.”
Fernandes, who was speaking at the launch of Caterham’s latest road car – the AeroSeven concept, has been around Formula 1 for 10 years, first as a sponsor of Williams and second as Caterham team owner. The Malaysian-businessman said teams must bickering and work together to find a solution to bring down costs.
“It costs crazy money to run an F1 team now,” he said. “Back when I watched F1, it was stickers galore with everyone fighting to be a sponsor. But reality bites and people need to think a bit longer term than they are now.
“For years I was promised a sport that would cost less money. For me that’s a major failure of the sport. Nothing has got cheaper everything as got more expensive, so I’m not sure what the benefits are to be honest.
“I’ve always said you have to earn your place at the table, but the difference between the top and bottom teams in F1 is dissimilar to football. In football, teams at the top don’t get so much more than those at the bottom of the league. I think it needs to be equalized in F1.
“People have to stop taking the dog-eat-dog approach because it’s a short term approach. If you don’t have a sport any more, what’s the point? We had a group called Fota but everyone tried to screw each other – and they’re only ones to blame. The teams missed an opportunity but ultimately, it’s the owners of the sport who have to be real. Is what’s happening healthy for the sport?”
You can hear more Tony Fernandes in the October edition of the JA on F1 podcast It also features interviews with four-time world champion Alain Prost, legendary commentator Murray Walker and FIA presidential candidate David Ward.