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Bernie says, "It's my show", Renault boss disagrees
Bernie says, "It's my show", Renault boss disagrees
Posted By:   |  11 Jun 2009   |  10:49 am GMT  |  52 comments

There are two contrasting quotes in the press today. The first comes from Bernie Ecclestone, highlighting what he brings to F1 and why it is the show that it is, while the president of Renault, Carlos Ghosn, has come out and said that the teams should, “take back control of Formula 1”

Bernie was speaking to the Daily Express and said, “It costs a lot of money to set up a series.

“Right now, we supply the venues at no cost to the teams, they roll up with all their sponsors’ names and money and race in front of a huge television audience which I supply through the contracts we win.

“That money flows back to the teams and they spend it. It would be different when they have to provide all the venues, hire their own race people, find their own television companies – and we have the best – and promote it.”

Meanwhile Ghosn has made his feelings very clear, “We are the ones doing the show, who bring in the technology, who bring in the engines, who hire the drivers. And if we do the show, the revenues of Formula 1 must come back to us,” he was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.

“Today we pay to be in Formula 1; that is not normal. Intermediaries have made enough money with this. We want to take back control of Formula 1.”

Meanwhile representatives of FOTA met yesterday in London to finalise their approach to FIA president Max Mosley at a meeting which is happening in London this morning. Three of the team bosses have been detailed to attend the meeting, Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali, Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Toyota’s John Howett.

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Just when you thought the spat was over...

Is this just Renault building up an excuse to leave F1 as a full manufacturer? There are rumours flying around of a Brawn-style buyout of Renault by Briatore with Renault supplying the engines only. I mean, how French is a company based in the Midlands with an Italian principal, British base and Brazillian and Spanish driver?


It does cost a lot of money to setup and run a championship series. But not hundreds of millions, the sorts of figures CVC takes out of the sport.

The F1 teams _share_ 50% of the revenues, CVC takes the other 50%.

The champions league for example, redistributes 97 odd % of its revenues back to its participants. So F1 is completely off the reservation in terms of the sheer 'exploitation' by its commercial rights holder.

And indeed it is exploitation in every sense of the word. And we are seeing the effects of such cynical exploitation with so many Grands Prix in the third world in front of empty grand stands.


"we supply the venues at no cost to the teams" - I love it bernie! Classic line there.


Although I'm not the biggest fan of Ecclestone I'm not sure the teams should be running the sport either. Would it not be a case of the lunatics taking over the asylum?


so, it`s all about sharing the money. not about who organises the show. It`s my opinion.


That's right boys keep pouring petrol on the flames from both sides. Honestly!


We all know how much money Bernie has made out of F1. His comments in that article are a joke.


If the News of the world can get a secret cam into a basement in Chelsea, cant we get one into the meeting room?

I would pay decent money to be a fly on the wall!!

Peter (the other one)


Part of what is F1 today is due to Mr. E, but also in the last 10-12 years manufacturers have invested ten of billions on improving the show, showcasing the best technology on earth (up to what the regulations permit), selecting and developing the best drivers, bringing blue chip sponsors, so at the end, everybody has put his effort, but I think the risk is greater for teams, Bernie has a lot of responsabilities, but his business is charging money to promoters, organize the show and them distribute some of the sharings, his risk is minimun, the teams need to handle all kind of operational expenses and some of it is covered by sponsors, but what will happen if FOM fails? That's why from my humble opinion the distribution should be at least 70-30 to the teams if not 80-20.


Bernie is full of it! yes he "supplies the venues and tv companies" but correct me if i am wrong THEY ALL PAY HIM FOR IT, and in huge amounts, if that wasnt the case we wouldnt be racing in these countries with no motorsport heritage at all, as the real fans would all have races in there countries, just look at Turkey's stands!!!!!!!!!!!

So the idea that it cost him money and that he is giving the teams all of this out of the goodness of his heart is a load of old balls!

Bernie and Max are so out of touch that its embarrasing! why wont these old fossils just go away?

I dont think the break away series is right, as we know what happened to Cart/IRL, but simply these power hungry dinosaurs need to move on.

FOM can organise, FIA can moderate, the teams choose the rules, and put on the show, and most of all provide the ENTERTAINMENT!!!


I think one has to watch Bernie very carefully in all this. He's very good at doing exactly the opposite of what he says in public. I'd be surprised if Bernie has not also explored the possibility of lining up with the manufacturers on this and leaving Mosley and the FIA shafted, despite their longterm association and presumably some binding commitments. After all, the manufacturers are where the real money is and I can't imagine Bernie is too enthusiastic about F1 without Ferrari, McLaren, Renault et al.


Bernie, if nobody came through the gates on race day or watched the TV on Sunday there would be no F1. Can Bernie really be so out of touch that he has completely forgotten why sport survives. No fans paying money means no sport.


and finally we arrive at the nub of it all, money!!

Both sides need to appreciate their relationship is symbiotic. Every orchestra needs performers (the teams) and a conductor (Bernie)

I think that it is interesting that BE is a billionaire as a result of his involvement in the sport whereas in comparison the teams need billionaires (or corporations) to be in the sport

IMHO the balance of money is wrong

I seriously hope the respective parties find a solution before close of play tomorrow...


Both Valid points. Sounds like they need each other :o)


I know Bernie's got a cheek which has got him where he is today, but this is really pushing things:

“Right now, we supply the venues at no cost to the teams"

It's not like it's at a cost to f1 at all, considering the venues are paying huge fees to CVC/Bernie for the privilege of holding the races in the first place. a lot of the other points on promotion I'll grant him, but implying that the circuits are something F1 supply to teams at a cost seems disingenuous.


Right now, we supply the venues at no cost to the teams, they roll up with all their sponsors’ names and money and race in front of a huge television audience which I supply through the contracts we win.

Talk about disingenuous. He is right, he does supply the venues at no cost. But the thing is, the venues pay Bernie. Bernie doesn't pay the venues a thing.

If the F1 teams did their own series the venues would be paying the F1 teams (but less than the crazy fees Bernie charges).

This is pure spin from Bernie, its certainly not his true understanding of economics. If it is, then he shouldn't be running the show at all.


Carlos Ghosn's comments are exactly why the manufacturers must not be allowed to dictate the future of F1. Sure they supply the technolgy and the engines and the drivers - but only for as long as it suits them.
Once the cost benefit ratio swings back towards the cost end of the scale they dump F1 like a sack of spuds and run away. Just like Honda did (twice) and like Peugeot and Ford and Porsche and Renault etc.
What's to say that if they got all their concessions from the FIA and gridded up next year - if car sales (or cola sales) continue to slide, these manufacturers will drop F1 in a flash to pacify their shareholders.
As for "F1 needs Ferrari as much as Ferrari needs F1" - think back to the late 80's when Fiat was on the ropes financially - how easily the sport could have been without them.


James, lots of rumours on the back of that statement and surrounding articles. Some are saying that Renault has told it's suppliers to "do what they need to protect their business in future" as Renault F1 is uncertain of it's future in F1. Other rumours about Renault selling off "pit-garages". Briatore F1 for 2010? Anything more you can tell us about this speculation? Go on you know you want to!


To my knowledge the FOM is owned by CVC who has a debt of billions of dollars because of this. The revenues of the FOM which are not returned to the teams are used to decrease that debt, so it's unlikely that CVC will agree that all revenues go back to the teams, because then they have no way to repay that debt.


F1 is not a show, most races are pretty boring. specially those on tracks designed by Herman Tilke


I like how Bernie conviniently forgets to mention how much each race track pays him in order to be "chosen" to host a GP, and that only half F1's income (if that) ends up back at the teams to spend...

Bernie is pivotal to the success of F1 as an operation, sure, but lets have no doubts that he's not worth 50% of F1's value alone!


Ghosn said 'We want to take back control of Formula 1'...
When did they have control of it?


Bernie is flapping in the wind and making a lot of noise just so he can convince himself - even if he can't convince anyone else.

Tracks - not a problem. Plenty of countries have tracks that would welcome an F1 race. Bernie can have Donnington with his rag bag of Mosley drop-outs (teams run at less than the price of a footballer - insane!), whilst we'll have Silverstone and the F1 heritage teams. Not a problem there in any country.

TV - all countries have more than one station. No problem. Even if you took the UK as an example, FOTA could go to ITV or even to the BBC and just race on different weekends. I doubt the contract Bernie has with the BBC stops the Beeb from covering other motor racing series. And their contract will expire with time and what will Bernie have then????

Race people - Bernie is struggling here. People will flock to work for FOTA teams.

Bernie is like the story of the King's New Clothes .... he thinks he's got everything but in reality he has nothing that other people can't get.

I'll be happy to set up another series with FOTA and take on the Bernie role .... save that I would make sure the bulk of the money went into racing and into giving the fans a proper spectacle at a decent price.

Nick Robertson

To be quite frank, I have to agree with the teams here. There wouldn't be a show if there were no cars, so why Bernie thinks that he's the one who should be getting all the revenues is ridiculous. There should be a greater share going to the teams!


The stars of the show are the teams and drivers. Take them away from the F1 show then the quality of the show drops significantly. Bernie should take the initiative to keep the teams in F1 ans not fight with them


It's obviously not the teams' show. If it were they would be committed to going racing, whether it's financially viable or not. We've seen in the past that if they can't make the money, they're going to leave...

In any case, isn't it our sport? They don't go racing for nothing.


Bernie has in my eyes a valid point.

FOM is a production company which works behind the scene and has invested in the F1 rights just like TV production companies invest in shows like let's say (for the fun of it) Hell’s Kitchen.

No matter how famous the participants are outside the show and become due to the show the production company won't let them run its show or make ultimate demands right before a live transmission.

Other things a production company wouldn't stand for is participants blocking for entries of other participants, blocking of suggestions to make the shown gain more audience, blocking for salaries to the new entrants, scandals and copy right infringement.

The teams themselves could have bought the rights to F1 but they didn't, case closed. Or so it would be had F1 been an ordinary case but the problem is that the stars in the show are richer than the production company.

Most of the teams came to F1 and stayed due to the prestige of the sport, they didn't do it of charity.
They are like Susan Boyle, they brought talent to a show for their own gain... better stop, I seem to have lost the red thread.


You can only "take back" what was yours in the first place. As long as I can remember it was never in the hands of the Road Car Manufacturers - they seem to breeze in and out when it suits them financially or as they put it "they have achieved their objectives" - and Renault seem come in and out quite regularly. Their first forray wasn't until 1977 some 27 years after the first Championship was first run they then withdrew in as manufacturer 1985 - just remaining as an engine supplier in 1986 before disappearing totally until it's return as an engine supplier in 1989 with Williams. hung around for 10 years then knobbed off again 1997 ! -not putting their name to car again until 2002 (although they bought Bennetton in 2000)

This pattern can be seen from most "Road Car Manufacturers" they are in it purely for the commercial/marketing benefits and are happy to drop out as and when they feel like it.

BMW didn't join up 'til the 1980's as an engine supplier then disappeared for a decade before retuning with Williams prior to purchasing Sauber.

Toyota didn't part-take in F1 until 2002! and Howett wants to be soem motuh piece for them - they haven't even won a race yet !

The list goes on. They seem to be parasites who have been happy to watch the Championship develop over the years with the Independent "Pathfinders" like Ferrari, Williams, Tyrell, Mclaren, Toleman e.t.c. with Bernie Ecclestone, before piling in with their pots of money to turn it into some kind of "Arms Race" Now they want to be Pirates and "Take it Back" ?? Jees they've got some Front ! Grrrrrrrrrr


Do you know what time the fia roster will be released tomorrow? I'm stuck here on the far side of the world, with my stomach in knots.


People may be wondering how the teams will survive without F1, but the FIA may be wondering itself how Max will get out of the corner he's painted himself into... all parties being 'too clever by half' has made this crunch point when the solutions to budget could have been implemented without the big shock announcement... surely this could have been done better.

I think stakeholders have let down the sport, and therefore the fans... it might be fun in the boardrooms with all this argy bargy, but what about the big picture longer term?

Sort of like banking early this century, really...


Funny thing is Bernie does not pay for the races, last time i checked the tracks pay him to host a race. Bernie has estblished a produc, i agree with him there, but the teams which have made the product successfull are getting screwed plain and simple.

You cannot justify the promotor earns more then all the teams combined. In every other sporting catagory, the promotor earns at most 10 maybe 15% of total revenue, and the teams should earn the remainder of the total revenue's not just the tv rights.

I still support a breakaway series, which will kill f1, within 2 years the teams will be asked to come back and funding will be realigned as required. This is the issue with f1 today. If Monies are distrubted eqiutably there would be no budget or money issues. Plain and simple


That the venues come free only reflects the outrageous deals that Bernie has done with the circuit owners. Facing a 10% increase in their fee each year it is blindlingly obvious that the circuits can no longer support such a deal when Joe Public decides it is cheaper to take the family to New York for a week than go to the GP.

Unless a better deal is done with the circuits then the "budget cap crisis" will become insignificant by comparison if they have nowhere to play.


Ecclestone should keep on talking, and the teams should get their good friend Mr Mario Monti to have a listen to the man's inane ramblings, he will invariably shoot himself in the foot and Mr Monti's ECC will dearly love to eviscerate him.

Ecclestone is messing with Ghosn, a man who has achieved far more than he will ever do. No more team principals and the so called "piranaha club" calibre of fake tough guys. This is one of the most powerful in world industry. Beautiful words from Ghosn. It's time the manufacturers in particular woke up to the fact that F1 should be a revenue stream for them.

The sport belongs to the teams, the F1 business model if you even want to call it that is broken and it's time the teams did take it back. Ecclestone's show was so successful at Turkey that no one bothered to come watch.

Breakaway guys. Let's rid ourselves of these[mod] once and for all.


When bernie takes off his rose tinted glasses he might actually see the real world.He isn't the only promoter in the world just the greediest.FOTA should split take a series to IMG they do a prity good job of promoting world wide sporting events. Take the cars back to 2008 minus all the silly stick on bits give them slicks and go racing.Let the fans decide what they will pay to watch, at the moment they are not watching F1. It can all be laid at the feet of two people,with ego's the size of aircraft carriers.


Bernie was instrumental in the creation of the modern F1 show. But that was then, and this is now. He's no longer investing in the long-term success of the business. He's extracting as much cash in the short-term as possible to service the enormous debt behind his big sale of the business to CVC.

If he/CVC were not in this situation, I think we would see a very different approach to growing the TV and ticket-paying fan audience.

Clearly, we the fans are so low on the priority list that our wishes will remain ignored.

Perhaps the sport needs to be governed like other professional sports (NHL, NFL, MLB) where the team owners appoint a governer, and they live by the rules they create themselves. Seems to work in North America reasonably well. And the players/owners get the revenues, not some 3rd party who decades ago struck the deal of a lifetime for the commercial rights.


Right now, we supply the venues at no cost to the teams, they roll up with all their sponsors’ names and money and race in front of a huge television audience which I supply through the contracts we win.

Good god.... Bernie is a real life charity... I must have missed that part 🙂


I think F1 and everything that goes with F1 is quite a bit more than just the "Teams" - at the very least, F1 is comprised of:

1) The Teams;
2) The Organisers;
3) The Supporters; and
4) The History of F1.

Now, if we agree that the Teams should run the sport then what what should our views be concerning the banking system which, at the very least, comprise:

1) The Banks etc.;
2) The Governments;
3) The Depositors; and
4) The idea and years of practice which comprise Capitalism.

In the past decade of loose credit, governments had been ceding their natural supervisory authority believing that the Banks themselves are best able to supervise the banking system. Look where that got us? Governments are now hastily beating a retreat and their taxpayers are picking up the tab to sort out the mess.

What happens if we let the Teams run the show ... and they cause an equivalent mess in F1? Who would be left to save the show? If the organisers of F1 were to be removed, their resources (being 50% of F1 revenues) depleted and were replaced by team reps deciding on the basis of majority rules ... who could save F1? F1 isn't sufficiently integral to society that governments would step in and save the spectacle IMHO.

In any case - who are the "Teams" in the first place. This is a nebulous term the FOTA teams are using to wrap themselves in. FOTA is dominated by "manufacturers" of road cars and, as has been noted by this forum previously,
teams like Renault have come and gone and come again ... and F1 didn't miss a beat.

I believe the concept of "Teams" should be broader - and encompass past teams (no longer with us), current teams, as well as those that we might want competing in F1 in the future. Why is it that FOTA teams are now perceived to be 100% of the teams in existence? It is as if F1 has no history of itself if it thought this way.

The question of what are "Teams" also asks about the future. What type of teams would we like to see? Teams like Toyota with massive amounts of funding and who have only recently entered F1? Or teams you could imagine who were put together by a few passionate but talented people? Privateers teams in which the spirit of the individuals involved can make a difference?

But "hold on" we might also say - shouldn't F1 also embody the pinnacle of racing. Shouldn't F1 have the best engines, the fastest cars, the most talented drivers?

Well, F1 has never had the fastest cars without limitation - if you're looking for flat out straight line speed, try watching drag racing. Or the few who strap jet engines on to wheels and glide down the surface of salt lakes to achieve their land speed records. Heck, aren't the average speeds of IndyCars on banked circuits greater than those of current F1 cars on most of the 2009 circuits?

Is F1 about the best engines? What then are the best engines? Best is hard to define unless you have rules to define "best" within. Same with "best" drivers.

F1 needs it rules. And F1's version of the pinnacle of racing has always been subjective. And even though the FIA and Bernie are old fossils, they represent a pillar of F1 that should be there ... in perpetuity. And I don't think the FOTA teams should replace them.

Apologies for the ramble. Cheers 😛


Carlos's words were somewhat ironic seeing as that is how Bernie came to own the rights in the first place.

James time for a short history of F1 ownership and how Bernie rose from the ashes of his team?

Again I find it even, more ironic that Ghosn whose company is now in trouble, is himself, one of the main contributors to it by means of his major part in the globalisation and rationalisation of the supply chain during the late 90's and early 00's . His cost cutting and supplier squeezing left the component suppliers exposed and vulnerable with extremely low margins only viable at high volume; as that volume has now halved (or more) it means that almost any supplier of importance is in trouble. A clear case of pots and kettles here.

Steven Pritchard

Reading this article is like listening to two children who need their heads banging together.

Bernie cannot have formula 1 without the manufacturers, and by the same token the manufacturers would lose out if the F1 brand was lost.

Enough of the pointless posturing already and reach a compromise. Manufacturers should accept they need to be capped (they are sooooo bad at self-regulating cost), and Bernie should open that wallet of his (I bet the Queen blinks) and give back more of those TV revenues (which would also help with the costs).

I'd like to read about formula 1 racing again please.... I've had enough politics for one life time!


.... and great costs to the fans, if I may add.


If that's the case, then why are the BBC paying so much? After all it's the taxpayers' money they're spending, so how can a public service broadcaster be allowed to overpay by 100% what the next rival broadcaster would / could pay?

Surely the BBC could adopt its best poker face and threaten to withdraw unless the fee was dropped, and as long as Bernie knew that Sky / Setanta etc couldn't stump up (and even if they made an offer Bernie needs F1 shown on terrestrial TV to please the sponsors etc) then he'd have to capitulate, no?


But FOTA would get all the money. Not the few percent Bernie gives them.


Yes James, but i would bet that all current broadcaster would be telling bernie where to go an stick it because the value of there investment in f1 is one fifth of what it was because 8 teams have left in one hit. Bernie would have a responsibility to fielding a min of 20 cars, Ferrari and mclaren being apart of them.

I dare say the BBC would have something in relation to certain teams and potentially even drivers in there contract. The attraction to BBC would be the popularity inturn selling tv commerical at high commerical $$.

I still think each rteam would earn 50 to 100million each at a min if they start a new series. between tv and other sponsorship deals.


The teams cannot manage themselves, let alone their sport, on their own. They are too diverse in their priorities and financial situations, and they are too transient. I think the power in F1 should be much closer to the teams that it is now, but they need a commissioner to [try to] represent them all.


Yep. To reiterate what I've said elsewhere, the car companies exist solely to make profits for their owners by selling cars. The minute they dont sell enough, they'll be gone, just like Honda. They have no loyalty to the fans, they have no loyalty to each other, they have no loyalty to the sport. Just like Honda. Money talks, BS walks.

Ahmad Albashrawi

That is a valid point Hendo, but you are talking about two absolute extremes: Max and Bernie running the show or manufacturers. I think your point is true manufacturers should not run the show by their own, but the other extreme is even much destructive to the sport. I have been a hardcore fan for F1 since the early 90’s and I always had that habit once a race starts, I try to minimize blinking my eyes to maximize my enjoying time. Last race in Turkey, I simply couldn’t care less about the race. Max says “This is our sport” and Bernie adds, “We supply venues at no costs”. This great sport has officially turned out to be family-based business and here lies the problem. Max thinks about an idea while drinking his tea and assumes it’s his right to implement tomorrow, coz it is his own business. Likewise, Bernie feels all the money should be his own, and he is doing some charity stuff by allowing F1 teams to run free of charge!

We can cite as many situations where F1 teams left the sport in the past, the simple fact is that they did so coz they had no other choices, on the other hand Max and Bernie never has gone through a situation where F1 was not beneficial for them and I am sure that whenever that happens, they will change the whole idea of their family business or drop it all together. I won’t be surprised if they appoint their sons to run the business after them!


Actually, that Susan Boyle analogy isn't too bad.

That puts Bernie in the Simon Cowell role, with Max more of a Piers Morgan figure.

Looking at it like that, with Ross Brawn and Flav the F1 equivalents to DJ Talent and Stavros Flatley respectively, it does validate Bernie's "this is my show" argument somehwat.


"we supply venues at great cost to the venues" may have been more appropriate.

Joaquín Correa

Well he IS out of touch with things, he publicly admitted he never watches the races, he just stays until the race starts and he's off.
Look it up if you want he said it last week when he wasn't able to attend the Turkish GP due to an infection and was asked about it, on a side note. So knowing I fully agree with what you say.
The F1 should listen to it's fans or otherwise it will just disappear I thank Bernie for what he has made for the sport but he's time has passed, same goes for Mosley.


True but the fees from the broadcasters would be much lower in that scenario. ITV couldn't pay half what the BBC is paying for F1 now


MOD: I meant:

TV – all countries have MORE one than one station. .....


10am UK time is my information

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