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GP Week : Issue 185
F1 >>> nEWs Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon has said his team should receive equal treatment to that given to its rivals by Formula One’s commercial rights holder in being allowed access to the sport ’s prize fund, as the minnows find it tough to sur vive on their limited budget, let alone compete with the big boys. One of three new teams to enter the sport in 2010, Marussia is the only team on the grid that does not have an agreement with Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, meaning the team cannot share in the pot of prize money traditionally on offer to the top -ten finishers in the constructors’ championship. The Banbury-based racers are in the highly unusual position whereby – unlikely though it may be – even if they won the 2013 constructors’ title, they would not earn a single penny in prize money. On top of that, an additional $10 million payment made to the new teams as an incentive for them to enter the sport – and remain there – was also recently ended by Ecclestone, further straining Marussia’s relatively small budget. “I find myself as part of our management team in a different situation to the other gentlemen in this press conference in that our team doesn’t have an agreement with the commercial rights holder,” Lowdon said at a press conference over the British Grand Prix weekend in which he was joined by the bosses of the Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, and Lotus teams. “I think everybody here would agree – whether it’s a sporting matter or a financial matter or commercial – all you ask for is a level playing field and for all teams to be treated equally. I think it’s a reasonably straightforward thing that we’re looking for.” Formula One today finds itself in a parlous state. The spiralling costs of competing in the top flight of single- seater motorsport have been a major worry for teams for a few years, but the teams face a significant increase in costs thanks to a combination of the impending switch to the new V6 turbo engines, the return of in -season testing, and a hike in entry fees by the governing FIA. Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) president and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has previously warned that at least seven of the eleven teams competing in the sport today will have a battle on their hands just to survive. “L ike everybody else here I have an obligation, together with our management team, to our employees and their families,” Lowdon said. “These are people who are earning their livelihoods in Formula One and I have an obligation to them.” LOWDON: sOME TEAMs MORE EVEN THAN OTHERs 9 GPWEEK.com // 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: