FIA president Jean Todt says Formula One’s payment structure is flawed, but admits the organisation he is fronting cannot intervene to correct the situation.
The current distribution of funds in the sport is heavily weighted towards the bigger teams, with F1 owners CVC Capital Partners handing around $250 million (£165 million) in extra monies to Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren, and Williams on top of the normal prize money.
These revenues, known as ‘premium payments’ and secured in early 2012 under bilateral agreements, are mentioned in the contracts signed by all F1 teams with the commercial rights holder and Bernie Ecclestone.
“The FIA has nothing to do with that. It is a link to the teams, the manufacturers and the commercial rights holder,” Todt is quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“Clearly it is a question if you give to the richest the most money and you give to the poorest the least money guess what happens?
“But I know exactly where I have the power and the strength and I don't have the power to say 'give this much money to this one relative to this one'. It is not in our hands.
“So in this case let's try to identify regulations which are not penalising people who have less money than the others.”
Todt doubts F1 teams can address the uneven money split of funds themselves due to vested interests, so the Frenchman suggests having a specific governor to deal with the matter.
“We have people who have a boat of 50 metres, we have people that don't have a drink of water. That is life. That is why I say that in our golden gate of Formula 1 we should be facing sensible people and doing what is good for our sport.
“Unfortunately very often it is self-interest rather than global interest which is discussed. I agree it would be much healthier if you have a good governing body giving rules that would make things much more equal for everybody.
“We should have a governor for that, so if they want I am very happy to take that on board.”
F1’s payment structure and governance is currently under close scrutiny from the European Commission following a complaint by Sauber and Force India.
Todt, who has also ordered an independent audit of the FIA, is confident the outcome of the investigation can only be beneficial to the sport’s ruling body.
“When people are threatening, [and taking it to the] European Commission and things like that I am very relaxed as it can only go in favour of the FIA.”