Liberty takes aim at Ferrari's $100m bonus

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Formula One's new owners Liberty Media Group are targeting some of Ferrari's unique perks for competing in the sport, including their guaranteed $100 million annual prize pay-out.

Ferrari is the only team which has competed in the championship ever since it began in 1950, and as a result has built up a number of financial and organisation benefits.

Ferrari receives at least $100 million in prize money each year compared with backmarkers Manor and Sauber who receive only half that amount, according to Forbes business magazine.

But Liberty wants to see a more even playing field in the sport and is aiming to reverse some of the benefits accrued by Ferrari and other top teams in the sport.

“If you’re Ferrari, you have enormous sponsorship revenue that goes directly to you," Liberty’s chief executive Greg Maffei said. "That’s going to be impacted more positively by great races.

"So thinking about balancing the team payments, so they’re a little more balanced and creates more fairness, has to be weighed, in Ferrari’s mind, I would expect, by the fact that creating a great platform helps our sponsorship revenue, too, so there’s give-and-take."

Liberty is also reported to be considering introducing a budget cap to the sport to cap research and development costs.

One unnamed source last month said: "It makes no sense to have teams spending the better part of $400 million. That money is not doing anything good for fans. It is just wasted on competing on technology.”

However Ferrari chief executive Sergio Marchionne came out as opposed to the idea of a cap, saying that previous attempts to restrict spending had been completely ineffective: "We haven’t saved a Euro. We have simply redistributed our spending to other areas.

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