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2017 F1™ Team Standings
We go behind-the-scenes with SFI Deputy Team Principle, Bob Fernley, to see what really powers a leading F1™ Team.
What is your role? Effectively ‘de facto’ Team Principle, but in reality, I’m the one who makes the wrong decisions!
You’ve been pushing for a more equitable share of the sport’s revenues. What model would you like to see F1™ adopt? Something along the lines of the English Premiere League, where payments are merit based.
How satisfied are you with Force India’s achievements? What can we expect for the second half of the year? The team’s race craft, reliability and strategy calls have been excellent. The second half of the season will be about maintaining this and improving the chassis performance.
For pounds spent in F1™, Force India are world champions. What is the secret to efficient spending? A lean and mean structure! We watch every pound spent, and have a dedicated race and factory team who get the most value out of every opportunity.
In relation to sports revenues, what is the estimated disparity between the top funded teams and the bottom teams in terms of numbers? I can’t go into details, but there is a significant difference up and down the grid in terms of basic prize money – perhaps as much as 50 or 60%. Yes, success should be rewarded, but the disparity created by the bonus payments to certain teams creates an unfair advantage. This reduces competition throughout the grid, which short-changes the fans.
In your opinion, what is the most costly aspect of running an F1™ team? All F1™ teams have fixed costs – we have to travel to the races and operate the cars. Salary costs are another big expense; if you want the best people, you have to pay competitive salaries. Car build and car development is expensive, particularly over the winter months, so you have to plan your cash flow carefully.
How much of the budget goes into building and developing this year’s car, versus investing in 2018’s? Much of the development work for 2017 will be relevant to the 2018 car as well, which means we can push car developments until late this year. There comes a point when you have to switch focus to the new car. We have a set budget for development this year, and it’s important that we don’t compromise next year’s car.