English business magnate, former president and CEO of Formula One Management, Bernie Ecclestone, has recently defended his position and contribution in the decision to offer Scuderia Ferrari a $100 million bonus in order for the Italian team to remain in Formula 1 on the long term.
Scuderia Ferrari has received the annual pay-out for its special status as the only team to have been present in F1 ever since the first season. The extra money offered to the Maranello side was itself worth double the total amount received by now-defunct Manor Racing. The situation may now change, given that new Formula 1 owners Liberty have hinted several times at the possibilty of cutting the bonus payout. But in an interview with Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater, Bernie Ecclestone explained why it came about:
“Why did that happen in the first place? It’s very simple. Former owners CVC at that time wanted to have a public offering. We wanted to make sure before they went into the market we could guarantee the teams would be there for a very long time. When we looked at all the teams to see who could actually commit to 2020 – and when they committed would be there, because a lot of the teams say ‘we’ll sign it’. But they could have signed anything and then go out of business the next week. It wouldn’t have made any difference. We got a real commitment right from the top of the big companies so they needed to be rewarded for making their long term commitment. They said ‘we need something for that’ and quite rightly so. And that’s what happened.” – Ex-Formula 1 CEO said, as reported by Sky Sports.
Bernie Ecclestone then comments on the possibity of Scuderia Ferrari leaving the competition if the bonus were to be cut out: “Someone told me the other day that since Formula 1 started we have had more than 70 teams, which I didn’t believe. But knowing the person that told me, it must be true. Nothing lasts forever so you can never tell. If someone upsets Ferrari they could stop. Probably Mercedes will win another couple of championships, then maybe they’ll say ‘we’ve seen it and done it.'” – Ecclestone concluded.