F1 targets costs as credit crunch bites

Thu Oct 2, 2008 8:51am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One looked in fine fettle at Sunday's stunning night-time grand prix in Singapore but the worry lines are always more apparent in the cold light of day.

Money is the lifeblood of the billion-dollar sport and, with the credit crunch biting deep into the global economy, those involved know they cannot continue to spend like there is no tomorrow.

"Formula One is in rude good health...and I think that it can stay in great health provided that we take action," Williams team chief executive Adam Parr told Reuters.

"Formula One is marketing itself very well in terms of establishing new races in key areas but we need to do more.

"Costs have grown exponentially in the last 10 years and it's time to put an end to that."

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley warned in July that Formula One was "becoming unsustainable" and the global economic climate has only deteriorated since then.

Honda-backed Super Aguri folded in May, leaving Formula One with 10 teams and no prospect of anyone new coming in. Some insiders fear others could also head for the exit unless changes are made.

Toro Rosso, co-owned by Red Bull energy drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, have a guaranteed budget for 2009 but their future remains uncertain beyond that.   Continued...

<p>Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa (bottom R) of Brazil navigates past a corner on the Marina Bay street circuit during the Singapore F1 Grand Prix September 28, 2008. REUTERS/Tim Chong</p>