March 2, 2015 / 4:48 PM / 3 years ago

Ecclestone offers cash advance for smaller teams

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has offered advance revenue payments to Sauber, Force India and Lotus to help with cash-flow problems ahead of the new season starting in Australia next week.

Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone arrives at the Yas Marina circuit before the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix November 20, 2014. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

“Bernie understands we’ve had these challenges over the winter because the (team) suppliers got so badly hurt by the Marussia and Caterham issues,” Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley told Reuters on Monday.

”Whereas we’ve always been able to work with them and smooth it out over the period of the start of the winter, they simply can‘t. Whereas we used to get 30 days credit, now we need 30 days in advance.

“He (Ecclestone) suggested that we take an advance and smooth it out that way. That’s going to help enormously.”

Marussia and Caterham went into administration last October, with unsecured creditors losing significant amounts of money owing and now demanding payment up front from other customers such as Force India.

Silverstone-based Force India, who use Mercedes engines and have Mexican Sergio Perez with Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg in their driver line-up, contract out much of their chassis work to keep costs down.

While Caterham’s assets are now due to be liquidated at a public auction starting this month, Marussia has fought back from the abyss and entered the 2015 championship as the Manor Marussia F1 team.

Force India have also suffered delays to the build of their new car, which made its track debut only last Friday in Barcelona.

The agreement with Ecclestone came after a meeting between the so-called smaller teams, who spent much of last year calling for a greater share of the revenues and a more level playing field, and the 84-year-old Briton last Thursday.

The Times newspaper said each team had been promised a $10 million advance by the end of the week, when the cars and freight are due to be sent to Australia. The money would have been due to them in due course anyway.

“I think all three teams are in a position to carry on, we’ve just had this one extraordinary period where we lost two teams,” said Fernley.

The season starts in Melbourne on March 15.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer

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