Force India blame Red Bull for F1's financial plight

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley has placed the blame on Red Bull's doorstep for Formula 1's current financial plight which has seen teams dropping out and struggling to pay their bills.

Speaking on Friday, Fernley said Red Bull's deal with Bernie Ecclestone - which saw them make a private financial deal with CVC - and their exit from the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) was "where the problems started". That led to the eventual collapse of FOTA.

"I think that a few years ago we had FOTA operating in a very good way," explained Fernley. "It was a consolidated approach, it was well stewarded by [former McLaren team principal] Martin Whitmarsh, we were in joint negotiations with CVC at the time to obviously renegotiate those contracts and everything else.

"Unfortunately, and I say that because obviously Christian [Horner] is here, Red Bull felt the need to take the forty pieces of silver. And that was the downside, I think, for F1, and I don't think we've recovered from that particular action."

Horner responded to Fernley's claims and called them unfair, stating that other teams cut their own deals before Red Bull did and that was where the problems started.

"It's a little harsh of Bob to suggest that the plight of the smaller teams is all Red Bull’s fault," he said.

"Ferrari went and cut their own deal," he added. "Red Bull weren't the first team to sign an agreement with Bernie.

"At the same time McLaren were also in dual discussions and cut their own deal. So that's the way of the world. We all represent out own entities and guarantees had to be given by the companies in order to be eligible for that funding.

"That's the situation I can understand the other teams' frustration but it's not down to Red Bull to decide what the revenue distribution is, or Ferrari, or McLaren. That's down to Bernie and the board members at CVC and they distribute the money how they see fit."