Hell freezes over and Ecclestone has a go at fair play

Maybe our grousing about Bernie Ecclestone has reached his cold husk of a heart. He’s finally getting around to distributing money fairly at F1. 

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 12:  F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone answers questions in the paddock from the media regarding the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix during previews to the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 12, 2012 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA – APRIL 12: F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone answers questions in the paddock from the media regarding the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix during previews to the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 12, 2012 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Hey, one can dream, right? We’d like to think that F1 fans have had their part in moving Moneybags Ecclestone to look out for the underdogs. Or maybe he’s trying to distract us from his tacit endorsement in some troubling human rights abuses in certain F1 sponsor nations. No matter. We’re sure that the teams who aren’t McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull will be very glad to hear that there is talk of scrapping the controversial two-tier bonus payment system.

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As part of longtime deal that will be in effect till 2020, the aforementioned teams are handed “historical” bonus payments of approximately £150 million between them, regardless of their performance each season. Ferrari is rumoured to be the biggest beneficiary, receiving upwards of £60 million alone. It’s no surprise that this system has come under fire from other teams and prompted an investigation by the EU competition authorities. It’s emblematic of the corruption that runs rife in large sporting organisations with plenty of funds and little to lose in sucking up to the big names.

Source: Alexander Nemenov
Source: Alexander Nemenov

However, it seems that Ecclestone is heeding the outcry, for once. According to The Times, he is drawing up plans to distribute money more fairly among the teams a la Premier League. There is even talk of giving the smaller, struggling outfits a financial boost to put them on more equal footing with some of their rivals with bigger budgets.

“I told Toto not to think about banking any money yet. I am going to have a good look at how things work to see if I can come up with something more equal for the teams.

“The Premier League has a good way of distributing the prize money, so maybe that could work for us. There will be people who will like it and people who won’t like it, and people who will suffer.”

Bernie Ecclestone

We have no doubt he’ll be hearing from those who don’t like it and those who are suffering pretty soon. The Big Four are not going to be pleased at this sudden cut-off in their cushy funds and he’ll probably have to weather a drop in revenue for some time, as well as opposition from some very powerful teams. On the other hand, he’s almost certain receive an influx of support from the FIA, a larger proportion of the grid and fans. God knows Ecclestone’s public image desperately requires some rescuing right now.