A helping hand

F1 supremo wants to give backmarkers chance to compete

Last Updated: 07/03/12 12:48pm

Bernie Ecclestone says he would like to see teams at the back of the grid have the opportunity to run year-old cars from the front runners while they establish themselves in Formula 1.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News' Special Report, F1's commercial supremo said he could appreciate the struggles Marussia and HRT were experiencing and that F1 still needed to work on ways to give less well-funded teams a greater chance of competing.

Asked by Craig Slater if had sympathy with the two teams - who both failed to run their new cars in pre-season after failing crash tests - Ecclestone replied: "Yes and no. It's like people sitting in a poker game and they're sitting there with people that can really ante up and they can't. They've only got one way to go out.

"If we reduce the necessity to spend to be competitive they may well become competitive.

"So that's what we have to do - we have to find that way."

Although teams have taken steps to dramatically bring spending under control through the Resource Restriction Agreement, Ecclestone still feels that "even the people that are currently spending" would welcome steps to try and level the playing field.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has been a long-time advocate of the larger teams running third cars with smaller satellite teams, and Ecclestone has now floated the idea of backmarkers being given access to one of the previous season's front-running cars for a period of three years before reverting to being a constructor again.

"What I've been proposing is, perhaps, some of the teams at the bottom end of the grid should be able to run last year's constructor's car," he suggested.

"So one of the other teams that you mentioned [HRT and Marussia] could run last year's McLaren, or last year's Red Bull, for three years until they get themselves together and then they have to go back to be a constructor."

He added that ensuring the sport's regulations gave smaller teams the chance to make a mark, rather than simply trying to bring the costs down across the board, was the best way to achieve a closer grid.

"The point is you don't have to bring the cost down to suit the people that can't really afford to spend as much as they [the big teams] do," he said.

"You have to make sure that the regulations are such that it's not going to harm them."