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Vijay Mallya accuses Ecclestone of bulling F1 teams over unfair deals

Utkarsh Bhatla

Vijay Mallya has accused Bernie Ecclesone of ‘bulling’ F1 teams into agreeing to unfair income deals.

The overall picture, wherein the top teams earned a lot in bonus payments, wasn’t quite revealed to the bottom placed teams.

In an interview with Racefans, Vijay Mallya admitted that he might have considered quitting F1 had he known what was actually going on.

“Bernie bullied us into signing with a paltry upfront carrot,” said Mallya.

“Bernie did not reveal the overall picture and deals with other teams.

“Had I known how large the disparity was, I may not have signed up.” he added.

During Ecclestone’s time, Force India and Sauber had actually lodged a complaint to the EU Competition Commission about how the midfield teams were kept in the dark about the commercial arrangement with the top teams and that the top teams enjoyed a lot of ‘preferential political treatment’.

However, after Liberty Media’s takeover of the sport, the complaint was taken back.

“Sauber and Force India withdrew the EU complaint because we were assured by Liberty Media that our legitimate concerns would be addressed as they also recognised what we said,” Mallya said.

The current commercial deal ends in 2020 and a new deal will be negotiated with all teams.

With Mallya coming out and speaking about the unfair treatment to the ‘lower ranked’ teams, Liberty will need to tread the commercial deal part very carefully, as they don’t want to anger the top or the bottom teams.

A blueprint of the new commercial deal is already available, where in no bonus payments will be made to the top teams.

However, Ferrari will still enjoy an upper hand over all other teams as they will continue to receive a separate one-off payment.

Is it time for Liberty to put their foot down and come up with a radical change in F1’s commercial setup, one that treats all teams fairly?

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