- Tony Fernandes [Copyright: Sky Sports F1]

Formula 1 has become a 'procession', feels ex-team owner Tony Fernandes

The Malaysian's Formula 1 stint ended on a sour note after lack of performance limited his team's progress.

3y ago

Ex-Formula 1 team owner Tony Fernandes is of the view that the current F1 is more like a procession and that any new team entering has no chance to win a race, let alone finish on the podium, like in old times.

"Everyone really just struggles now [to match up to the big teams], Formula 1 has become little bit of a procession," he said in an interview on BBC. "I started watching Formula 1 when I came to school in the UK.

"[In those times] Eddie Jordan could come in, form a team and in the same year or a year after, he could win a race. That would never happen anymore [in the sport now]," he added.

However, even in these conditions, he credited the only new F1 team - the American-owned Haas - for the solid work they have been doing since its inception last year.

"Haas is doing a good job right now, but he's [Gene Haas] being doing NASCAR for a long, long time [which has helped in running the F1 business]," he said.

Looking at Jordan's progress, the British team entered in 1991 and straightaway could score points, unlike Fernandes' outfit. But, it did take the team four years to register its first podium, while the first win only came in its eighth season.

At the same time if one looks at Red Bull Racing, the team also managed to score points in its first season in 2005. Its better financial conditions helped it claim its first podium in 2006 itself, while its first win came in 2009, which was followed by a maiden constructors' victory in 2010.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Fernandes ran into several troubles during his short tenure in the sport. Having started with the Lotus Racing name in 2010, the outfit changed to Team Lotus in 2011, before turning into Caterham F1 Team, since 2012 until its demise at the end of 2014 season.

In its five years, the team were unable to score any points - just like its counterparts HRT - while it was only Manor/Marussia, who managed to eke out points results among the three new teams which entered the sport in 2010. Though now, no one is part of the F1 grid.

Despite the shortcomings, Fernandes has no regrets of seeing failure in his F1 stint. In fact, the Malaysian revels being on the same grid as the likes of Ferrari and McLaren and his inspiration Sir Frank Williams. "Formula 1 was a disaster for me, but I was on the grid with some of the greatest brands.

"For me, life isn't just about success, it is about doing things you believe in. There's Ferrari, McLaren and Frank Williams is my hero and I was on the same grid, well at the back but I was still on the grid," he said.

Looking back at the times, Fernandes says he was promised by the then-FIA president Max Mosley that the sport's budgets will be halved once the budget cap is introduced, however, Mosley's plans were foiled, which eventually led to his ouster, after he opted out of going for his fifth reign.

"I was promised by Max Mosely that the sport is going to cost half its cost and that would give everyone a fair shot at the sport, but that never happened," he revealed. "In fact, the costs kept going up and the sport became too dominated by engineers and then car manufacturers came in and it just wasn't sustainable.

"It's tough and I think the sad thing about Formula 1 is, I grew up loving drivers and now a lot of drivers have to pay to get into the seats and some of the best talents would never make it into Formula 1," he capped off.

[Image courtesy: Sky Sports F1] #F1 #Motorsport #TeamLotus #LotusRacing #Caterham #Lotus #CaterhamF1Team #Formula1 #AirAsia #Haas #FIA

Join In

Comments (3)

  • seems the odds are stacked when it comes to new teams, unles they have a big pile of cash behind them.

      3 years ago
    • Of course. That's Haas chose the model of using parts from Ferrari, which has enabled them to use money more wisely.

        3 years ago
  • Totally agree!

      3 years ago