Red Bull are the only Formula One team prospering financially and seven of the other 10 are struggling to the extent that they are in “survival” mode.
The McLaren team director Martin Whitmarsh, who is also chairman of the Formula One Teams’ Association that represents the majority of the sport’s competitors, claims the expensive sport is suffering in the world’s difficult economic climate.
He said: “It’s tough. We’re in the world of advertising and you only have to see how advertising is worldwide. We have taken some measures, but I think it’s going to be tough for some.”
Whitmarsh said a number of teams will find it hard to “have a viable business model for a few years”, while Cyril Abiteboul, head of Caterham, thinks only world champions Red Bull are doing well but “everyone else is suffering”.
A sports marketing expert with knowledge of F1, who did not want to be named, said: “I guess at least half a dozen [teams] are likely to be not self-sufficient.
“The acid test should be if the team is sustainable without support from a shareholder, who are often also sponsors.
“If the answer is ‘yes’, then the business is healthy. If not, then teams will still probably survive but only because the owners keep them going.