McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh fears for the long-term survival of Formula 1's smaller players

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has spoken out about his concern for the future of some of the smaller teams in the sport.

Whitmarsh, who also serves as the chairman of the Formula One Teams’ Association, says that with the global economic crisis still ongoing, smaller teams are struggling to find and maintain sponsors that are needed to keep them alive.

“It’s tough,” he said in an interview with the BBC. “We’re in the world of advertising and you only have to see how advertising is worldwide. The rate card is down. We have taken some measures, but I think it’s going to be tough for some.”

He took time to praise the efforts of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who he says has helped the current teams gain a greater share of the profits involved in the sport.

“Bernie has done a fantastic job for the owners,” he added.

“We can criticise him but he’s doing a better job than we are. He’s keeping the money on behalf of his employers. That money whistles out of the sport and that’s deeply frustrating for some of us in the sport but that’s exactly what he should be trying to do.

“If the teams aren’t cohesive enough to work together to secure a larger share of that, then they have to blame themselves.”

Whitmarsh’s comments come after HRT withdrew from the sport in 2012. Fellow backmarker outfits Caterham and Marussia are also facing uncertain futures, with both teams resorting to pay drivers instead of experienced drivers for 2013.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.