FIA President Jean Todt thinks it is only right that the richest Formula 1 teams and drivers pay a greater fee to compete in the World Championship starting next year.
A major hike in the entry fees for the 2013 championship have been imposed as part of a move by the FIA to increase the revenue it generates from the sport. The deal is part of the new governing Concorde Agreement that is expected to be finalized shortly, which Todt says will also prevent a minority of teams from blocking rule changes (see separate story).
With title-winning teams set to pay several million dollars more to enter, there have been questions asked about why the fees are going up at a time of cost-cutting. Todt thinks the new structure, which was made official last week, is ultimately fairer, because the smaller teams pay less than now while only the bigger, richer squads are being asked to pay more.
"I have seen so many things written that do not represent the reality," said Todt in an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT. "At the moment there is an entry fee which is 309,000 euros [$396,000], plus a share of the charges [for timing, weather services etc] which is about 400,000 euro, which makes about 750,000 – so, one million U.S. dollars.
"The smallest teams will pay less, as they will pay $500,000 to $800,000. So that is about six teams out of 12. The biggest teams with the biggest revenues will pay more.
"I feel in any democratic country you are paying your taxes depending on your income. So it will generate about 30 percent more from this side. Then with the drivers [for their superlicense] it is same concept. A fixed base [$10,000] and then $1000 for each point, which means we will come back to the situation of 2008-'09.
"Is it quite high? I am very happy for the drivers because they deserve it, but if you get $20-$30 million [salary] you can afford to pay a superlicense of $250,000. And if you don't get money, you will pay $10,000."
Todt says that the increase in revenues that will come from the entry fees, superlicense and an increased payment from Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management group was essential for the FIA's future.
"I think it is fair, as we need more money to generate programs for the other activities of our organization," he said. "I feel it is absolutely necessary if we want to do the job of the FIA, which is promote the sport from grass roots to the highest level, and to fulfill what we need to do on the mobility program."
The FIA's mobility agenda is aimed at fostering service and knowledge exchange among its member national clubs, identifying innovative ways to help emerging clubs to grow and prosper, and increase synergies with the sporting arm of the FIA, notably on safety and environmental issues.