Sunday night in the Monza paddock as the teams were packing away the motor homes for the last time this season a big rumour was gathering storm on twitter regarding the future of some of the teams on the F1 grid.
Adam Parr (ex williams CEO) tweeted
As Adam is a guy with a lot of inside information and many contacts in the paddock I certainly don't doubt him and he must know of some serious financial issues with the current teams.
Clearly Caterham are struggling, they havent got the money to pay the bills and to pay for upgrades, their new team principal Albers has already quit after only 3 races in the hot seat so the post Tony Fernandes future of that team looks very bleak indeed
Marussia also look to be struggling, although if they keep 9th place in the championship they will earn a big payday. Although this might yet not be enough to keep the team a-float, especially if the Chilton cash fails to turn up on time again.
So who could be the third team struggling? Could it be Force India? With Vijay Mallya and Roy Sahara blacklisted in India for various dealings and up on numerous court charges relating to non payments of bills and tax etc, They really could be on the brink.
Could it be Sauber? Sauber had a failed Russian investor last year and have clearly struggled this year with a sub-par car and non impressive drivers. The word in the paddock though is that they do have a buyer / investor in Lawrence Stroll, the Canadian billionaire and 817th richest man in the world who made his fortune in the fashion industry. My sources in the paddock claim this to be a pretty much done deal and a very welcome one it will be too!
This then after some research and chatting to people in the know, leaves Lotus. Lotus are only really still here in F1 thanks to the cash from Venezuela courtesy of Pastor Maldonado. The team is struggling so badly it cannot afford the deposit on the Mercedes engines for next year. There is also mass discontent from staff who haven't been paid and are asking for resolution before the Russian GP or they will not attend. This is pretty serious stuff and one wonders if they will even make the finale in Abu Dhabi let alone the grid in Australia 2015.
So if we lose three teams, are third cars the way to go? Or should F1 do more to encourage new teams? Shouldn't it be easier for a GP2 squad to move up to F1 if they do well - yes they should but this all comes down to the ridiculous costs in F1. As always, if the money was distributed more evenly and a cost cap enforced, it could make F1 quite an attractive business model.