Montreal, June 14 (Reuters): Minardi boss Paul Stoddart was told to take the heat or get out of Formula One on Friday after he asked the sport’s wealthy elite to pay up to keep his struggling team on the road.
“There have been huge brands come and go in Formula One, Brabham, Lotus and many more,” McLaren boss Ron Dennis told an extraordinary and emotionally-charged Canadian Grand Prix news conference.
“It’s an inevitable ebbing and flowing... but no one gave me a handout and I climbed from a humble background to being responsible for a competitive team.
“This is a tough competitive sport and if you cannot take the heat, get out of the bloody kitchen. I understand Paul’s position but he is damaging Formula One by his actions and I love Formula One... We do not have a soup kitchen in Formula One.”
Stoddart criticised the manufacturer-backed teams for failing to establish a ‘fighting fund’ for the likes of Minardi as had been discussed before the start of the season.
He said he had withdrawn his team’s consent to changes to the 2004 technical regulations, effectively blocking them, but might reconsider the position if money was forthcoming to help Minardi and Jordan.
“Nothing’s been done, talk is cheap,” said Stoddart of the fighting fund. “I am totally disillusioned with several of the people sitting around me. I’m not prepared to drag this down any lower than it’s gone, but my God, I could. I don’t believe there is a view to support Minardi, we saw Prost go and we saw Arrows go. You will see at some point in time if things don’t change Minardi go.
The five major European carmakers in Formula One — DaimlerChrysler, BMW, FIAT, Ford and Renault — want a far greater share of the sport’s revenues than at present and are threatening their own GPWC series from 2008.