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Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Saturday, 27 September 2008 11:24 UK

F1 chiefs voice financial fears

Gerhard Berger
Berger, a former McLaren and Ferrari driver, forecasts 'difficult times'

Leading Formula One figures have voiced concerns their sport could be affected by the global financial crisis.

Teams reliant on sponsors' backing for research, development and transport could face a scarcity of funds in the worsening economic climate.

"I think it is going to affect all of us," said Toro Rosso co-owner and former driver Gerhard Berger.

"If you look at new sponsors coming into Formula One, it is very seldom, especially the big ones," he added.

"As I see it, it is not going to be easy for the next two years."

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner agreed with Berger's verdict, calling on F1 colleagues to act responsibly in order to safeguard the sport's future.

"The global economy at the moment isn't in great shape and it affects all areas of the pit lane," said Horner.

"It is down to the teams to work collectively with the governing body to make sure that we are responsible in what we do to control our costs."

Sunday's night race in Singapore, the first in F1's history, marks one of the sport's attempts to tap into new streams of revenue.

The floodlit track will ensure the race can take place at an ideal time for television markets across the globe, a trick many within the sport are keen to repeat in future.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Friday, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone agreed that night races had an appeal.

"We're going to try to get Japan to do it. I hope when people see Singapore they realise it wasn't a stupid idea," he said.

"We'll have to see afterwards exactly how it comes out. We've done all of this for the TV so we should see now what happens."

Despite some initial concerns from drivers regarding glare from the floodlights, Horner backed the concept.

"Venues and races such as this one are so powerful and strong and demonstrate Formula One in such a strong and fantastic light," he said.

"I think this race, certainly this weekend, will be a big boost for the series in general."

see also
F1 supremo plans Japan night race
26 Sep 08 |  Formula One
F1 goes for a night on the town
25 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Street races concern Ferrari boss
21 Sep 08 |  Formula One
F1 bosses support expansion plan
02 Apr 08 |  Formula One

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