FIA president Max Mosley has warned that Formula One may only survive one more year if it does not introduce dramatic spending cuts.
Mosley, who will stand down from his role next year, admitted he is worried for the future of the sport due to the spiralling costs associated with running a team.
He insisted that the sport could not afford to survive on billionaires’ handouts and must become more cost-effective if it is to survive.
The Super Aguri team dropped out of this season’s championship following the Spanish Grand Prix due to a lack of funds and Mosley fears at least two more teams may also have to withdraw from the championship.
“I think it would put the sport in an unsustainable position if we lost two more teams,” Mosley said.
“At the moment we have 20 cars competing and if we lost two teams we’d have 16 and then it would cease to be a credible grid.
“Some of the manufacturers are already having difficulty if you look at their share prices. The days that they could throw €200m or €300m are long gone.”
“This hasn’t been prompted by the credit crunch. This is something I have been campaigning for for two or three years.
“It had become apparent long before the present economic difficulties that Formula One is unsustainable.
“If we can’t get this sorted out by 2010 we will be in serious difficulty. We can survive through 2009, but I’m not to sure about after.
“You cannot run a business like that when the outgoings are two to three times than what’s coming in. It now depends on billionaires subsidising teams.”
Mosley said simple cost-cutting measures would help the sport survive, even with the enormous financial clout that Ferrari, McLaren and BMW are able to wield over their competitors.
“There are various things we can do. The most obvious one would be to reduce the cost of the car,” he said.
“The engine and gearbox costs about £25m a year and that could be done for probably five percent of that cost without anyone in the grandstand noticing at all.
“We have various means of making sure the big spenders don’t spend so much, but that would mean some draconian measures.”