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Ecclestone ready to ‘tear up’ income contracts

Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday said he is prepared to “tear up” contracts and start again, as the sport’s civil war appeared to ease slightly in Abu Dhabi.

The F1 supremo reportedly even apologised for calling struggling teams Lotus, Sauber and Force India “beggars” as they look for a fairer distribution of the team’s almost $1 billion in annual revenues.

Also strongly chided during Ecclestone’s meeting on Saturday between the small teams and F1 owner CVC’s Donald Mackenzie was Christian Horner, the boss of the powerful Red Bull team.

It is believed that during one recent meeting, Horner laughed and joked about the demise of the backmarkers Caterham and Marussia.

“I hit the limiter on that one,” said Lotus owner Gerard Lopez, not referring specifically to Horner.

“It was a complete lack of respect and from someone paid to be here rather than paying to be here.”

Suddenly, the tide appears to have turned in favour of the three small teams, perhaps because of the threatened intervention of the European Commission’s competition arm.

So after recently ruling out more money for the teams, Ecclestone said on Saturday: “Let’s see.

“Personally, I would tear up all of the contracts and discuss the redistribution of money.  No problem,” he added.

The next major F1 meeting will take place on Sunday, when Ecclestone and Mackenzie get together with Mercedes (Daimler) and Ferrari (Fiat) bigwigs Dieter Zetsche and Sergio Marchionne.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said that the chiefs of the F1-involved car manufacturers will discuss cost-cutting, engines, and the distribution of the sport’s income.