Jan.23 (GMM/Inautonews.com) F1 “must be prepared for problems” as Europe and the world suffer economically.

That is the admission of the sport’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, when asked if Peugeot’s withdrawal from Le Mans sports car racing could also indicate tough times ahead for F1.

Amid the world’s last financial crisis, F1 lost multiple carmakers including BMW, Toyota and Honda.

“They had good reasons to go and save their money because they just weren’t successful enough and didn’t get the media coverage they wanted.

“Simple as that,” Ecclestone told Austria’s Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

So, with Peugeot pulling out of Le Mans and grand prix promoters considering the future of their races due to the costs, Ecclestone was asked if he is worried F1 could now lose more of its marques and sponsors.

“Due to the length of our contracts, we are almost immune,” he insisted.

“But if the situation does not change globally, we must be prepared for problems,” admitted Ecclestone.

A report in the UK newspaper Express said every one of F1’s twelve competing teams unusually failed to pay their bills on time last season.

“The findings … show that the recession has hit the motorsport”, wrote journalist Christian Sylt.

“The five slowest paying teams all have backing from carmakers, which could indicate that in the current economic climate F1 may not be sustainable for them,” he added.