Ferrari are wrong to oppose new teams

GP2 teams like Racing Engineering and iSport could enter F1 next year

GP2 teams like Racing Engineering and iSport could enter F1 next year

As has been widely reported, Ferrari have lost their case against the FIA in France but vowed to continue fighting their corner.

It remains to be seen whether the other F1 teams will continue to back Ferrari or take this as their cue to either make peace with Mosley or exit the sport.

Ferrari also issued a startling broadside against the new teams tipped to enter F1 in 2010. I?ve had some sympathy with their point of view now, but I don?t agree with their opposition to new teams joining Formula 1.

The 11 tipped for 2010

The 11 names linked with new F1 entries in 2010 so far are:

Lola – Have several past F1 projects to their name.
Racing Engineering ?ǣ Took Giorgio Pantano to the GP2 crown last year.
Epsilon Euskadi ?ǣ Active in World Series by Renault, conceived a striking sports coupe for last year?s Le Mans 24 Hours.
Team USF1American F1 project.
Prodrive ?ǣ David Richards’ team nearly entered F1 in 2008, considered buying Honda?s team for 2009, possibly branded as ??Aston Martin? in 2010.
iSport ?ǣ GP2 champions with Timo Glock in 2007.
Litespeed – F3 team planning a tie-up with MGI with assistance from ex-Jordan/Renault/Toyota/Force India F1 designer Mike Gascoyne.
Ray Mallock Limited – Over 70 years’ experience in a range of motor sports, currently run Chevrolet’s World Touring Car Championship cars.
Nick Wirth – Boss of former Grand Prix team Simtek.
Formtech – Automotive parts builder.
Campos Racing/Addax – Formed by ex-F1 driver Adrian Campos, compete in GP2 (where they were teams’ champions last year) and Spanish Formula Three. Have now said they’re not entering.

Ferrari has patronisingly denounced the prospect of F1 allowing teams like the above in the sport as ??Formula GP3?.

Inevitably some of these entries look more viable than others. But a common thread among many of them is their participation in junior or alternative racing categories. I think we need more teams like this in F1.

It would strengthen the link between F1 and other championships, which badly need greater public exposure. It would provide a ladder of progression for junior drivers and engineers.

And, most importantly, it would allow the F1 grid to expand to a decent number of cars. The FIA has been woefully tardy in addressing the problem of small grid sizes that has persisted since the mid-1990s (in fact, it has done much to exacerbate it).

The best solution isn?t to have Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes replaced by Racing Engineering and USF1. Nor would it be best for F1 for the same ten teams to remain and these potential new competitors get left behind.

F1 needs both ?ǣ the manufacturer teams with their history and popularity, and the independent outfits that could be the McLarens and Williamses of the future.

Two-tier on paper, one-tier on track?

Although I am unhappy with Ferrari taking a stand against the new teams, I am still not convinced the FIA has a viable solution in budget capping.

The only way the FIA can legally impose budget capping is by making it voluntary. If it is voluntary, they have to offer some form of advantage to the teams that take it up.

That leaves us with the deeply unsatisfactory ??two tier? system. It?s true that many other racing series offer different classes for their competitors ?ǣ but they also have different championships for each, like LMP1 and LMP2 at Le Mans.

Is F1 going to go down this route? It has done before, in 1987, when non-turbo-engined cars had their own championships.

But this will inevitably be seen as an acknowledgement that one set of teams are racing at a disadvantage. How many F1 history books even bother to record the winners of that year?s Jim Clark and Colin Chapman Cups, respectively for non-turbo drivers and teams?

The proposed 2010 technical rules are massively weighted in favour of the capped teams. It seems the FIA wants F1 to be a two-tier championship on paper only ?ǣ and operate as a de facto one-tier series, with every team running to the ??40m limit.

Is this the compromise the teams will agree to at Monaco this weekend? Or is there another solution to the impasse?

Image (C) Glenn Dunbar / GP2 Media Service

Read more: Stalemate: Ferrari taking FIA to court but who is in the right? (Poll)

Advert | Go Ad-free

134 comments on Ferrari are wrong to oppose new teams

1 2 3 6
  1. scunnyman said on 20th May 2009, 20:29

    I hope there is another solution, but what that solution will be is anyone’s guess. i am no expert and cannot offer any other suggestions. I agree with you Keith, that Ferrari should not be scoffing at the new teams.
    But which 3 teams would you choose? If you say the 10 already on the grid stay.

    I’d pick Team USF1/Lola and Prodrive.

    Though, as i have asked in an earlier comment i would like to know more about the backgrounds to all the teams.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th May 2009, 20:41

      I’d put organisations that are already up and running ahead of 100% new projects like USF1. And those that are based in Britain – along with most of the other F1 teams, have an obvious advantage. I’d definitely put Prodrive top, then Lola. Intrigued to see what RML are planning…

  2. I don’t think it’s so much an opposition to new teams as pointing out their relative relevance. More like “You’re saying that having these ******* entries are more important than Freari, Toyota, Red Bull, etc?” Because in a sense that is what Max is saying. He’s said that the sport can live without Ferrari and no matter what, there will be new teams.

    Well I’m all for new teams, but not if it means losing the present crowd. After all, if the newbies aren’t joining to attempt to beat Ferrari, then what’s the point of joining F1? And if you beat Ferrari with an advantage, again, what’s the point?

    The approach needs to be: Look FOTA, things are getting too expensive for all concerned, what do you think is the maximum you can to to cut costs in order to run a viable business both for yourselves and for others who want to join? What are you willing to do to get new teams in, and what do you think we should do? What realistic compromises should Bernie make in order to help both the old and new teams financially?

    Of course this is not the Max way, so we are forced to sit by and watch both sides flog the horse and hope it doesn’t lose too much blood. We live in interesting times…..

    • beneboy said on 20th May 2009, 22:46

      That’s how I read Ferrari’s statement too.
      I don’t think they have any problem with new teams coming in, they’re just pointing out that some (relatively) unknown group of teams isn’t going to attract the same number of non-fanatical fans as the likes of Ferrari, McLaren etc and that many fanatical fans may be turned away if all of their favourite teams disappear from the Championship at once.

      While it was sad to see the likes of Lotus withdraw, it was generally an individual team leaving, if we lost four or five teams in one go it could turn a lot of fans off for good.

    • Nomad Indian said on 21st May 2009, 21:10

      Very well put Arnet. I think that is exactly how FOTA wants to tackle it but they are being pushed by Mad Max…

      The manufacturers are already doing their bit for keeping the smaller teams. Would ForceIndia have been able to be on the grid if Ferrari (last season)had not supplied them engines? Would BrawnGP be on their winning spree without the Merc engines? It is the FIA’s incompetence that they allowed such situations to be created which were then salveaged by the sporting support of the older, successful manufacturer teams.

      The FIA should play the role of the umpire/referee and the rules should be written only by an organisation like FOTA.

      The only pleasure I get in the current scene is watching Bernie cringe at the thought of Ferrari leaving the sport as it would make a huge dent on his revenues from F1.

  3. James G said on 20th May 2009, 20:41

    Once again, in releasing this patronising statement, Ferrari have shown themselves in a terrible light. It is a hugely unprofessional thing to do. This sort of behaviour explains why people always use the phrase ‘throwing toys out of the pram’ when referring to Ferrari.

    My 3 teams would be the same as Scunnyman’s: Lola, because they have previous (if sometimes disastrous) F1 experience, USF1 because they seem professional and an American team would be a good thing for F1 and Prodrive, who were pretty much offered a space on the grid, but turned it down on the basis of cost (I think).

  4. sunny stivala said on 20th May 2009, 21:05

    Keith Collantine if you are reporting your personal feelings should be kept for yourself,First it will have to be seen if the new teams have the finances to go F1, Secondly I bet that even the FIA itself is worried about the situation and BE might be wanting to throw up.thirdly the problem is not over yet as nothing is won yet.whatever the outcome the FIA will be the biggest loosers.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th May 2009, 22:12

      Keith Collantine if you are reporting your personal feelings should be kept for yourself

      I’ve always used this site to share my opinions and will continue to do so – in fact that’s often where we get some of our best discussions from!

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 20th May 2009, 23:32

      This is a blog, it’s all about Keith’s opinions. Just with a bit of news mixed in.
      People come here because Keith’s opinion is often well thought out and balanced.

    • Spud said on 21st May 2009, 21:41

      Hey sunny stivala, this is the BEST website to put forward your personal opinion.

      I reckon if there was a new government to replace the FIA, we could have plenty of choice from people who comment on this website.

      Keith’s website has plenty of intelligent people, including himself, that comment on various subjects to do with F1, and I would say a fine government could be chosen from them with Keith at the helm.

      And I’d say if they were to be involved in such negotiations, like the one where Max and the teams are now, all of the issues would be resolved, Ferrari and everyone else would not be threating to quit and F1 would be in a much, much better place at the moment.

      I suppose what I’m trying to say is that F1 needs a fresh approach to it’s governance. Teams and the FIA need to work together, not clash every time new rules a suggested I mean forced onto the teams.

      In some countries when a law needs to be changed,
      there is a referendum, so why can’t they do the same here. Not just a team vote. Every member of every F1 team could vote. A mini referendum if you like. Then it would be up to each person to make up his/her own mind as to what they would like to do.

      Democracy is the way to go. Dictatorships are never a good thing. Never!!

      Keith for President!

  5. Neil said on 20th May 2009, 21:05

    Oh come on, do people HONESTLY believe that F1 will be better if we have a bunch of no-name teams just scraping by on the cast offs of the true players?

    Look at this year, we might have a different order but the racing is nowhere near as exciting as it was last year. At least then we knew who was at the front and what an ‘upset’ would be.

    I’m glad Ferrari have made this statement. I don’t watch F1 to see a bunch of amateurs trying to field a car after being sponsored by Leeds County Council’s anti bullying initiative, if I wanted that I’d watch GP2 or BTCC. I watch F1 to see the best people in the world create the best cars in the world and race them on the best circuits in the world.

    I really wish everyone would get over the idea that more cars = better races. It’s not true.

    • ajokay said on 20th May 2009, 21:48

      I think you’ll find that even Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Williams, Lotus and Tyrrell were all new once. You have to start somewhere. Who’s to say Prodrive can’t be the best single seater racing team in the world? There are several better than Ferrari this year already.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th May 2009, 22:13

      do people HONESTLY believe that F1 will be better if we have a bunch of no-name teams just scraping by on the cast offs of the true players?

      No, that isn’t what I said. F1 needs the existing teams and it needs new teams.

    • dams said on 22nd May 2009, 10:57

      So true we all wish everyone could see the point here…..
      Its F1 because of the big teams how can Mosley say f1 can do without Ferrari, how people!!??

  6. Completely agree with James G, what a public relations disaster Ferrari is at the moment, but i would put i-Sport ahead of USF1, the more British teams the better. I can understand where Ferrari are coming from in terms of cutting it’s workforce, but why not relocate some of them to another racing series, Ferrari back at Le Mans anyone?

    • Gman said on 20th May 2009, 22:04

      And I would just as quickly put USF1 ahead of iSport- the more American teams for me, the better ;)

      Aside from that, I like the concept of Ferrari taking on Le Mans- dose anyone think they have the capacity to do so and still operate in F1?

  7. Leahonard_e said on 20th May 2009, 21:13

    To me it is clear that regulations will help capped teams, even under the limitations that the cap impose. But that is a bet every team has to take… and when they do they won’t be able to change it.
    The difference beetween the proposed capped/non-capped season and the turbo/non-turbo era, is the fact that a team cannot change their approach to fight for the championship, so if they are on the loosing side they’ll have no chance.
    One possible solution would be to let capped teams become non-capped during the season, obviously with no-turning back… it’s just an idea (though it doesn’t sound that cool to me)

  8. MajorMilou said on 20th May 2009, 21:15

    I think Ferrari’s comment was a clumbsy attempt to discredit the potential 2010 championship, rather than patronize the new entrants.
    It is hard not to admit that a championship with Lola, iSport, Formtech, etc. teams that I had never heard of until reading the news the past couple days… Will be as interesting ECONOMICALLY as the current one. Note that I’m not talking about racing here, but about attraction.
    Ferrari’s comment, the important part of it, is “you can’t find a very famous name, one of those one has to spend 400 Euros per person for a place on the grandstand at a GP (plus the expenses for the journey and the stay..).” And that, I have to agree with them. We would see more passionate fans maybe if the sport is more appealing, but none of those would want to pay that kind of money.
    Also, nowhere do they “oppose” the new teams in their comment, they ridicule the idea of a F1 championship with those teams only.

    So, I agree that the statement is a little arrogant, but I do think it has a point.

  9. F1 isn’t as exciting this year??? Surely only if you are a die hard Ferrari or Mclaren fan, who cannot see beyond huge budgets, Glamour and over paid drivers(sorry Kimi)

  10. Never heard of Lola, i-Sport, Prodrive ????? People who love their motorsport have, and i believe would welcome them to F1.

  11. Chaz said on 20th May 2009, 21:24

    Ferrai’s arrogance is breathtaking and disappointing but hardly surprising. As has been said previously on this blog, “no one should be above the sport”, and frankly they have had it all their own way for too long.

    Honestly I think budget capping is Max’s opening gambit in his armour of fluid tactics of forcing the teams to make further and deeper cuts as well as to standardising more areas within the sport…

  12. Dougie said on 20th May 2009, 21:25

    Ferrari’s livelihood thrives because of their involvement in F1… F1 would not be the same without Ferrari… but equally Ferrari would not be the same if it were not in F1. They need each other. They would both survive no doubt, but not in the manner we are accustomed to.

    I’ve said this before, at the moment this is all positioning, it may continue for a few more months but we’ll see F1 continue… and with Ferrari and the other big teams. I just hope the solution is palatable enough for Dave Richards to return with Prodrive, that for me is the only team of the list that has any chance of taking it to the big boys in the short term.

    • Phil c said on 21st May 2009, 2:28

      Dont think so, Poeple dont decide to spend upward of $100,000 to buy a Ferrari. People buy a ferrari because the love the car. Ferrari is an established named and brand, people already know who and what it is. F1 needs Ferrai because of its fans and following. Thats what people forget. Ferrari are not always right, but on this occasion they are. If ferrari leave so do 100million potential viewers. Same goes if the other big teams leave. Inturn sponser leave inturn money dries up really quick. Ferrai sell cars because people want one and can afford one. They are the only car company making a profit. Even in this economic climate.

    • Nomad Indian said on 21st May 2009, 21:14

      I dont see Lamborghini anywhere on the F1 grid. Does that prevent them from selling their expensive but amazing supercars?

  13. Icarus said on 20th May 2009, 21:30

    “I’m glad Ferrari have made this statement. I don’t watch F1 to see a bunch of amateurs trying to field a car after being sponsored by Leeds County Council’s anti bullying initiative”

    And I’d rather see the teams who are there to race and actually make money, than teams who go on a spending binge just to raise the value of their brand name.

  14. HounslowBusGarage said on 20th May 2009, 21:32

    You might be right about Max, Chaz.

    It’s never smart to make enemies of people for no reason at all. Now every one of those aspiring F1 teams will have the aim of spiking Ferrari somehow.

    • I think ALL F1 teams (at least in modern days) have that objective in mind :P

      Ferrari is the most successful team in history.

  15. If you watch and enjoy Premier league football, you would still watch it if Man U were relegated, unless of course you were a Man U fan. Sure, the Premier league is better with Man U than without them, but do you think football supporters would stop watching/going to games if Man U were no more? No, football supporters, like motorsport/Formula 1 supporters, support the sport, not just one team. I accept ferrari fans would be gutted if their team pull out, and i expect Honda fans felt the same at the tail end of last year…..

    I don’t understand the ‘dissing’ of the ‘ small, unknown ‘ motorsport teams, where do people think all the current F1 drivers came from, university and then straight into an F1 seat?

    • persempre said on 20th May 2009, 22:42

      Do you watch A1 GP, Lee?
      Who does here, incidentally?
      If not, why not? Could it be because you think it is inferior?
      I watch it. It sure as hell isn`t F1 but it doesn`t pretend to be.
      F1 with the proposed regulations & a cap which restricts the quality of entrants (I`m not talking people here but machinery & technology) is going to be more like A1 than the current F1.
      Will you still watch it just because it`s called F1?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th May 2009, 22:45

      I do (well, not right now because the season’s finished. And I wouldn’t put much money on them making it to a fifth, but that’s another story).

    • ajokay said on 20th May 2009, 23:10

      I don’t watch A1GP because it isn’t readily available to watch without paying for Sky, and I’m never going to pay a penny to Sky for anything.

      I guess it’s downloadable from some magical torrent site somewhere.

1 2 3 6

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.