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)

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134 comments on Ferrari are wrong to oppose new teams

  1. Rikadyn said on 20th May 2009, 21:40

    I agree with Ferrari, and I hate Ferrari, So I hate myself for agreeing with them, but really, F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport technology, but with all the rules it’s been slowly becoming a spec series, and now what a budget comparable to the average NASCAR team?

    • persempre said on 20th May 2009, 22:58

      I do (well, not right now because the season’s finished.

      Blame the swine flu. :)

      And I wouldn’t put much money on them making it to a fifth, but that’s another story.

      You may well be right unless Dieter Rencken knows something we don`t. ;)

  2. Hallard said on 20th May 2009, 21:40

    Ferrari has definitely shown some arrogance in this statement, but you have to admit they have earned that right to a certain extent over the last several decades. Sadly a lot of truth in their statement though. The big teams bring the casual fans to the sport, and they constitute most of its commercial value. Im all for having new teams in F1, but not at the cost of losing the manufacturers like ferrari. One of the most appealling aspects of formula 1 is that you have to be the best of the best of the best. Whether its williams or McLaren or Toyota or whoever, F1 should be the best cars, best teams, and best drivers. I worry that trying to entice TOO many smaller outfits all at once, is going to damage the integrity of F1 as we know it. Cost caps are not only unrealistic, but they go against the inherent nature of F1, and that is not what we need, no matter what shape the global economy is in.

  3. persempre said on 20th May 2009, 21:42

    Maybe there`s more than a hint of difference in culture about this?

    The way I read it the jibes were directed at the sort of F1 that the FIA intends.
    Granted, it wasn`t written in tactfully phrased perfect English.
    As I`ve said elsewhere, it`s easy to see comparisons between this & the “monkeys at the back” reference by Lewis Hamilton. Neither being the best way to make friends & influence people.

    I am disappointed that you chose to take it in the worst context, Keith.

    What was raised was the point that, should Ferrari (& for that matter other big teams) leave F1 then the fans would not want to pay over 400 Euros to watch teams many people will never have heard of.
    I can`t see anything wrong with that.
    Many modern fans won`t have heard of Lola even if us older ones knew them well.

  4. Regarding the Barwa Addax née Campos Racing bit: you’re right that Barwa Addax today confirmed they have no plans to be in F1 in 2010. However, Campos Racing, as it is called in reports from the FIA vs Ferrari case, is since this season a seperate entity. Adrián Campos Suñer still runs his Formula 3 team, and the October 2008 report on his sale of the GP2 team to Alejandro Agag quotes Campos: “I will start another project that excites me, one which I have a lot of hopes for the future and that I hope to make public very soon.” Perhaps this is that project?

  5. ukk said on 20th May 2009, 21:53

    I’d love to see Ferrari left alone and all the rest joining the party in 2010 :-) They used to enjoy a big-time-favoritism, which spoiled them and it hurts now … which is good – can help them enter the real world again :-)

  6. manatcna said on 20th May 2009, 22:03

    I fail to see how this series can be called Formula One if it only has 3 or 4 “real” teams.

    The new wannabes can not and never will be able to contend with McLaren, let alone Brawn.

    I would love to see 6 or 7 teams withdraw if it meant mosely went too.

    • And remember Brawn didn’t came up overnight, they were BAR and Honda previously. So no, Brawn doesn’t count as a newcomer.

  7. F1Yankee said on 20th May 2009, 22:05

    most of those teams are paper tigers, and will likely never enter f1. there are some legit ones, however, and f1 needs new blood.

    if i may repost something from Maciek:

    News flash: F1 already is a two-tier sport. The only reason Ferrari don’t want a capped budget is because they can’t face the prospect of playing on an even field with 13 other teams.

    and if anyone thinks toyota’s support is solid, i’ve got some news for you:

    after losing $7.7B in the 1st quarter, heads are rolling and no-one is safe. either toyota will get in line to control spending, or they will take advantage of this situation to perform a face-saving exit. your guess is just as bad as mine.

  8. Chaz said on 20th May 2009, 22:10

    In F1’s history, is there a team who came into the sport as virgins, and in their first year went on to win multiple races, or perhaps the championship. Note, that team must have been built up from scratch, i.e. they did not buy out or take over a previous team. I ask this because I’m flabgasted by the comments of people who deride the potential new teams and teams lower down the grid.

    In any sport there will be people at the top and people at the bottom of the ladder so I think it’s unfair to deride the potential new entrants without giving them a chance. A few years ago Torro Rosso languished near the bottom of the grid and then Vettel won a great race in Italy for them. Who would want to get rid of them now? Teams know that it takes time to achieve results. So come on folks, lets be positive for F1 and give the benefit of doubt to the new guys. After all, who in their right mind wants to waste away $100m a year for a laugh…

  9. jinthehouse said on 20th May 2009, 22:21

    Yes. They are have viable racing backgrounds. But there is a big difference from selling $600 grandstand to Ferrari fans, and trying to move them to fanatical Wirth Research fans. This plan by the fia has flaws…
    1) Who’s gonna pay F1 prices for CART Teams?
    2) Do you actually expect these teams to move merchandise the way BMW, Renault and Toyota do?
    3) I read magazines about Lola and iSport…”who cares”.

    I all the fear mongering is true. F1 will just be another racing series i watch for free on tv. They’ll make lots of money off that….sure hope so.

  10. steve said on 20th May 2009, 22:21

    What are people talking about! Ferrari were a small outfit running from a garage in Modena once. Williams started with a customer car. McLaren was a rather hasty self built entry once.

    What absolute arrogance and stupidity from a team that fear the loss of their huge bufget to but themselves prestige – let them go.

    And let a new era of garagistas begin – thank god a chance to reclaim the soul of this sport back from the corporate blandishments. Bring it on.

    • persempre said on 20th May 2009, 22:31

      As long as the TV companies agree with you then you may be OK, steve.
      If, however, they follow their usual agendas & aren`t actually bound until their teeth drop out by contracts with Bernie you may find yourself paying to travel long distances for your fortnightly F1 fix.

    • F1 is really way past that era, we can’t go back… I can’t imagine anyone seriously wanting that, that’s one of the reasons why we watch F1. Pinnacle.

    • Gman said on 21st May 2009, 0:51


      Yes, F1 is the pinnacle, but in my view that should mean we want to see the best racers, and not the biggest spenders.

      It’s great to have Ferrari and McLaren in the sport because they win, have won, and carry a great deal of energy from the fans. But to me, I want to see teams that can build a good car and drive a good race because they have talent, not just because they have a big name and loads of cash.

      Here’s to the big companies staying in F1- if the Toyotas of the world want to come out and race, great. But don’t stop the little guys from challenging them….

  11. FOney said on 20th May 2009, 22:29

    If i want to see fake sports i watch Tour de France….

    Ferrari is in absolute right position

  12. scunnyman said on 20th May 2009, 23:14

    I agree Keith. This is your site , you say what you want. And it’s right a lot of the best discussions have come your opinion.

    • Ace said on 21st May 2009, 2:36

      I agree Keith. This is your site , you say what you want. And it’s right a lot of the best discussions have come your opinion.

      I admit, I’ve been irked in the past by the lack of clarification between fact and opinion on this site.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s the first site I come to for my F1 fix, and I completely respect that this is a blog for an opinion to be voiced (and appreciate the massive effort it must take to maintain a blog like this), but article titles like “Why F1 will be better without refuelling” and “Lewis Hamilton is moral victor in Spa thriller” would, in my opinion, be better titled “Why I THINK F1 will be better without refuelling”, or “IS Lewis Hamilton the moral victor?”.

      I feel like it should be “here’s what I think” rather than “this is how it is”.
      It’s worth noting that I disagree with the two examples used above (Refuelling better/Hamilton victor) – possibly part of the reason I was slightly annoyed by them. At the time, it felt more like enemy propaganda or a FOX news item. :)

      After that rant, I should thank you for a great blog Keith. I’ll continue to visit daily – the above is an unhappy drop in an ocean of appreciation, and is hopefully received in the spirit it was intended – user feedback so you know more about those who visit the site.

      Peace. See you tomorrow. :)

  13. Rabi said on 20th May 2009, 23:42

    I’m also a Ferrari hater but I’m totally with Ferrari on this, this is Formula 1 the pinnacle of motorsport. If I want to watch a standardised racing series then I have plenty of choice – IRL, A1, GP2 etc

    F1 remains the only pure open wheel series and Mad Max is doing his best to get rid of it. And anyone read what Alonso said? If the big teams leave so will he, and what of McLaren?? If Ferrari and the others open a rival series you can bet every penny they won’t be wanting to supply engines to F1. That leaves an entire field of Cosworth engines because I’m 100% sure that Mercedes will go wherever BMW goes.

    And where Mercedes goes I’m sure McLaren will go because they don’t like the FIA either, right now they are just sitting quiet.

    As for the comment about ManUtd being relegated the premier league will still be watchable that’s not the case here. To put it in the CORRECT context your talking about Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Aston Villa dissapearing, then what we’ll be stuck with watching teams like Spurs, Man City and Everton. I wouldn’t imagine many Sky subscriptions being renewed or large sponsorship contracts being sold. Same with F1.

  14. Chalky said on 20th May 2009, 23:50

    If Ferrari leave and the FIA put in a budget cap, the following could happen:
    Less casual fans and less Ferrari fans (some will still watch)
    Less ticket paying customers at circuits

    Then the circuits and TV will demand to pay less.
    Bernie either agrees to lower his price or has to work harder to get the deals.

    F1 gains:
    Initially – More independant teams
    Better technical freedom \ so maybe future cars do not all look similar for so long.

    and if Bernie can’t get circuits to sign up…
    Maybe us fans get:
    Cheaper ticket prices
    Alternate race circuits that provide better racing spectacle. Maybe like a US GP \ Canadian GP.

    I find it unfortunate that Ferrari had to make this statement. However, unless a budget cap can be workable for Ferrari, how will it stay in the sport? It has a whole page dedicated on it’s site to how much technology transfer occurs from F1 to its road cars.

    Will people still buy Ferrari’s if they are no longer in F1? I reckon yes. Ferrari will not give up racing, but will move to another series.

    Can Ferrari reduce it’s budget? How does it do it fairly when it needs the R&D for it’s prime business of developing sports cars?
    Well, it can’t. The only way they will agree to a budget cap is if R&D is left out, and that’s the most expensive bit. It’s anyones guess how this will go.

    • persempre said on 21st May 2009, 0:09

      Very well put, Chalky.
      Let`s not forget that cutting millions from budgets also means slashing the workforce.
      That goes for the men & women at Woking & Enstone as well as those with bases abroad.
      USF1 were saying they have 20 so far. The big teams have hundreds.
      Natural wasteage would be better than wholesale redundancies which, in itself would cost a fortune in redundancy payments & definitely not be catered for in the FIA cap.
      Think beyond the obvious & you start to see the problems.

  15. First of all, whoever thinks Keith should keep his opinions to himself needs to find another venue to express themselves. We don’t all come to the best F1 site for “reporting”.

    Secondly, anyone that thinks that Ferrari are over-reacting: It’ F-reakin-errari! Are you people forgetting who we are talking about here? It’s an Italian team, to start with. Ask any present and former Ferrari driver how they feel about the Italian press on Monday after a race they lost. The outrage! Then take a look at Ferrari’s history. I don’t care what anyone says or how many wins anyone else has, no one has the complete racing heritage that the red cars have. Did anyone else sell one of their old race-cars for over $12 million over the weekend? Because of all this, they’ve always had the attitude, even when they were losing, but especially when they were winning with Schumi. Difference now is, when they had the upper hand, they had leverage. Now that they are with FOTA, they have abdicated certain automatic rights. They are currently finding their feet in this new era, but I for one like how they started.

    As for new teams, why is everyone drinking Max’s Cool-Aid? The US team claims to be fully funded beyond $60 million, mainly because they started this venture before Max started drinking his cheap tea. Lola have an idea of what building a race-car is all about, no doubt about that. They say they’ve done a feasibility study and are prepared to go ahead. What I don’t understand is how these teams factor in the cost of all they extras they are allowed. Higher revving engines, more KURSE power, extra bendy wings. Where is all of this development money going to come from? They are going to spend their allotted budget and then not be able to afford to race. As for Prodrive, just because Richards was prepared to be a McLaren B team a few years ago, doesn’t make him a viable team today. His financial partners in Aston are defaulting on mega million payments, so in this financial climate, where is he going to find the money to field a team?

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