Ferrari are wrong to oppose new teams

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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)

134 comments on “Ferrari are wrong to oppose new teams”

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  1. 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.

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. jinthehouse
    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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. Haplo,

      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….

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

    Ferrari is in absolute right position

  7. 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.

    1. 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. :)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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?

    1. Arnet,

      The system you are referring to is spelled “KERS” my friend :)

  11. Two quick things for everyone on the new teams…

    First, for those of you so opposed to the new entries and who are so protective of the big teams, just remember that every new team had to start somewhere. I’m all for seeing the big names in the sport, but if a bunch of good drivers and engineers can show up and kick their tails, why be opposed to that? Everyone loves an underdog, so if you just want the big teams, why not propose an amendment to the sporting regulations that prohibits new teams from entering?

    Second, for any of you who think that USF1 should be left out in favor of the GP2 teams and others, I urge you to consider the following…..
    – The parties behind USF1 has been planning this for several years, and they have been onboard and intending to enter long before the floodgates opened and the F1 entry process became a free-for-all backyard party.
    – The team has a budget in place, with a factory established, and may be ahead of even some of the current teams in having their 2010 car in the design process as we speak. Their entry is as credible as anyone else’s, at least on paper.
    – With regards to the currently-established racing outfits, what’s to say that they will be better equipped to handle the rigors of F1 than a completely new entry? Indeed, some of those teams have been competing in spec series for years and may be even worse off when it comes time to design their car, for just one example.
    -As for the arguments against the team being based in North Carolina, or employing one or more American drivers, I won’t even waste my time addressing such petty sticking points.

    I’m not saying that USF1 or anyone else should get special treatment, but I am saying something along the lines of GP2 teams should not just be handed an F1 entry because they are a GP2 team.

    1. If I gave the impression that I`m against new teams then I`m sorry. I`m not at all. Of course F1 needs new blood.
      What it doesn`t need is Max` idea of what F1 should be & the threat of constantly changing rules combined with handcuffs on how much you may spend to keep up with those changes.
      I really can`t see how people can think this is a good idea. I`m guessing they haven`t actually read the proposed regulations but, maybe, I`m wrong.

    2. persempre- My post was no intended towards you or anyone else in specific, but was just a general bit of info. While I believe that costs do need to come way down in running an F1 team, I agree with you that Max could go about it in a far better fashion than his current crusade, in a manner that work for both the existing teams and the new entries.

  12. who won the Jim Clark and Colin Chapman Cups in 1987?

    1. Jonathan Palmer and Tyrrell romped it.

  13. If there will be 2 tier and these teams enter Formula 1, it will no longer be the most prestigious race and pinnacle of motorsport anymore. F1 will be exploited. I think it should be limited to the elite groups/teams to maintain its respect. at least this is only my opinion which in any case everybody is entitled to.

  14. Gman-look up “sarcasm.” I believe the system is a total curse, as in, Max decides to go “green” while trying to cut costs and hundreds of millions of dollars are flushed down the toilet, with absolutely no benefit to the world at large, unless Williams can sell the system they’ve never used.

    1. Now that you defined it as sarcasm, I get your point ;) I know some people aren’t always caught up on things like that, so I was just trying to lend a helping hand if you really did have it mistaken.

      While I supported the idea from the start, KERS really dose look more and more like a waste to me, especially with almost no one using it, and the teams that are using it aren’t doing quite so well.

  15. I don’t oppose new teams in Formula 1, I even encourage it. What I oppose (and I’m not even close a Ferrari fan) is news teams in Formula 1 that are NOT Formula 1 teams – they are GP2 teams, projects on the shelves, low budget ideas, GP2 teams that can now afford to put 2 cars on a F1 race grid… that only will have (I still hope not) this opportunity to even dream entering Formula 1, because of those ****** rules with a budget so low that EVEN these team will have the reduce their actual budget to enroll…

    Now imagine what happens to F1 teams – like for example Toyota, that, from the begging of all theses budget news, was said that they will have to cut 90% of their 2009 budget, to enroll on Mad Max Championship next year.

    And that’s right, stop calling it Formula One – 2009 will be Formula One last year. I’m already prepared to see the last Formula One Monaco Grand Prix ever…

    Can you imagine Monaco being shut down for some kind of a GP2 race ONLY? This weekend there are Formula One, GP2 and I’m sure other smaller competitions on the program, but the main show is no doubt Formula One. Now imagine it, without Formula 1 on the program, only with GP2 and other small events. They will NEVER close down and organize another Grand Prix du Monaco for that!

    So may friends, give thanks to Mad Max (I say this because what I want to say would be deleted) for destroying this sport we all love, better yet, used to love…

  16. Prisoner Monkeys
    21st May 2009, 1:10

    Damn straight they’re wrong to be opposing the new teams. Methinks that most of it is because they’re sore over the fact that they lost their injunction, but also because they’re not doing so well this year. I’d be very interested to see what Ferrari would be thinking of it all if they and Brawn swapped places. Because if they show up next year, the’re likely to be racing the new teams, and Ferrari clearly think they’re above them.

    While I do hope they don’t go – while Formula One wouldn’t be the same without them, it would still survive – I wouldn’t be too broken up over it if they left tomorrow. This criticism of the other teams (for essentially not being Ferrari), combined with their injunction and their veto rights has been a display of arrogance that the sport has never seen before. And then people wonder why the FIA and FOTA don’t get along. Max Mosely might be an idiot on every day ending with the word “day”, but FOTA isn’t exclusively populated by saints.

    What happened to the Ferrari that had a soul and passion and why is there a team in their place with egos the size of their budget?

    1. Great commentary on that one :)

  17. Keith, Ferrari might have made a mistake in their comments about smaller new teams, but their argument regarding the rules of the sport and the recognized validity of FOTA is valid. At the time Simtek, Pacific and others were in F1 I believe Mosley and Ecclestone were the ones commenting that these teams did not belong in the sport because they did not add to the prestige and “cache” of the sport. That, of course, is BS. All teams that meet whatever the entry criteria is should be welcomed into the sport. One of the best loved teams in the history of the sport never made much of a dent as far as results. That team was Minardi. It acted, if nothing else, as a feeder team for the larger teams. Ferrari is a team whos management sees F1 going down a very bad road and is trying desperately to change that direction, along with the other manufacturers. Their reaction is nothing more than the emotion we have become used to seeing from a passionate Italian team.

    1. Influenced
      21st May 2009, 1:49

      I Totally Agree With Leaf.

      I Think We Are Also Forgetting That Ferrari Was The 3rd Biggest Spending Team Last Year According To An Article On This Site. With Renault Honda And BMW Not Far Behind.

      I Was Asking My Friends To Day Non Watchers To Full On Fanatics To Name 15 F1 Teams. Most Struggled To Get To Ten With… All Saying Ferrari, BMW, Mclaren, Renault, Honda, Brawn, and surprisingly Jaguar shows how much a name means

      How Many People Here Would Watch A New Championship With
      Toyata, Renault, Honda, BMW, Ferrari Mclaren And Even Possibly RedBull. Would It Be Fair To Say 90%

  18. It’s fair enough to say that ‘Ferrari are wrong to oppose new teams’, but that’s not really what they are doing. They are opposing the replacement of the big manufacturers (who really make F1 what it is) with second-rate teams who aren’t going to be affected by the budget cap because they could never raise more than 40 million pounds anyway!

    F1 could survive (just!) without Ferrari, but it couldn’t prosper. The TV ratings wouldn’t be the same for 10 years, and the fan-base would scatter.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st May 2009, 1:53

      If this were a game of poker, Ferrari would be bluffing. Ecclestone has come out and announced that the two-tier system will be abandoned and that it was a stupid idea to begin with. Now that the major point of contention over the new regulations is no longer a problem, the manufacturers threatening to withdraw – like Red Bull, Toyota and Renault – could very well be more amenable to negotiations.

  19. De Nominator
    21st May 2009, 2:21

    I don’t agree with Ferrari opposing new teams to enter F1. Ferrari seem like they want to enjoy the technical benefits they always had.

    Why wouldn’t F1 expand the team list to 20 teams and have a revert back to those days of qualification where cars couldn’t pre-qualify wouldn’t be able to participate in the race?

    13 teams with 26 cars on the grid for race will be fun to watch, so why would Ferrari want to destroy F1? The fans want the fun, excitement.

    I won’t mind about the two-tier. We had turbo-charged, we had V8, V10, V12s engines before. Isn’t that multi-tiers instead? F1 cannot turn into equalisation. It’s not IndyCar, A1GP, GP2, Formula BMW, Formula Palmer Audi or the newly returning Formula 2. F1 is pinnacle of motorsport, technical freedom category.

    Minus the horrendous year 2008’s expansions of winglets, horns, bridges, ears and stuff like that. I would like to see the return of 26 cars on grid with simple plain aerodynamics but multi-tier system of turbo engines, non-turbo but V8, V10 and V12s.

    1. I you are talking about technological freedon on F1, the rules and regulations might as well be trashed.

      If there are no rules, team may run any type of car they want, even a car without wheels.

  20. If FERRARI do pull out it will not effect their car sales one jot.With there budget they could move easily into other open wheel series all over the world.Remember they supply engine’s and chassis for A1GP.Imagine if they entered the IRL and won the indie 500 with the technology they could bring the yank,s would fall over themselves.The loss to F1 is going to be greater than the loss to FERRARI. People seem to have a grudge against them because they are successful “tall poppy syndrome”.
    I see there being larger issue facing F1, with there departure revenue will be slashed so all the extra money that the team’s receive will be greatly deminishing over a short period of time.The new team’s are not going to be as financially stable as the current crop remember Force India is owned by a Billionaire so even at 40mill they may be stretched to compete over 3-4 seasons what’s max going to do then, pled with the manufacturers to come back.This could be the tragic end to F1 where do you think MAX will be.

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