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 4 5 6
  1. Navs said on 22nd May 2009, 15:12

    Nice post Keith, I like that you take a stand one way or the other.

    The way I see it, nothing that is at the “pinnacle” of anything comes with an absolute budget cap.

    FOM and the FIA are willing to sacrifice the notion of “pinnacle”-ness and prestige because they can use the existing momentum (media contracts, tracks, relationships, etc.) to keep the show profitable even if that notion is gone. This is a business decision they have taken, and have presumably looked at all the risks that come with it. Time will tell if they did the right thing.

    The manufacturers and bigger teams rely heavily on the very prestige of the sport that Bernie and Max want to do away with, because it brings them huge marketing exposure while at the same time potentially being profitable within F1. They, very understandably, don’t want to see the prestige of the sport slip away.

    I believe that budget caps are completely at odds with DNA of the sport. I also don’t understand why there need to be more teams from a fans perspective.

1 4 5 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.