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 – Took Giorgio Pantano to the GP2 crown last year.
Epsilon Euskadi – Active in World Series by Renault, conceived a striking sports coupe for last year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.
Team USF1 – American F1 project.
Prodrive – David Richards’ team nearly entered F1 in 2008, considered buying Honda’s team for 2009, possibly branded as ‘Aston Martin’ in 2010.
iSport – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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