Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011

Whitmarsh: Three-car teams “wrong” for F1

2011 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, 2011

Martin Whitmarsh says introducing three-car teams would be “the wrong solution” for F1.

The McLaren team principal said F1 teams must stick to their cost-cutting plans for the good of the sport.

The Formula 1 Teams Association will debate the future of its Resource Restriction Agreement in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Speaking in a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in, Whitmarsh said cost containment is as high a priority now as it was when the RRA was introduced:

“The statistics that I live by are the ones since McLaren entered Formula 1 it’s been quite moderately successful, winning a quarter of the races and on the podium for more than half of them.

“During that team 101 teams have disappeared from the sport. I think that really demonstrates the volatility of the sport.

“We have in the last few years evolved from being a sub-set of the automotive sector, being pretty well back to a more pure Formula 1 set of business.

“I think we shouldn’t underestimate how tough it is for the smaller teams. It’s fine for perhaps some of the bigger teams, who feel quite confident about their future, but the fact is we need ten or twelve teams in the sport to race against.

“I personally think that going to generate grid size with three-car teams – I understand why some people are attracted to that, if it was necessary it has some interest to McLaren – but I think for Formula 1 it’s the wrong solution.

“Formula 1 requires the diversity of entry. I think we therefore have to work hard to endeavour to ensure that there are sustainable business models for all of the teams that are in Formula 1.”

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has repeatedly urged the sport to increase team sizes from two cars to three.

Whitmarsh played down recent comments from di Montezemolo suggesting Ferrari could leave F1 if restrictions on car development are not lifted:

“In fairness to Luca, I think Luca’s an extremely charismatic figure within Ferrari, within Italy and within motorsport.

“I know how off-the-cuff comments can be construed and amplified. I think he is passionate about Formula 1, I think he’s very proud of Ferrari’s history and heritage, and he will inevitably push with great passion his personal opinions and views.

“I think in my day-to-day business Formula 1 is much better when the teams and the governing body work together to design regulations.”

Whitmarsh stressed that F1 teams should continue to work together to improve F1:

“We’ve had some great races in the last two years. I think we should be very proud of that, and that’s been achieved by the teams working together with the FIA to develop sporting and technical regulations to achieve those ends.”

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