The FIA’s announcement on Thursday that it is inviting a new entrant to compete in Formula One potentially from as early as next year has prompted speculation that a potential new team is waiting in the wings.
While car manufacturers like Volkswagen and Renault have repeatedly been linked with works F1 campaigns, another possibility is that one of the existing major teams could be looking to set up a satellite junior operation, much as Red Bull has done with Toro Rosso.
An obvious candidate for such a move would be McLaren, which stands to benefit from having an extra team to develop its Honda engines, and a destination for junior drivers Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Nyck de Vries, and potentially also Honda’s Nobuharu Matsushita.
But does F1 need more ‘B teams’ in the mould of Toro Rosso? Would it not be better served by having more independent or manufacturer-run teams like Mercedes, Sauber or Lotus?
Without ‘B teams’ like Toro Rosso, the Formula One grid would be even more sparsely populated than it is today.
And while smaller independent teams like Sauber often have to resort to hiring much-maligned ‘pay drivers’, B teams can be used to bring the best new racing talent into F1.
‘B teams’ can never expect to become genuine players in Formula One because they only exist to train young drivers for more senior squads. They occupy spaces which could be taken by ‘real’ competitors.
They also leave F1 more vulnerable in the event that their ‘parent’ team pulls out of the sport. In 2008 F1 not only lost Honda, but also its ‘B team’ Super Aguri.
F1 teams should be out to win for themselves. While Toro Rosso can give Red Bull a run for their money on the track on any given day (and are doing a particularly good job this year), they will never benefit from the same kind of resources as their parent team, nor sustain the kind of driver line-up which will allow them to compete with the front runners.
And judging by the frequently indifferent response I see to articles about Toro Rosso on F1 Fanatic compared to other teams and the lack of support they appear to have, I don’t believe they inspire the same kind of affection among fans that ‘proper teams’ do.
Do you agree F1 should have more 'B teams' like Toro Rosso?
- Strongly agree (12%)
- Slightly agree (36%)
- Neither agree nor disagree (8%)
- Slightly disagree (17%)
- Strongly disagree (26%)
- No opinion (1%)
Total Voters: 343
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