Christian Horner, Mattia Binotto, Toto Wolff, Cyril Abiteboul, Albert Park, 2019

New F1 teams would just mean “more cars to lap” – Horner

2019 F1 season

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Formula 1 team bosses gave a cool reception to suggestions the grid could be expanded beyond its current 10 teams, with one suggesting it would just mean “more cars to lap”.

FIA president Jean Todt and Formula 1 Management CEO Chase Carey have both spoken of a desire to use the 2021 regulations changes to make the sport more attractive to new entrants.

However principals from the top teams said the sport should focus on maintaining the current entry.

“It’s important that the starting grid looks complete and that for the live spectators that you see lots of cars going around the track,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

“But I think we are in a decent place right now for Formula One and the value of the teams is more important, to keep those franchises limited to attract the best brands to enter or participate in existing teams. I think that is the most important thing.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said F1 should prioritise “quality over quantity”, and said recent attempts to expand the grid had been unsuccessful.

“We’ve got 10 teams that are in pretty decent health at the moment compared to previous years and I think that as we are seeing, when the grid is expanded, none of those teams that came in a few years ago are still here today.

[mpuzweeler01]”[In] Formula 1 the cost of entry is so high it’s virtually impossible unless you’re an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] or multi-multi-billionaire and sometime not even that’s enough.

“I think we’ve got a good balance at the moment. I would prefer that we look after what we’ve got and have good quality and a closer grid than just inviting more entries for the sake of filling the grid slots and being more cars to lap.”

However Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul was more receptive to the idea.

“What’s important is the number of teams that are competitive and can really directly contribute to the show and can pretend that they are expecting to win,” he said. “But if there is a business model which is sustainable for 12 competitive teams, I think that that should be what is looked at.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 33 comments on “New F1 teams would just mean “more cars to lap” – Horner”

    1. Evidence of top teams wanting the sport and its money for themselves.

    2. Typical arrogant remark from Horner. Instead of speaking in a way and a tone that would be welcoming to a brand that may be on the fence about entering F1, he outright is trying to discourage those that will obviously be on the backfoot when initially entering F1. The problems with F1’s current structure now goes way beyond that simply the notion of wanting to add more teams and cars to the grid.

      Before delving too far into that topic, we first need to see what the 2021 plans are, what is being proposed, undoubtedly to make F1 more enticing and for it to make financial sense for newcomers, costs have to be drastically reduced and what that will ultimately make F1 is more of a spec series to achieve those lower costs, something the current teams have consistently been against. Making these types of changes would level the playing field in a way F1 hasn’t seen since the 70s and 80s before team budgets ballooned to the hundreds of millions we see today. Imagine if every driver on a modern F1 grid had a Ferrari or Mercedes equal car, sure, someone like a Hamilton or Vettel may still win a good chunk of races but without a doubt they would be fighting a lot harder for each race win against many more rivals than the 1 or 2 to get those wins now.

      1. I agree. Reminds me of Ron Dennis arrogance when he stated something to the effect of “….We MAKE history; you guys write about it….” when dismissing a reporter in a press briefing many years ago, when McLaren was at the top of their game.

        To infer that all 10 teams are healthy is asinine

        “We’ve got 10 teams that are in pretty decent health at the moment compared to previous years and,

        Williams is in a major disarray and, although pure speculation on my side, I suspect that they will not see the end of the season. F1 is in dire need of a cultural change. And that is a massive undertaking.

      2. Couldn’t agree more with both of you, gentlemen. I’m only afraid that FIA and Liberty weren’t as strong as they should have been while creating the 2021 rules and maybe got pushed to the wall (if they were, their fault). It would be the greatest of disappointments if we get the new rule book and all we see are just some cosmetic changes suited to the big three and their satellites. Not the way the sport should go.

      3. Horner needs to remember all those times he’s threatened Red Bull pulling their two teams out the sport … does he really think F1 should wait around to be at their mercy without making other plans. He’s like a child sometimes and like a politician others, which is frustrating because he’s actually smart enough to know better.

        1. +1 to Dale’s comment about Red Bull threatening to quit F1 if they are not winning. Horner is really becoming the villain of F1 with his support of bullish acts of his drivers and such comments. 2-3 more teams in F1 would be great, but F1 needs to reset it’s money-schemes, current situation can’t even support the teams we have (Williams, Force India, Sauber)

    3. Ignorant remark.

      It only takes one engine supplier or a drinks company to stop and the grid will look very empty.

      26 cars should be the target with easy access for others given half a chance.

    4. ‘“[In] Formula 1 the cost of entry is so high it’s virtually impossible unless you’re an OEM [original equipment manufacturer] or multi-multi-billionaire and sometime not even that’s enough’

      Yeah, that’s the problem Christian, and just how you like it. The top three’s grip on the status quo has to be weakened. What a stupid comment, honestly.

    5. Every team needs to start somewhere. One decision by Horner’s boss and the grid is down to 16 cars, which is makes Formula One unsustainable as a sport. It’s essential to reward existing teams for staying and incentivise new teams to get up to speed quickly. This is supposed to be the top tier of motorsport; there should be a queue of applicants being turned away because it’s full, not begging for interest.

      I don’t agree with “quality over quantity” at all; a balance needs to be struck. At the moment we don’t even have quality. Only three teams can compete for podiums, let alone wins.

    6. He’s absolutely right, without imposing budget limits they would be just cannon fodder for a couple of years until they faded back off the grid, or became satellite teams without the opportunity to fight with the big teams. F1 either needs to find a way to make the smaller teams more money or restrict the larger teams, it’s the only way they are going to close the gap.

    7. Cristiano Ferreira
      15th March 2019, 21:28

      “We’ve got 10 teams that are in pretty decent health at the moment compared to previous years”

      I want some of this drink Horner is drinking too lol (must be red bull of course haha)

      Well almost a year ago Force India almost got wiped out and Williams is in serious trouble (financial). Is he sure that all 10 teams are really in that good health? I guess not.

      Also i was expecting that kind of answer because its like someone else said above….more entrants means more sharing which in turn means less money are awarded.

    8. Seriously, bring Bernie back, bring him just to cool these f0*ckers down. Mercedes and Red Bull are both mega corporations in their respective area and it’s quite perverse that they should be freezing up the sport in such a twisted and arrogant way. It’s unheard of in the history of sport that throughout five seasons only three teams succeeded in winning races, and of course these gentlemen are ok with it. Now it’s only up to Liberty and FIA to minimalise the compromises in the 2021 rulebook and rap them over knuckles.

      1. @pironitheprovocateur read up on Berie and how he basically stole the sport away from the other teams, for example that last long read about Williams from Dieter Rencken.
        Bernie is no solution, even if he wasn’t almost as old as that infamous 101 year deal is still running.

    9. Man, sometimes it feels like Bernie was the ringmaster that this circus deserved.

      1. What if you volunteered, @phylyp, to be the ringmaster it didn’t deserve? You don’t mind swimming with piranhas, right?

        1. @jimmi-cynic – I don’t know, mate. If I go by Horner’s “pants down” statement, then all the childhood movies I’ve seen tell me swimming with piranhas is not a good idea. Oh no sir, no thank you.

          1. @phylyp: just swim faster with better quality!

      2. @phylyp You mean the early FOCA-boss Bernie or the late Concorde-Agreement Bernie?

        It might be time for a new constructors association… if only there was a decent number of independent constuctors in the sport. If someone refers to F1-teams as “franchises”, he and his “franchise” does not belong in F1, and it is probably not coincidental the demise of real F1 teams happened at the same time when corps such as Merc, that are alien to F1-fundamentals and spirit, took over.

        1. @crammond: It’s Enzo’s dream come true. FOCA has been defeated, finally.

        2. @crammond – the Bernie of this decade. We keep painting him as the bad guy, but with an attitude like Horner’s, we probably need someone as bad as him to keep them in line. Ideally, someone as harda– as Bernie but without all that excessive greed.

          Your point about a constructors association makes a lot of sense – if it can formally unify the voices of the smaller teams. Of course, with the smaller teams being satellite operations of the corps, it would diminish the effectiveness of such an association. It seems like a complex web to untangle.

    10. The man just want spectactle. Being spectacularly wrong is its way to contribute.

    11. And they say Frenchies are arrogant… ;)

    12. No, Horner is wrong. Just put some guy’s like Ocon back on the track and the lapping is over quick.

    13. I don’t necessarily think there wrong in terms of how we should be looking at “Quality over quantity” (And in more aspects than just new entrants). Introducing new teams just for the sake of adding more cars isn’t the right place to be coming from as we saw back in 2010.

      By all means introduce 2-3 new teams but only if there the right teams who have a long term plan & who stand a chance of been somewhat competitive sooner rather than later.

      Having 2-3 new teams who are on there own at the back way off the pace of even the mid-field with little hope of ever been truly competitive with the rest of the grid isn’t good for those teams & also isn’t good for F1.

      1. @stefmeister – yours is a well-reasoned argument, and one that many of us would not take any offence at, if it were articulated by Horner. In my opinion, it is his tone of arrogance/gatekeeping that is rubbing many of us the wrong way.

    14. Mark in Florida
      16th March 2019, 1:19

      Horners just scared that with extra teams on the track Max may feel the need to run into them. Seriously what an arrogant statement to make. Self serving a hole. I really do hope more teams will come in. It will help weaken Red Bulls value next time they claim that they are leaving the sport. Horner can always claim Helmet told him to say it.

    15. We’ve got 10 teams that are in pretty decent health at the moment compared to previous years and I think that as we are seeing, when the grid is expanded, none of those teams that came in a few years ago are still here today.

      Does Gene Haas know his team isn’t on the grid? I think he might be a bit surprised to hear that.

    16. We can’t judge Horner comment without knowing what 2021 regulation is. (1) If Liberty didn’t address the cost structure clearly, no new teams wants to join in and the ones that willing would not compete against current giant. (2) If Liberty did address the cost structure fundamentally to the point of Ferrari and Mercedes lose all of their advantage, Liberty risk losing both teams (and an Alfa Romeo) and the grid number decreased.

      In both scenario, Horner was right. Unless Liberty do little to nothing about it which makes Horner right.

    17. Every idea or initiative to improve the sport is always met with negativity. I’m getting sick of it.

    18. Spot on! Precisely what I’ve pointed out as well. Quality over quantity indeed.

    19. Horner is just being honest. New team like Haas is ok, but it’s extremely rare. Otherwise they should push for 3, even 4, car teams to fill up the gird. Weak teams have no place in F1.

    20. The big teams defending their position and income, nothing new.
      As Alain and @ben-n are saying, now it would just take one of the biggies stepping out for the house of cards to fall down…
      And there will always be one team in last position. Who of us did not symphatise with Minardi or Manor at the time?
      It gave someone like Alonso a place to start…

      No, major changes are needed. Not only to the rulebook, but also to the governing structure and dividing of the funds
      Time to show some balls Liberty…

    21. Christian Horner said: “We’ve got 10 teams that are in pretty decent health at the moment.”

      Who says these ‘sugar-drinks’ don’t curdle one’s brain…!?

      10 teams might be an acceptable number but… if one or two pull out (or drop out) it will take a year or two to replace them. 11-12 teams is better than 8-9 teams…

    Comments are closed.