“No reason” not to expand F1 to 12 teams – Ben Sulayem

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In the round-up: FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says there is “no reason” not to expand the F1 grid up to 12 teams

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“No reason” not to expand F1 to 12 teams – Ben Sulayem

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, Michael Andretti, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Ben Sulayem is backing an expansion of the F1 grid
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says there is “no reason” not to expand the F1 grid up to 12 teams in light of Andretti and Cadillac’s intentions to join Formula 1.

Speaking at a press conference at the Dakar Rally, Ben Sulayem said the governing body would be open to approving any team considered good enough to enter F1 “even if they are small”.

“In general, if we look at the sustainability of Formula 1, we have to open it up to other brands. We can have up to 12 teams on the grid,” said Ben Sulayem.

“An OEM – manufacturer – will help make Formula 1 better and I see no reason for which we should not welcome new teams, especially the Americans. We have three races there already this year. We welcome any proposal to be one of the 12 teams. We accept good teams, even if they are small, as is the case with Haas. We hope that things will change and we will be able to have a proper eleventh team, we’ll see what happens.”

Colapinto joins Williams junior programme

FIA Formula 3 racer Franco Colapinto has signed for the Williams Driver Academy to become the F1 team’s newest junior driver.

The 19-year-old will compete in his second season of the main F3 championship this year, racing with MP Motorsport once more. Colapinto took two wins and five podiums in the championship last year on his way to finishing ninth in the overall standings.

“It’s a real honour to join Williams Racing as an academy driver,” said Colapinto. “They are one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history and I am looking forward to following in the footsteps of my fellow countryman Carlos Reutemann.

“My first year in FIA F3 was all about learning and I will use all the knowledge I’ve gathered to aim for the title next year.”

F1 Manager 2022’s sales “lower than expected”

Shares in F1 Manager 2022 developer Frontier Developments fell 42% yesterday after reduced revenue projections for both 2023 and 2024.

Frontier released the first instalment in their F1 Manager franchise last year, but reported “lower than expected sales” of F1 Manager 2022 as well as underperformance in the company’s other titles and own publishing label.

The developer has a three-game contract for its officially licensed F1 Management game. The second title is expected to be released during the middle of this year’s season.

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Comment of the day

With a new eight-part documentary series on Bernie Ecclestone leading some to scoff at the idea of watching a full series dedicated to the formula FOM CEO, reader Ed considers themself an admirer of the 92-year-old…

I think that Bernie is a polarising issue; love him or hate him. Personally I have great affection for him, always worthy of a sound bite. The classic line to Brundle on the grid about “we need to take sensible pills” – Bernie’s reply of “tell me where to get the pills.”

The thing that I think most people don’t understand was where F1 was before Bernie took it on. Teams infighting, rules (well, what rules), safety? And finally, the nail in the coffin, TV rights. There simply was a vacuum of who was negotiating with TV companies on deals and sponsors wanted exposure. If the teams hated Bernie with an absolute passion they would have got rid of him at the very start. They didn’t because it became very convenient to let Bernie run the show.

With hindsight, without Bernie, F1 would be in a very poor state prior to Liberty getting its (steadying) hands on the ship. If you love F1 all you need to know is Bernie helped build it, if not outright made it.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Cameron, Nano Rock, Sams, Ryan-Veitch and Euro Brun!

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24 comments on ““No reason” not to expand F1 to 12 teams – Ben Sulayem”

  1. Two best days at Ferrari. Your first and last.

    1. Yeah, not sure whether he is doing himself a favor here, going to Ferrari… Lets see

  2. Let’s face it. At any one point in time, only two teams have a realistic chance of winning a race without luck. So including a new team with a massive racing pedigree can only help the racing.

  3. This xenophobic attitude towards Andretti really angers me.

    Based on the behavior exhibited, half or more of the teams on the grid would not be there. Including sold for nothing (Honda) Mercedes, discarded (Jaguar) Red Bull. Small (garagiste) teams (Minardi) AT, Willys, Macca, Sauber wouldn’t make the grade. Tolerance too.

    Very poor sports all around.

    1. Hah! Autocorrect tolerance: Toleman.

      1. Yep, I don’t get it either. Maybe if the name were Penske it would be different, but why should that matter?

        1. @kcrossle and SteveR: for me, it’s the recollection of just how bad Michael Andretti was when he drove for McLaren in 1993.

          Can’t ever take him seriously for F1 after that season. Scoring 7 points to Senna’s 73 and only completing 3 laps in his first three races. Also for assuming he could commute from the USA between test days and races

          1. @nvherman Michael Andretti was a far, far better driver than that season showed.

            And besides one poor season as a driver in F1 should have zero influence on allowing someone in as a team boss. I mean how many other team bosses throughout F1’s history were setup and/or run by a former driver who didn’t have much success in F1?

            The success the Andretti team has had in every category it has entered suggests that Michael & the others who are part of running that operation know how to put together & run a team. That should be what Liberty look at rather than 1 season in F1 as a driver 30 years ago.

          2. …. and how many F1 teams are currently run by successful F1 drivers?

            Oh right– None.

  4. F1 and the FIA really ought to have a more unified approach than this.

    Dominicali is “happy” with the 10 team franchise model; Ben Sulayem thinks 12 teams is manageable. Both seem happy to dilute the product with an increased volume of races and sprints – neither can explain how that is sustainable for the work forces or the environmental goals long term.

    The dilution levy is a clear nonsense – I fully understand why it exists – but I can scarcely think of a stronger method to dissuade new starts from joining and the only teams able to pay $200m before a wheel has been turned will be international conglomerates. It’s little wonder such a culture has been met with a cool reception.

    If Andretti had came in by himself, paid no fee, and in 3 months announced a partnership deal with Cadillac the fans would have viewed it as an independent who enticed the manufacturer. Instead, it looks like another car company that will come and go as it pleases, culpable to accountants and not real racers.

    When the FIA and F1 do agree, it’s often at odds with the fans’ opinion, F1 needs to sort this model out – 1 new team in the past decade, 5 this century is clear evidence of this. I wish Andretti the best and think he’ll do a great job, every new team should be celebrated I’d just prefer one of them was a garagista every now and again.

    1. I see no reason why FIA president would come from a country without automotive industry, but we have one. I see no reason why not to expand number of teams and I see no reason why current number of teams wouldn’t remain. I can still remember pre-qualifying when 26 cars out of 30 qualified to race. During that time cars weighed around 505kg. Today they resemble to trucks with minimum weight of 768kg. That’s 50%+ increase in minimum car weight. Cars are bigger these days and I see safety issue on some tracks with 20+ cars on the grid. We had odd situations in qualifying with 20 cars and I can only imagine what would happen with 24.

  5. Unfortunately this will turn out to be exactly the wrong way forwards. OEM are the issue, cause for the demise of F1 and should be excluded from F1. It was funny having Ferrari around as the exception, but F1 should be about teams developing a chassis.

  6. I think the attitude from teams towards Andretti is incredibly short sighted. It’s notable that when Lewis & Max have a have coming together Toto & Christian are the first to hold a microphone and layout their thoughts.

    The tone is different when it comes to new teams, the line seems to be “they’d need to bring value, we’ll see what happens”. We don’t even know which teams oppose Andretti? When people are coy about what they’re saying, it’s probably because they know what they’re saying is not what they actually think – but they’re looking out for their own (or the boards) interests. If Fred Vassuer or Cyril Abiteboul or Patrick Head or anyone else were asked this question without being associated with F1, they’d say something like “yes, everyone has to enter at some point in order to have a championship”. And the championship is better for it…… it actually exists because of it.

    We don’t need a dilution fee, simply because we have the 107% rule.

    1. We don’t even know which teams oppose Andretti?

      Apparently Andretti tried to get a petition signed to allow them onto the grid and only Alpine and McLaren signed it.

  7. When Toto and other team bosses start to tell us, how new teams won’t do anything for the formula, I start to think how F1 would look without Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari…

    1. And I always start thinking it is madness Toto and Horner have a voice in this at all. FIA and Liberty need to grow a pair and take charge of their baby. Why on earth can participants interfere? Nice to hear them so FIA and Liberty can take their opinion into account as an advise, but that’s all it should be. They are supposed to accept what is presented and subsequently make their decision to participate or not. If they dont like it I am sure they’ll find better things to do than F1.

      1. The problem with the FIA and Liberty here is that they are on opposite sides of the fence. They are fighting each other.
        Liberty do not want another team that isn’t bringing a guaranteed short-term financial gain to everyone. Liberty won’t oppose the existing teams’ wishes as they need them on their side to maximise profit.

        This is a classic example of the business side of F1 clashing with the sporting side.

  8. I don’t see any reason really why F1 should not have up to 12 teams. I hope the FIA prevail on this argument. I am not especially a fan of the rapid expansion in the U.S. that we have seen, but I think a U.S. based team might be a good idea. Liberty might be satisfied then.

  9. There is no reason to bar any team entry. There should be no limit on the number of teams, and if more than 26 cars enter a race weekend simply have pre-qualifying. If an unknown independent team turns up with just one car because that’s all they can afford, but then is able to get into the 26 fastest cars and below the 107% mark, then why shouldn’t they be allowed to race? I’m sure the prize money could be altered to account for this, it is already a mess what with Ferrari getting their ‘historical bonus’ and other silly things like this. Maybe if it were done on points rather than championship position?

    Andretti absolutely deserve a place on the grid as much as any manufacturer, and I would say that even if they hadn’t had enormous success elsewhere in motorsport. It is not up to the other teams to decide if they are allowed in.

    1. Coventry Climax
      10th January 2023, 13:10

      Thank you. Amen.

  10. Bonne chance speaking French in F1, if he ever makes it one-and-an-Arthur Leclercs on the grid.
    Maybe that will be the 12th team…

    1. Coventry Climax
      10th January 2023, 13:13

      So where exactly does it say he speaks french only?

  11. I like the idea of 12 or more teams joining the F1 championship. Pre-qualifying could be bought back into the scene if necessary in venues where paddock size is a limiting factor. In other venues, instead of a pre-qualifying we could have a pre-race for qualifying purposes… oh wait…

  12. F1 needs to give their heads a wobble. Andretti is right, they’re just being greedy and narrow-minder. Not good for the sport or the fans

Comments are closed.