F1 sees no need for more than 10 teams
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 15th June, 2023 - 8:05pm
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali does not genuinely see the need for any more than 10 teams in the sport, dismissing the idea he is being “protectionist” towards the current marques.
Motor sport’s world governing body, the FIA, along with F1, are currently evaluating the standard of a number of potential newcomers following their applications under the Expressions of Interest process that opened in early February.
Doubts have been raised as to whether F1 requires expansion, such as from the likes of Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, albeit with the current teams naturally protecting their own financial interests.
The feeling of those such as Horner is that a new arrival would dilute the prize-money pot, and would be akin to “turkeys voting for Christmas”.
Domenicali can fully appreciate such sentiment, despite the exponential growth F1 has shown over the last few years, and it now appears the ideal time to further strengthen the sport’s hand with new additions.
Asked directly as to how many teams should be on an F1 grid, speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Domenicali replied: “This is a very interesting question.
“Because as you know, there are different positions, and there are also legal implications of what we have to say.
“If the contest that is growing is what we can see today, I think 10 teams are more than enough to create the show, the business, and the attention we want to see on the track.”
Domenicali confirmed “an evaluation” process is ongoing with regard to those who have thrown their hat into the ring, including Andretti, in tandem with Cadillac.
The former Ferrari team principal added: “In the past, there were teams that were coming in and getting out with zero value, now the teams are stable, very profitable, and very strong in terms of also (their) technical capability to be competitive on the track.
“In the next months, it will be a very important point of discussion that we need to tackle, that is ‘Do we need to stay with 10? Do we need to have more teams? Or can we give an exemption to a future possible team to be really very, very strong, that can join Formula 1?’.
“These are all topics that will be part of the discussion for the future.”
Domenicali was then asked to wear his promoter’s hat, bearing in mind they would arguably prefer more teams to create a better show for the fans who attend the grands prix.
As to whether he would like to see more than 20 cars, he said: “No, I don’t think so” before making categorically clear that his remarks were “a personal opinion”.
He added: “I need to say that because if you have a good show, 20 cars are more than enough.
“If you have two cars, or two drivers fighting, the level of attention is mega. So if you have already two teams fighting, that means four cars, it’s just incredible.
“So can you imagine 20 cars, 10 teams at the level where there is a competition on the track? It would be impressive. I would say let’s wait and see.
“My ‘no’ is not against someone who wants to come in. I need to clarify that because otherwise, it seems that I want to be protectionist. That is not the case. I want to see the right one (new team).
“And I also need to respect the ones that have invested in Formula 1 in the last period because we too quickly forget the respect, and now everyone wants to jump on the coach (bandwagon) that is (travelling) very fast.
“But we need to be prudent. We need to take the right decision. That’s what I’m saying.”