Formula 1's leading drivers have re-iterated their earnest concerns for the future of the sport as the ongoing FIA-FOTA budget cap war rumbles on in Istanbul this weekend – with double world champion Fernando Alonso claiming it would be a 'big mistake' to allow just 'anyone' to join the starting grid, and revealing his hopes in the enduring climate that a breakaway series does materialise.
FIA President Max Mosley has laid down the gauntlet to teams by telling them that 'if they want to formulate their own rules, then they can organise their own championship' [see separate story – click here
]. Confessing his own fears that F1 would be diluted should some of the potential newcomers – from British F3 tail-enders Litespeed to former World Touring Car Championship outfit N.Technology, which went into liquidation earlier this year, as well as two Spanish hopefuls – be granted entries, Alonso suggests that might just be the best thing that could happen.
“With this revolution it seems like almost anyone can have a Formula 1 team,” the Renault star told Spanish media ahead of this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix, “and I think that's a big mistake for the sport.
“Hopefully [a breakaway series] happens. It would be a dream if there was a Spanish team, but not if at the same time Formula 1 becomes a sort of 'big GP2'.”
The 21-time grand prix-winner's thoughts were echoed in the paddock by BMW-Sauber rival Nick Heidfeld and Red Bull Racing ace Sebastian Vettel, with the former hinting that there may be few drivers willing to hang around should some of the present teams – Ferrari, Toyota, Renault and Red Bull chief amongst them – follow through with their threats to walk away if Mosley stands firm on the controversial and unpopular £40 million cap.
“If it's going to be something like Formula 3, it would not necessarily be a place you would want to stay,” contended Heidfeld, speaking to German news agency SID
. “The current situation is that it is impossible to predict what is going to happen. You follow the news more attentively than usual, [and] naturally you have concerns.
“It's a strange situation. I want to do my best job here and fully concentrate on the driving, but the politics in the last couple of races have been extreme, especially regarding the future of the sport. I just hope that a solution can be found to keep Formula 1 as it is with the best teams, the best drivers. I'd like to stay here, [but] we are all here because it is the best series in the world, not because it is called Formula 1.”
“Perhaps it's best to wait,” added Vettel, in an interview with The Associated Press
, “and with regards to all these new teams, we don't know who is behind them, if they are really true or not. As soon as these new teams have to put some money on the table to prove [their position], it could change the whole thing.
“Some people want to go this way and some people want to go that way. In the end, we will see where we will go. We all want it to continue.”
Williams' Nico Rosberg, by contrast – the man who maintained his record as F1's 2009 practice pace-setter in leading the way in FP1 on Friday morning around the challenging Istanbul Park Circuit – reckoned that peace would ultimately prevail.
“It is very difficult to understand for next year what is the best team to go to and things like that,” confessed the inaugural GP2 Series Champion, whilst reasoning: “F1 has always had some big political things going on and has always come through the other side; Formula 1 has always continued.”