F1 » 4 October 2009
Williams opposed to Sauber return
Sir Frank Williams has claimed that the Formula One field should remain at the 13-team limit initially planned for 2010, rather than expanding to allow BMW Sauber a way back in under new ownership.
With US F1, Campos Meta, Manor Grand Prix and Lotus already due to join the line-up next season, the grid is at capacity, leaving Qadbak Investments holding a team with no slot following its late acquisition of BMW Sauber following the German manufacturer's decision to withdraw.
The FIA insisted that it would press for a 14th team to be admitted to the fold in order to allow Qadbak in, but Williams is digging his heels in, claiming that the squad should remain as a reserve under the terms of the recently-signed Concorde Agreement.
"There should only be 13 teams, that's what there always has been," he told Reuters ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix, "I would suggest they apply to be first reserve. That's the logical thing to do.
"It's illogical to change the rules suddenly for one extra person. They may have a chance of getting in based on the gossip that's going around."
Despite his stance, however, Williams admits that he might not be so trenchant had the plea been made on behalf of one of F1's stalwarts.
"If this was Ferrari [which had] somehow retired halfway through a year and wanted to come back, we'd find a way to bend the rules," he said, "but this is a team that is owned by someone who we don't know. We're not at all happy until we know who the owners are and their long-term plans."
McLaren counterpart Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that he would not share Williams' opposition to Qadbak joining the grid, but agreed that the debate may be rendered moot should one of the existing teams fail to make it through the winter.
"There's no unanimity on the subject," Whitmarsh conceded, "Our position is that we wouldn't wish to block Sauber, who are an established FOTA member. I think what FOTA is concerned about is that we are having an artificial debate because the strong suspicion is that there will not be 14 teams [in 2010] - and there may even be less than 13 teams.
"If it gives clarity to Sauber, I think it would be right to agree to there being 14 teams in the event that one of them is Sauber.
"But I think 14 is too many teams, frankly."
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