F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has reiterated his call for the weaker entrants to be weeded out of the sport, arguing that twelve teams in the top flight is 'too many' and that 'ten is enough'.
On a number of occasions last year, Ecclestone was scathing in his denigration of the efforts of newcomers Lotus Racing – now Team Lotus – Virgin Racing and Hispania Racing (HRT), variously labelling them 'cripples' and 'an embarrassment' to the sport [see separate story – click here
] and describing F1 as not the place for them as it is 'a bit rich for their blood'.
Despite the fact that all three have made it into a second season in F1 2011 – against expectations in the case of HRT, it must be said – on the eve of the fast-approaching new campaign, the Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive has now renewed his attack, sparing only Team Lotus of whom he remarked to the BBC
: “I'm very happy that they are back – they will get on their feet and then sponsors will be attracted to them and we'll see them grow. Frank Williams was like that years ago.”
Going on to opine in an interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo
that 'twelve teams is too many...ten is enough', Ecclestone has called for the limit on the number of competitors to be reduced accordingly in the forthcoming new Concorde Agreement for 2013, thereby ensuring sufficient sponsorship support for all and avoiding the money inside the sport from being spread too thin.
The 80-year-old's stance is at odds with the determination of Max Mosley, successor Jean Todt and the FIA to ensure a full field of 26 cars last season and the ensuing USF1 débâcle
– and it is one that is broadly shared by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and, surprisingly, by Hispania team principal Colin Kolles, who contends that the struggling Spanish outfit is capable of clinching a top ten constructors' championship finish in F1 2011.
“I think that the sport worked very well with ten teams,” underlined the German. “If ten teams are running, it is much safer for them because obviously the money distribution is different – if there are twelve teams, that distribution is different to ten. This is the major factor from our point-of-view. If we were one of those ten teams, it would give us greater security and this is the primary factor for us and healthier for the sport – and I think that others are more desperate than we are, to be honest.”