“When you look at the 60 years that F1 has existed, the automotive industry has been in and out – Honda has been in and out three times, BMW
has been there a few times – so at some points they all believe that F1 is the perfect platform for brand exposure and differentiation. You have to accept that an automotive company's core business isn't F1, and consequently we have to accept that there will be times when their marketing budgets will make them pull out, so they will come and go and we should not criticise them for that.
“If these automotive companies go for complete team ownership, then inherently that's unstable because when they go, it leaves a mess. We had that with Honda, Toyota
and BMW, who came in for ownership and it has been difficult for the sport to manage that. If they come in as technical partners and then decide to quit, that's an easier situation to manage.
“It is a fact that the automotive industry had the largest recession in its history and is slowly coming out of that. Now we have to make sure we can convince the boards of big companies that the conditions are right to come back – then I think it could be possible to have four or five automotive companies involved. I think the ideal model is that we create a situation where we are attractive, we're relevant and we are powerful and appropriate for automotive manufacturers, because the natural affinity is automotive. I am sure that in the next five years, we'll have one or two more come back in.
“We need to make sure that we maintain the show. In previous years, the complaint was always that the show was no good, but I believe that in the last two years we've responded responsibly, and actually we have had some incredible races. I think we have a great show – and that's good, so we can tick the box there. Now we have to make sure that we are relevant, and maybe the new V6 engines do that. We have to be responsive, and not wait until our 'marque' is dying. We have to go out there and make it ours – that's the challenge.”