Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley has urged new F1 owners Liberty Media to work closely with the FIA to set up strong criteria for potential new or returning teams.

Speaking at Force India's team launch presentation at Silverstone, Fernley has echoed the sentiment his squad will aim for fourth place in the F1 teams' standings after achieving its best-ever results in the sport last year, but does concede it needs one of the leading three - Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - to slip up in order to progress higher in 2017.

With the Silverstone-based squad celebrating its 10th year under the Force India branding and Vijay Mallya's leadership, Fernley believes new owners Liberty Media should look at the team and Haas as a glowing examples of setting up a new brand in F1 after recent failures which included the demise of Manor.

F1 has continually aimed for a maximum of 12 teams, and 24 cars, on the grid but aside from the introduction of Haas last year every new team introduced since 2010 has folded.

Fernley feels Liberty Media and the FIA should concentrate on fortifying its current grid of 10 teams, including a fairer distribution of prize money, before looking to increase the numbers.

"I think Liberty need to work with the FIA because there is a provision for 12 teams under the current F1 regulations," Fernley said. "But to develop a team, you look at what Haas has done. They've done a remarkable job with incredible financing and good quality owners, yet it has not been easy.

"Looking at a team which may take three to five years to establish itself, plus 400 people minimum for it to work as a constructor, and a ?200-?300 million investment. Do you want to go through that for 12 teams or stick with 10."

6 key changes Liberty Media must make to F1

Fernley says he's sad to see Manor's exit but feels rigorous criteria for new teams must be laid out to ensure they not only survive but also be competitive.

"The FIA need to do their job properly in assessing the viability of that [Manor] recovery and that is not difficult to do," he said. "Haas did a fantastic job coming in with the right backing, no questions. If Manor comes back in you are going to face a couple of things.

"It is unlikely they will have a competitive car. These cars are incredibly quick so the 107% rule needs got be rigorously enforced and that means they don't make the races.

"When I made that decision to vote against Manor coming in [in 2015 Force India voted against the previously branded Marussia returning after being in administration] it was only going to affect the pride of one person.

"I would do everything in my power to keep that team together because it now involves 200 families and that is the consequence you have for not being strong enough at the beginning.

"Today we have 10 quality team who all are capable of delivering good performances. 10 well-funded, quality teams for F1 rather than trying to add two more that are going to struggle to get up to speed.

"With all due respect to Manor if someone comes in to buy them now they are buying a sell. The opportunity was last year not this year."

Latest Tweets from & GPF1rst



Loading Comments...