Formula 1 team bosses have urged caution amid hopes of expanding the grid in the near future, saying the priority should lay with ensuring the health of the existing outfits racing before welcoming new entries.

FIA president Jean Todt said in Australia last week that he would like to see the F1 grid expand to 12 teams, the field having stood at 10 teams since the start of the 2017 season.

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Todt’s hopes were echoed by F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey, who said there was “real interest” from new teams to join the grid, although both figures said it was important to maintain the strength of the current field.

Todt and Carey’s views were shared by a number of F1 team bosses, who warned against upsetting the applecart.

“I think it’s important that the starting grid looks complete and that for the live spectators that you see lots of cars going around the track,” said Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff.

“But I think we are in a decent place right now for Formula 1 and the value of the teams is more important, to keep those franchises limited to attract the best brands to enter or participate in existing teams.

“I think that is the most important thing going forward.”

“I always go quality over quantity,” added Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “I think we’ve got 10 teams that are in pretty decent health at the moment compared to previous years and I think that as we are seeing, when the grid is expanded, none of those teams that came in a few years ago are still here today.

“In Formula 1, the cost of entry is so high it’s virtually impossible unless you’re an OEM or multi-multi-billionaire, and sometimes not even that’s enough.

“I think we’ve got a good balance at the moment. I would prefer that we look after what we’ve got and have good quality and a closer grid than just inviting more entries for the sake of filling the grid shot and being more cars to lap.”

Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul said that while any new teams would need to prove they are able to add value to the F1 field, it would be worth considering under the right business model.

“I think that what’s important is the number of teams that are competitive and can really directly contribute to the show and can pretend that they are expecting to win,” Abiteboul said.

“But if there is a business model which is sustainable for 12 competitive teams, I think that that should be what is looked at.”

The last new team to join F1 was Haas, which briefly lifted the grid up to 11 teams for the 2016 season before Manor's closure at the end of that year, dropping the field back to 10 entries for 2017.



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