Formula 1 will be sticking with “10 healthy teams” on the grid unless prospective new entrants can convince both the FIA and Liberty of a stable financial plan in order to join the sport.

Towards the end of this year a number of reports emerged on new F1 teams, including a formal submission from Formula 2 squad Campos Racing to expand into the premier class, which initially named ex-Manor and Sauber F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein and IndyCar-bound Alex Palou as potential drivers.

While any new teams would need to wait until at least 2021 to join the grid, F1 bosses remain unconvinced by any plans they’ve seen so far that would produce a competitive and sustainable new entry.

F1 is eager to avoid a repeat of the failed expansion of the grid in 2010 when Lotus Racing, Virgin Racing and HRT joined only to see all three go out of business despite changing hands and ownership over the following eight years.

FIA President Jean Todt is still eager to see 12 teams for the F1 world championship in the future.

“On one side the commercial rights holder [Liberty] is the organisation which has contact with teams and generates finance with them, and they are very good at it, but for the regulator and legislator which is the FIA I would prefer to have 12 teams,” Todt said.

“But I do think if you have 12 teams it can take the value off of each current team so for them and Liberty who have invested so much I can understand for them they have a value. If you say okay let’s open it up for another team it must be considered with the loss of value for their assets and investments.

“Chase and I have some interesting proposals on that and we have teams willing to commit but we haven’t really been convinced by the solidity of the teams.

“But if we could be convinced that a proper team is willing to join I would be quite happy to have 12 teams in Formula 1, I think that is the proper number to have in the Formula 1 world championship. Saying that, with 10 teams it can work as they are all good, competitive teams.”

Speaking alongside Todt in Abu Dhabi, F1’s CEO Chase Carey insists any new teams must be sustainable and have an attractive business plan which would add value to the sport.

“We need 12 healthy teams and I don’t think Jean would disagree with that,” he said. “But I don’t want 10 healthy teams and two struggling teams. But 12 healthy teams are better than 10 healthy teams.”

In 2016 F1 briefly increased to 11 teams with the arrival of Haas but reverted back to 10 teams following the collapse of Manor Racing before the start of the 2017 season.

 

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