Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has urged caution in Formula 1’s consideration of new teams joining the grid in the near future, saying the sport must concentrate on making its new commercial terms work for those currently on the grid.

The F1 grid has stood at 10 teams since the demise of Manor following the 2016 season, but there are at least two parties known to be interested in joining the field in the near future.

FIA president Jean Todt recently said he felt 12 teams was the “proper” number for F1 to have, while F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey stressed any potential projects must prove they are financially viable.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes team principal Wolff talked up the commercial opportunity on offer in F1 under the revised financial regulations for 2021, but also saw the benefits of the existing grid size.

“All the numbers that are coming in – from audiences in the conventional TV, digital space, sponsorship – are growing. I think this is a sport that also with the spending cap coming in in 2021 is an area of growth,” Wolff said.

“There will be certain thresholds that will come into the rules about joining the sport, concerning certain franchise value. Leaving the sport now would certainly not be the right thing to do from a commercial perspective when it’s just about to turn into a new opportunity.

“Should we be looking out for new teams? If there is interest in joining the grid with a solid foundation, big brands, why not have the discussion?

“But I think we should all 10 of us be proud of being part of the limited grid.

“We should be conscious about the opportunity and the possibility that lies ahead and concentrate on making it a good business for everybody.”

 

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