F1 chief Chase Carey feels that the sport should have quality teams, for which, they are trying to make it a good business for the owners.
The expansion of the F1 grid has been talked about consistently since the sport’s birth, as increased teams theoretically would add to the level of competition in the field. To add to it, if there are more manufacturers, it helps even more.
Over the past few years the number of F1 teams has stayed consistent at roughly 10, although there have been teams like Lotus/Caterham, Marussia/Manor and Hispania/HRT, whose attempts to make it more than 10 but faltered.
Advocates for a larger grid often criticise the high entry fee, as something which limits the flow of new teams into the pinnacle of motorsport. However, F1 CEO Carey sees the entry fee as a vetting process which filters out financially weak teams.
That’s why he feels, it should be quality and not quantity. Also, the priority for F1 is to make it a better business deal for owners wanting to be in the sport. “I think one of our key priorities is making team ownership a better business,” said Carey. “We’ve made it very clear what our overriding objectives and principles are.
“One is racing on the track; better competition, better action, and more unpredictable. The second key priority is to make it a healthier business. Making the business [side] more attractive to others. And, interestingly, as we talk about potential F1 teams, most of them want to see rules in place which provide the framework for a healthier business model.
“What they consider a fair level of prize money distribution and some disciplines in the cost. About how well you spend your money not how much you spend. So, the overriding principles. We think those principles should – we want owning team, like in other sports, to have franchise value.
“As part of that, we’ve talked about what’s the process to entering [as] a new F1 team, and I think it supports that how do we make owning a team a good business proposition not just a pursuit of passion. Obviously many of these teams have larger businesses and benefits that transcend running a team on the track.
“Promotional value, market value, and the brands that [they] represent. But we’d like to make it a better business. Our priority is, we want healthy F1 teams, we want quality more than quantity and to me having an eleventh team that’s just at the back of the track, is not adding for the fans or would improve the sport.
“I’d like to have an eleventh F1 team to be competitive and healthy, and bring something to the sport. If you come in, I think you should be part of the sport, not a second-class citizen. If you come in as a second-class citizen, I think that’s a deterrent to coming in.
“So having somebody have to have a commitment to coming in [i.e an entry fee], I think is a good thing, and once they commit to coming in, it is a good business, not just a great sport. If I wasn’t coming in as part of the club then it’s a deterrent to coming in.”
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The story was edited by Darshan Chokhani