Circuits unable to accommodate new teams, claims Horner


Christian Horner claims that the limited space at a number of the circuits on the current schedule would make hosting an 11th or 12th team impossible.

The Red Bull team principal's comment come at a time the sport is considering two new potential entries.

Previously, the main objection has been the impact any new team would have on the prize fund which is why the current teams are calling for a 'dilution' fee of around $600m.

Horner however comes at the issue from a completely different angle.

"If you look at the pit lane, for example, here or somewhere like Monaco, Zandvoort, or some of the circuits that we're now racing at, where would we be able to accommodate an 11th team?," said the Briton.

"Just operationally, where do we put the motorhomes?" he added. "Where do we put the support? Where do the trucks go?

"I think it would be an incredibly difficult thing to be accommodated with the way that the sport has currently evolved as well."

The current format of ten teams has been in place since 2016 when Manor went under, the team one of three that had been encouraged to enter the sport just a few years earlier with the promise of a budget cap and cheaper engines, a promise that was never fulfilled, certainly not in time to save the three most recent entrants.

"I think the issues remain the same as twelve months ago," said Horner, "both fiscally, what is the incentive for an existing team or franchise to accept an 11th entrant, and then ultimately, who pays?

"I mean, if it dilutes the income of the ten, it's like turkeys voting for Christmas. Why would they do that?"

"If we're being asked... our opinion is being asked," said Toto Wolff. "But we're not part of the process of choosing a team or not.

"The opinion that we have expressed is that it's very difficult in Formula 1 to perform. It has taken us many years to be where we are. We've gone through really difficult times where Formula 1 wasn't the blockbuster it is today, and therefore whoever enters the sport, I think it would be beneficial for all of us if they can really bring something new to the show, if it can help us to increase our audiences or if there is lots of marketing dollars that are being invested, similar to what we have done over the years. Red Bull and Mercedes, sitting here, I mean, hundreds of millions. And if that were the case, I think we need to be all open-minded and say how can we contribute to making that happen?

"But again, we're not part of the governance. And so I would very much hope that we find someone, if we decided to go for another team, that somebody can really leverage what we have today and make it even greater."

"All the teams are going through the process now with the FIA and thereafter FOM," said Otmar Szafnauer, "and I'm sure the process will deliver the right amount of teams that they feel that we should have.

"But from my perspective, if the entire sport can be better off by adding teams that's what we should be looking at doing. Right now we have 10 teams, that if we can reel one in, there's 10 of us competing almost at the same level and I think that's good for the fans.

"We haven't had that in recent years in Formula 1 and I think the cost cap has helped, better distribution of the income has helped. The fact that the sport is on the ascendancy means we get more sponsorship too and with all that, having 10 healthy teams is great for the sport. If we had more than 10, and it becomes a little bit less healthy, maybe that's not so good. But that's not for us, or not for me to say. So. for me, it's whatever optimises the entire sport, whatever that number is."

"As long as they are additive to our sport, I'd love to see more cars on the grid," admitted Zak Brown. "I think it's exciting. I remember when I started following Formula 1, you had pre-qualifying, I think there were 30-31 cars trying to show up to make the show. So I think an increase in the grid of the right teams that bring the right resources and are additive to what we're all trying to do and help grow the sport then I'm all for it.

"What we can't have is... really the only credible, sustainable team that I've seen in the last decade is Guenther's. And so what we do need to make sure is if someone enters that they really have the commitment and can do what it takes. Because in my experience, I think in a variety of motor sports, you do see a lot of dreamers and what we don't need with the health of the sport is a team coming in underestimating what it's going to take and two years later, they're gone. So you know, hats off to, to Haas for the commitment they've made and continue to make to the sport, so we need more teams like that."

So far, only two potential teams have publicly expressed an interest in entering the sport, Andretti Cadillac and Panthera Team Asia.

It's worth noting that both Red Bull and Mercedes, who are among the most vocal opponents of the move, are both evolutions of former teams, with the German outfit having originally been Tyrrell, then British American Racing, Honda and then Brawn, while Red Bull's ancestry can be traced back to Stewart which then became Jaguar.

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Published: 07/05/2023
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