New teams keen on F1 but no additions for 2021

LONDON • Formula One has played down talk of new teams lining up on the starting grid in 2021, saying there are "no serious discussions with any persons or companies" about such a move.

Liberty Media, the sport's commercial rights owners, issued a statement after some aspirants aired plans to enter once changes aimed at levelling the playing field and making racing more competitive and affordable take place.

Monaco-based MIM Group had announced that it was backing a planned Spain-based team with former Sauber driver Pascal Wehrlein in their prospective line-up, while there has also been talk of a Panthera Team Asia.

MIM, linked to the Campos Racing team who compete in F2 and F3, said it had a team of experienced and highly regarded former F1 engineers working on a preliminary study.

"The team is now at an advanced stage of negotiations with current F1 teams and engine manufacturers to ensure the best possible partnership for a competitive Spanish F1 team from 2021," it said.

The statement also mentioned meetings in May and July with F1 chairman Chase Carey and managing director Ross Brawn.

Brawn said in August that " a surprising number" of entities had expressed interest in entering from 2021, but made clear that the bar would be set high and any would-be entrants would have to wait.

He said: "Ten healthy teams in F1 are actually enough and, if we do get any extra teams, they've got to really add to the show.

"We must remember the history. So many small teams came and went and didn't really add to F1."

Three new teams entered in 2010, when a budget cap was proposed but never implemented, and they have since all gone defunct.

Campos co-owner and MIM founder Salvatore Gandolfo is undeterred by the "big challenges" in what he sees as a long-term project.

He added: "With the new budget cap... and the new technical and sporting regulations, there is a great opportunity for smaller teams to compete and make (F1) more interesting and balanced again."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2019, with the headline 'New teams keen on F1 but no additions for 2021'. Print Edition | Subscribe