May 27, 2011; MONACO; Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone before for the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix. Mandatory Credit: Andreas Pranter/GEPA via USA TODAY Sports

Bernie Ecclestone Says There Are Too Many Teams: Is He Right?


Formula One’s supremo Bernie Ecclestone never seemed pleased with the addition of new teams to the series over the past few years.  Now that one of them is closing their doors, he has let it be known there too many teams in F1.  But is he right?

Each team has two cars which means the series will have 22 grid spots filled for the 2013 season.  For the past three years, there were 24 cars on the track.  There is a reason for the series to operate with at least 20 cars.  F1 has contracts which demand that at least 20 grid spots are filled each race.  The series is thought to be trying to allow a third car for each team which would alleviate the pressure to supply the 20 car minimum.

News got out that the Madrid, Spain, based Hispania Racing Team (HRT) is liquidating their operation, after an irate carbon fiber supplier let it be known HRT had started actions to liquidate last month.  This move thus ended HRT’s racing business’ short life in F1.  The President and CEO of Formula One, Ecclestone, in-turn stated that at least one more team needs to leave F1 (source: ESPN).

“I’d rather have 10.  I never wanted 12.”

Filled a need but now …

When three new teams were added for the 2010 season, the world economy was terrible and the idea of adding teams to the docket wasn’t such a bad initiative.  Actually, the economy isn’t much better and the future doesn’t look particularly good either, so why Ecclestone wants to trim the field down is a bit peculiar.

Bernie states that travel and promotion of the sport would be easier with fewer teams; however, that probably contradicts the fans who usually want more cars in the field.  And what happened to the spending cap that was to limit the bigger teams from pouring hundreds of millions into their race squads allowing smaller outfits to be more competitive?  In should be noted, that the other two teams that were added in 2010, Marussia (Virgin) and Caterham (Lotus) have never scored a point in their three seasons of competition.  No one has come forth to buy the HRT team which in three years of existence, also never earned a point.

That’s not to say there aren’t other groups out there possibly pursuing a potential spot on the F1 grid.  Toyota, who bowed out of F1 after the ’09 season due to fiscal problems (source: BBC), is rumored to be toying with the idea of re-entering F1.  If or when F1 changes the rules package to include hybrids, Toyota may take the technology of their successful Le Mans hybrid program and apply it towards F1 (source: Gas2).

Whether the rule changes come to pass and Toyota returns, is not known but likely, you won’t see Toyota in Formula One for at least the next couple years.  Besides the fans, currently the losers in this are the personnel and drivers who lost their jobs, including Narain Karthikeyan and Pedro de la Rosa.

Who’s in or out

In the meantime, majordomo Bernie Ecclestone carries on as an 82 year old billionaire who would like to see one more team go away.  There’s no inside info as to who he would like to see close shop but a best guess would be one of those other two teams that haven’t scored a point yet.

Ecclestone is a somewhat controversial and cantankerous leader of the most popular motorsports in the world.  So it’s not surprising that some inside (and outside) would like to see Ecclestone go away, including a certain team from Maranello, Italy (source: Autosport).  That’s another story, but regardless, the question remains: Is Bernie Ecclestone right for wanting fewer teams?  Hopefully, there isn’t a right or wrong answer and perhaps the funding caps could once again be discussed and brought into the equation, thereby offering more teams and better competition.

But what do you think?

Tags: Bernie Ecclestone Formula One HRT

  • http://www.facebook.com/StreetDreamer83 Matthew Sullivan

    Personally, I wish there were more teams/cars. I’d like to see teams be allowed to start three cars in a race. More cars on the track would bring more of a racing element to F1 in my opinion. More cars=more passes that would have to occur. Obviously you can’t have slugs out there, the teams/drivers would have to be somewhat competitive.

    • Matt Schafer

      They already have something like that. It’s called Indycar

  • Briony Dixon

    We could end up seeing teams field a third car as it is thought that the new Concorde Agreement states the grid has to only drop down to below 20, before this can happen. The current economic crisis could see the end for Caterham and Marussia before long so three cars could well be a possibility.