Todt, Prost keen to see new teams on F1 grid

Jean Todt (FRA), FIA President

FIA president Jean Todt has said that he's keen to see new teams enter Formula 1, and hopes that the grid will soon expand to 12 teams compared to the current ten.

Haas F1 is the most recent addition to the line-up, making its début at the start of 2016. But that addition was offset by the collapse of Manor at the end of the season.

But Todt says that more prospective teams have expressed an interest in joining Formula 1 in the near future.

"When we feel it is time, we will be able to make a tender," Todt said, speaking at the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva. "At the moment we have ten teams and the idea is to have up to 12 teams.

"If we have one or two strong newcomers it could be possible. There are always rumours, but we have had some interest from some teams."

Todt added that the FIA would still undergo all due checks into any applications from interested parties.

"It's going through a kind of audit to see who are the potential buyers," he said. "If it's a big manufacturer, it's easy, if it's a privateer, you need to be more careful."

As a result, Todt says there was little chance of a new team making a bow before 2019.

"It would be foolish to think that a new team would be ready in eight months," he pointed out.

Former world champion Alain Prost welcomed rumours of new teams entering the sport and hopes for more independent teams.

"We used to be racing teams, but now everything is much more like business," the Frenchman told Auto Bild. "One reason we lose fans [is that fans] don't quite understand how a drinks maker like Red Bull can defeat automobile companies.

"But I can say that whoever wants to start a private team today has it easier than in my time. That was probably the worst time ever."

Prost said changes in prize money allocation had made entering Formula 1 more feasible now.

"We never received more than $10 million [in prize money] but we paid $28 million in the first year for engines, 30 in the second. How is that supposed to work?" he pointed out. "Today, every team gets at least $40 million in prize money."

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