Nigel Mansell believes Formula 1 can't afford to lose any of its manufacturers, and especially not Ferrari.
As the sport moves towards its future, discussions over F1's 2021 regulations continue between Liberty Media, the FIA and the teams.
The latter party offered negative to mixed reactions to the new engine proposal tabled last November by F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn, with Ferrari threatening to pull out of Grand Prix racing altogether if the concept of standardisation of certain engine components, as suggested by Brawn, is formally introduced.
Queried by Sky Sports News on the subject, Nigel Mansell was asked if F1 could do without the presence on the grid of Ferrari in the future.
"Absolutely not," unequivocally answered the 1992 world champion.
"Formula 1 will have great challenges ahead if they let any manufacturer walk away.
"We only have 20 cars on the grid now. In the heyday there were 43 Formula 1 cars trying to qualify for 26 places.
"The fans worldwide are crying out to have 26 cars now. We need new drivers, new blood, new manufacturers to start competing on a level playing field."
Formula 1's is eager to lower the costs of racing in F1 in a bid to lower the barrier of entry for independent engine manufacturers such as Cosworth or Aston Martin as well as for new teams.
Mansell argues that boosting the grid would also cater to the needs of many talented young drivers.
"We've got a backlog of great drivers wanting to come into Formula 1 and we need more manufacturers with at least 26 cars on the grid.
"Hopefully Liberty are going to get some new regulations that everyone will embrace and there will be a more level playing field where people can be competitive.
"There is something wrong with any sport when you have, as a good or bad example, an incredible team like McLaren who have won so many world championships and an incredible manufacturer of engines like Honda, they couldn't get it together.
"It shouldn't be that difficult."
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