Horner 'ideally' supportive of F1 adding new teams


Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says that "from an idealistic point of view" and if the economics made sense, he would fully support having 12 teams on the grid.

The debate over Michael Andretti's prospective entry into F1 was revived recently in Hungary when Mercedes boss Toto Wolff suggested that Audi would add more value to the field as an eleventh team than Andretti.

"I think that whoever joins as the 11th team, whoever gets an entry, needs to demonstrate how creative they can be for the business," Wolff said.

"Andretti is a great name, and I think they have done exceptional things in the US. But this is sport and this is business and we need to understand what is it that you can provide to the sport.

"And if an OEM or an international, multinational group joins F1 and can demonstrate that they are going to spend X amount of dollars in activating, in marketing in the various markets; that's obviously a totally different value proposition for all the other teams."

Horner believes that the problem of expanding the grid shouldn't necessarily be viewed in terms of added value, but simply in respect of the basic economics.

"I think, if you remove the economics, then to have 24 cars on the grid is a good thing," Horner told Sky Sports F1.

"And I think it would see more young drivers that are struggling to make it in, it would see them getting in.

"The problem is always going to be, how do you address the finances, because by bringing two more teams in, you just dilute the pot for the 10 that are there and there is no relegation or promotion system.

"So, it is going to be something that the promotor, Stefano, is going to have to justify particularly to the smaller teams.

"If they are going to have to give up five, 10, or 15 million dollars for the sake of another entry coming in, why would they do that?

"Like all things, the commercials will drive it.

"If you look at it from an idealistic point of view, I’d fully support 12 teams. But when you look at the numbers and what it is going to cost each team individually, that is where it falls over."

Alfa Romeo team boss Frederic Vasseur, whose Sauber employer is reportedly in talks to sell itself to Audi, offered another compelling reason for which the latter - if it entered F1 on its own - would be readily accepted by the sport's incumbents: Audi add another engine supplier to the grid.

"When we spoke about the 11th team, it was three years ago, we took the example of Porsche and said ‘OK imagine if you have someone like Porsche that wants to join F1 and wants to do it on their own, does it make sense for us to open the door?’" Vasseur told RACER.

"And in this case you say ‘Yes, for sure’, because it would add huge value to the paddock, it would be another engine manufacturer and don’t forget that at this stage we were at risk.

"So that’s why we started saying we could open the door.

"I don’t want to speak about Andretti because it’s not personal, but to add another team doing the same things as the others with no big added value, I’m not sure it makes sense today.

"In the end it will be up to F1 and the FIA," concluded Vasseur.

"I’m not a big fan because I know where we are all coming from together, and I would say that I would be OK if we know about the project, we have information and we are convinced that they will bring and add value to F1.

"But I don’t think added value can come from the nationality of a team. One of the biggest markets of F1 today is the Netherlands, and we don’t have a Dutch team, we have a Dutch driver."

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