Formula 1 should provide a strong business opportunity for prospective new teams, according to the sport’s CEO and chairman Chase Carey.
The grid has been made up exclusively of the current 10 teams for the past three seasons, since Manor went out of business at the start of 2017. While Haas has been competitive since joining the grid in 2016, the three previous teams — Manor, HRT and Caterham — to join the grid all failed, and Carey says F1 needs to represent an attractive business opportunity to anyone looking to join the grid in future.
“I think one of our key priorities is making owning a team, or making team ownership, a better business,” Carey said. “We’re very clear, what are our over-riding objectives in these principles? One is better racing on the track, better competition, better action (that is) more unpredictable, the moments of drama that make sports special.
“The second key priority is to make it a healthier business, make it a business more attractive to others … It’s interesting as we talk about potential teams. Most of the people I’ve had preliminary conversations with want to see rules in place that provide the framework for a healthier business model, what they consider a fairer level of prize fund distributions, and some disciplines in the cost. It’s a used phrase but make it about how well you spend your money, not how much you spend.
“Those are the overriding principles. We think those principles should make … people talk about a franchise value, we want owning a team, like in other sports, to have a franchise value. As part of that we’ve talked about what is the process to enter a new team, and I think it supports that — how do we make owning a new team something that is a good business proposition, not just a pursuit of passion?
“Obviously many of these teams have larger businesses and benefits that transcends running the team on track — the promotional value, the marketing value of the brands they represent — but we’d like to make it a better business.”
Carey believes it is important F1 ensures any new team is competing on an equal footing with the existing outfits rather than there being special treatment for established teams, with a number currently receiving specific payments related to their history in the sport.
“Our priority, I think we’ve said before, is we want healthy teams, quality more than quantity. To me having an 11th team that sits at the back of the track is not adding for the fans what would improve the sport. I’d like to have an 11th team but I’d like to have an 11th team that is a competitive and healthy, and bring something to the sport.
“If you come in you should be part of the sport and not the second-class citizen. If you come in as a second-class citizen, I think that’s a deterrent to coming in. I think having somebody having a commitment to come in is a good thing; but if they commit to coming in, buy into it’s a good business not just a great sport. If I wasn’t coming in as a first-class citizen — not as part of the club — it’s a deterrent to coming in.”