Formula 1 should only allow new entrants if they help stabilize the sport for the years ahead with the likes of a power unit supply, according to Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur.
Michael Andretti went public with his ambition to enter F1 as a team owner at the start of this year but has been met with opposition from a number of teams and stakeholders, with the FIA and F1 itself largely unreceptive to the request. Vasseur says the issue is not specific to Andretti – who tried to buy Sauber last year – but instead relates to how much value an incoming entry could bring.
“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.
“Also because it’s a mid-term process, a team now could join in two or three years and we don’t know about the situation in two or three years. If it had been 11 teams two or three years ago, I think two or three teams would have collapsed. And as soon as one collapses it would be like a domino.”
Vasseur also doubts that the appeal of having an American-centric team stands as a strong argument for allowing Andretti to join the grid.
“In the end it will be up to F1 and the FIA,” he said. “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.”