The F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, alongwith the Bahrain Grand Prix, have gone a long way in boosting the profile of the Gulf region. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: Major team principals are open to admitting more teams into the Formula One fold, provided they can retain the current crop of 10 in fray.

“I think it would be great to see another team in the sport. We’ve got a new race market that creates excitement and as long as it’s a quality racing team, I think it would just add excitement and opportunity,” McLaren’s Zak Brown said.

“I don’t think it’s the teams’ responsibility to look out for the next team to join, but this should be done by Formula 1,” he added.

Mercedes Team Principal and CEO Toto Wolff is also of the same opinion. “All the numbers coming in, from the conventional television, digital space, sponsorship are all growing. Leaving the sport now would certainly not be the right thing to do from a commercial perspective when it’s just about to turn into a new opportunity,” Wolff remarked.

“Should we be looking out for new teams? If there is interest in joining the grid with a solid foundation and big brands, then why not have the discussion? I think all 10 of us should be proud of the limited grid. We should be conscious about the opportunity and the possibility that lies ahead and concentrate on making it a good business for everybody,” the Austrian stressed.

Williams’ Claire Williams felt that the current crop needs to consolidate firmly. “I’m not sure I know a whole level of detail about two potential teams leaving this sport, but clearly we want a grid of 10 teams. That promotes great racing and we need great racing to ensure that our fans keep tuning in and watching us,” she said.

“Clearly, we want to be growing that audience as well. So whether it’s down to F1 to actively go out and promote that or whether it’s down to those [two] teams to make sure they secure buyers … all I can say is Williams certainly isn’t one of those [two] teams,” she added.

Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto also struck the consolidation note. “I think the first objective should be not to look around, but try to retain what we’ve got,” he observed. And only after that we can eventually look around [for new teams],” Binotto added.