With the Formula 1 grid currently consisting of ten teams, speculation has grown that this number could soon be growing with interest being shown by some of the biggest names in world motorsport.
Audi and Porsche have both declared their interest in getting into the sport, CEO of parent company Volkswagen Group, Herbert Diess, confirmed that both would be joining in 2026.
However, both aren’t looking to form a new team; instead they are attempting to buy or invest into a current one.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown discussed the possibility of the grid expanding as well as his views on the German manufacturers entering Formula 1.
“We’ve got a great spectacle as it is so I understand why some people would go ‘We’ve got 10 very healthy teams, we’re not at risk of losing a team’ whereas historically, in the last 20 years, there has always been a team or two on the brink,” said Brown.
“I know Audi and Porsche, the CEO made some statements which effectively confirmed that they are coming into the sport.
“We can go up to 12 teams and I think as long as they are quality teams who are properly resourced and can contribute to the growth of the sport…
“Whether you buy or invest in an existing team or start one, it shows how healthy the sport is now that you have real people and investors that own different sports and OEMs that are trying to figure out a way to get into the sport.
“It’s achieved what [owners] Liberty [Media] has wanted to achieve which is to build franchise value for the racing teams.”
Under the Concorde agreement, the grid can expand to twelve teams, however, there has only been ten since Manor disappeared at the end of 2016.
Whilst Audi and Porsche are hoping to join existing teams, Michael Andretti has announced his interest in entering a brand-new team into the sport.
This would provide American drivers with a realistic pathway into the sport, something which there hasn’t been for a number of years.
Brown is very open to Andretti joining the grid, especially due to his family’s motorsport pedigree.
Some though are against it, with Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff concerned that it would reduce teams revenue.
Brown called these views “very selfish” and demonstrated his support of an eleventh team.
“I’m not surprised at all that some of the race teams take a very selfish view on what should and shouldn’t happen in motor racing. I don’t think that is anything new,” Brown continued.
“Obviously, he is keen to come into Formula 1. He got close with a deal on Alfa Romeo and now he has stated he wants to start a team.
“It is obviously a very high-pedigree racing family, a great IndyCar team, Formula E team, Extreme E team. We think the more competition the better.”
“I think the pushback from some of the teams has been more of a fiscal pushback because ultimately they chew into the prize fund.
“They have to write a pretty significant cheque on the front end which means the dilution of money is a few years out and if you believe they are additive to the sport – I think they will put more in through helping build the sport, maybe an increased television contract in America, more sponsorship – that by the time the dilution kicked in, they would have helped contribute to more growth.
“So I think we have a very long-term view on these things that economically, things would be okay, so we’re supportive of an 11th high-quality team,” the McLaren CEO concluded.