Stefano Domenicali on ‘need’ for more teams to join Formula 1

The Formula 1 paddock has not been home to any more than 10 teams since 2016.

Formula 1 CEO, Stefano Domenicali, has reinforced his opinion that additional teams in the pinnacle of motorsport is not considered a necessity.

Former F1 driver and IndyCar champion, Michael Andretti, has been trying to enter a team for the 2024 season, but the son of 1978 champion, Mario, has had the door closed in his face.

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, is unsure that the American would add more to the sport than he would take away, so he has been firmly against the proposed entry.

When a new team comes into the pinnacle of motorsport, they need to pay a $200 million entry fee to offset the dilution to the prize fund.

READ: Stefano Domenicali makes 2023 Las Vegas GP claim after unique characteristic announced

It means that everyone still gets the same size slice of the pie, but the fee, finalised under the concord agreement, only covers so many years before teams start earning less.

The counterargument is that the Andretti name is one of the most famous in the motorsport world, so its marketability is something that would bring even more value to the pinnacle of motorsport, but Domenicali has not budged.

Porsche are also looking for a way into the sport having seen negotiations with Red Bull fall apart, and the only option left for them is looking like starting a new team.

The German car maker would then face the same barriers as Andretti, whereas their sister company, Audi, are set to buy Sauber in 2026, so they would not count as an additional entrant.

Article continues below

There are multiple drivers, such as Daniel Ricciardo, Nyck de Vries and Colton Herta, who are looking for drives next season, but there is simply not enough space for all of them.

Despite that, Domenicali feels that the paddock would be too busy if an 11th team were to enter the fray.

“As always, you need to be balanced. You need to see all the things that are around the table. Having more drivers… at the end of the day there is always a limit at which you can go,” he told Sky Sports.

“Adding one or two, you may open up some driving seats. But we need to also have the right dimension in what is successful for the sport.

“I think in that respect there is the evaluation of the sustainability of the team, the evaluation of not being too crowded with that. So I would say in terms of priority, it is not really a need for Formula 1 today.”

Further, the Italian is unsure how stable new teams would be, having seen Manor, HRT and Caterham fall at the wayside after they entered with insufficient resources to move off the back of the grid.

“Now Formula 1 is extremely competitive, but you need to be very strong in terms of financials, in terms of competence, and today this is one of the things that is crucial, to make sure the stability of the system will be for a long time,” added Domenicali.

However, he did not rule out the possibility of no new teams appearing in the coming years.

READ: Stefano Domenicali responds to claims of tensions with FIA president

“You see how difficult today it is to find people that really are the top quality in all the different businesses, I don’t think that today that is something we will be able to say with faith,” stated Domenicali.

“I think that is the time that we need to invest for the future, but we need to be balanced. So I’m not saying that this will not happen, but we need to take it step-by-step,”

There have not been 11 teams on the grid since the 2016 season, and you have to go back a decade to find the last season that was contested by 12 teams.