McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown is in favour of F1 expanding its grid but insists the sport needs sustainable projects like Haas rather than “dreamers” that will be gone overnight.
In February, the FIA launched its ‘expression of interest’ process by which it will consider the legitimacy of F1 team projects submitted by potential new entrants.
Starting last year, Andretti-Cadillac heavily promoted its candidacy to join the fray, but other projects have reportedly put together a dossier that will be submitted to the FIA’s scrutiny, with feedback from the governing body expected over the summer.
However, most teams and indeed Formula 1 itself took a dim view of new entrants joining the grid, as adding an outfit – let alone two – to the sport’s current field of competitors would inevitably dilute F1’s all-important prize money fund.
Haas is the most recent team to have reached the pinnacle of motorsport, an achievement reached in 2016. Today, Gene Haas’ outfit is solidly anchored to F1, which is a testimony to the squad’s commitment and determination.
Brown says he would welcome any candidate vying for a place in the paddock that follows Haas’ lead. Conversely, the McLaren boss would discourage “dreamers” or any half-hearted effort by any prospective outfit to compete in F1.
“I’d love to see more cars on the grid, as as long as they are additive to our sport,” said the American.
“I think it’s exciting. I remember when I started following Formula 1, you had pre-qualifying, I think there were 30-31 cars trying to show up to make the show.
“So I think an increase in the grid of the right teams that bring the right resources and are additive to what we’re all trying to do and help grow the sport then I’m all for it.”
The purpose of the FIA’s expression of interest process is precisely to vet F1 candidates. However, it’s been made clear by Formula 1 that it will also want to have a say on who gets to join its elite.
“What we can’t have is… Really the only credible, sustainable team that I’ve seen in the last decade is Haas,” continued Brown.
“So what we do need to make sure is if someone enters that they really have the commitment and can do what it takes.
“Because in my experience, I think in a variety of motorsports, you do see a lot of dreamers and what we don’t need with the health of the sport is a team coming in underestimating what it’s going to take and two years later, they’re gone.
“Hats off to Haas for the commitment they’ve made and continue to make to the sport, so we need more teams like that.”
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