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F1’s Small Teams—Leave or Stay

The sad tale about the Formula 1 teams Caterham and Marussia missing the next two rounds in the US and Brazil has been confirmed by Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of Formula One Group. Actually, the absence is not a surprise. Failure to participate in the game usually happens when the money supply becomes tight, let alone these two teams being disturbed by other issues at the same time. Anyway, what deserves our attention is that whether we are soon to see a F1 grid made up with third car from the leading teams and whether the loss of diversity will damage this spectator sport.

 

Formula One is for watching, and it should be worth watching. As many people mourn the likely loss of the small teams, Bernie Ecclestone made his attitude quite clear on this subject. “It’s always been on the cards that if we lose up to three teams then the other teams will run three cars,” he said. “I think we should do it anyway. I would rather see Ferrari with three cars, or any of the other top teams with three cars, than having teams that are struggling.” But is the three cars solution feasible, given the time scales?

 

It is five months to the start of the 2015 season in Melbourne Australia and just like Mclaren’s Eric Boullier said recently about the chassis and third car logistics, “We would need at least six months’ notice.” However, he also admited that if there was a need for them to help F1 and run three cars, they would have to do that.

 

As for the loss of diversity of F1, we could only know that people watch it because it is exciting and hi-tech, and the small team cannot score the point in this compared to what the big teams can provide—the faster speed and famous racing drivers. Besides, Bernice Ecclestone stated that to have a third Ferrari might be a better idea than to have a Caterham, for Ferrari may find new sponsors in the USA and an American driver, solving the money problem and diversity problem. Moreover, the third car policy might provide the most talented young drivers with a route to F1 where they do not need provide funding, undoubtedly making F1 more fair to play for the talented but money-lacking ones.

 

Nevertheless, fears that the F1 might finally become a one constructor show or due to an economic downturn, all the F1 teams had to be pulled out still exist. And according to Joe Saward, the F1 Edior of Autocar Magazine, argued that the third car solution is wrong, for he thinks the essence of the problem is money distribution, some top team enjoying the privilege to gain much more than the others and even some money going off to the faceless financiers.

 

Well, it is very hard to predict what will happen exactly in the future, whether the small team will be gone or whether the leave might undermine the competition. As high performance racing lovers, we could only hope everything will be alright at last.

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