Horner feels cost of new teams should be Liberty’s issue

Jamie Woodhouse
Christian Horner, Red Bull, turns away from the pit wall. United States, May 2022.

Red Bull principal Christian Horner does not see why the current teams should lose out financially if a new one joins.

The ongoing efforts of the Andretti family to make it onto the Formula 1 grid for 2024, as well as the confirmation of Porsche and Audi’s F1 involvement from 2026, has created quite the debate regarding potential financial dilution for the 10 teams currently on the grid.

Any new team that joins Formula 1 would need to pay a fee of $200 million, that shared across the teams as compensation since there would now be an extra slice of the financial pie to be handed out.

The likes of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff then remains cold on the idea of a new team joining the grid, saying no prospective entry has yet shown enough value to justify the other teams giving up a part of their revenue.

Horner though questioned why it is the teams that are expected to make this financial compromise. He thinks the owner of the series Liberty Media should take responsibility.

Christian Horner microphone CNN. Miami May 2022

Speaking to reporters in a Miami press conference, Horner said: “Naturally for the current signatories to the Concorde Agreement, it makes total logical sense to say that the 10 teams or 10 franchises have an intrinsic value and you dilute that by increasing the number.

“You know, theoretically, it should be a Liberty issue to address if they want new teams to come in. And to expand the number beyond 10, then fiscally, it was always going to come down to a question of how does that affect the distribution of the prize fund? So, money is ultimately going to be a significant factor.

“Ultimately, I see a question really for the promoter, that if they want more teams, they’re obviously going to have to dilute their share of the fund, because it would be unfair to expect the other teams to pay for the additional new entrants to come in indirectly. So that’s always going to be the conflict you have.

“I think it’s great that there’s the interest from both OEMs and a brand and a team like Andretti, you know, it’s a great name.

“Be better if Mario [Andretti] came back driving, but I think it’s something that really Liberty, it’s their business model that they need to work out for the future.”

Alfa Romeo principal Frederic Vasseur believes there is enough space on the current grid for new partnerships to be formed, rather than outright new teams entering the series.

His team represent a unique partnership whereby the outfit is operated by Sauber, but it is the Alfa Romeo name and branding seen on the car.

“If we have a new team coming in, with mega added value for the championship, this could make sense,” said Vasseur.

“But as Christian said before, that we don’t have welcoming someone new, to put at risk two or three teams on the grid, and to stay at the same thing, the same situation.

“I think that by the Concorde Agreement we are touching these points, and at the end of the day, it will be up to the FOM to decide what they want to do.

“I think that we have enough space to find partnerships with the teams existing on the grid, more than to welcome another one.”

 

Haas boss Guenther Steiner explained that Formula 1 is now in a strong place with 10 financially stable teams, which in the past was not always the case.

So, he says this makes it understandable that teams do not want to open themselves up to an element of risk again by losing out financially.

“I think Christian and Fred explained it very well,” said Steiner.

“And just to adapt on that one, as businesses, I think, first of all, we have got in the moment 10 stable teams, which for a long time was not possible in F1, or was not happening in F1.

“Now, since five years, everything is pretty stable. Very good. And why would the 10 team say we dilute our value to bring somebody new in, you know, what’s in it for us? You know, we have been here a long time.

“So as they said, I mean, if FOM wants to distribute more money or something that is another discussion, but just to have more teams, more doesn’t mean being better. So I fully agree with Fred and Christian, what they said.”

 

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