As the current ten Formula One teams line up in opposition to the FIA allowing an increase in the grid to even or twelve competitors, the arguments avast new entrants are based around self interest.
Liberty Media who hold the commercial rights to F1 have made it clear, the annual pot of money available to the teams will not be increased pro-rata should there be more competitors taking part.
F1 teams: “no one struggling”
One of the arguments presented is the current crop of F1 teams have battled through leaner times and invested heavily to bring the sport to the great place it finds itself in a present.
Gunther Steiner claimed when promoting his memoir book in May, “five years ago, you could get teams for nothing, you could pick it up. Nobody wanted them and they went out of business.
“Now, all of a sudden, everybody wants a team. But it’s a lot of people that want to come in and the 10 teams which are here are all financially stable, all well set up. It’s a very good environment at the moment, no one is struggling.”
However, Haas have been financially unstable for much of its existence in Formula One with Steiner instructed to sack its experienced drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean in favour of rookies who would bring more money into the team.
Magnussen admits to Haas cash shortage
Despite the millions brought by Nikita Mazepin’s father who owned Uralkali, Haas were bottom of the pile as their rookie drivers failed to score a single point in 2021.
The American team has a new sponsor this year in Moneygram, something Kevin Magnussen believes will bear fruit but not in the immediate future.
When asked whether he had thoughts about switching from the Haas team whose car this season is struggling for pace, Magussen revealed:
“I think the effect of the money that we have now takes some time to show itself,” said Magnussen. “The car we drive now was developed without (title sponsor) Moneygram.
“I feel that some really good foundations are being laid here for a great future for Haas. So I’m really looking forward to seeing where the team is going.”
Steiner being disingenuous
So Magnussen is in effect claiming the poor efforts of the Haas team this season are due to a lack of cash and Monogram will plug this gap in the future.
Yet this is a disingenuous view of Haas finances. Whilst Uralkali were ditched in February 2022, they had paid much of the seasons sponsorship money to Haas and are currently attempting to reclaim it through the British courts.
Haas have struggled with sponsors since their entry into F1 back in 2016. Their much vaunted deal with Rice Energy ended in disaster as the drinks company pulled the plug on their financing of the team mid season.
So Steiner’s argument against new teams joining the Formula One grid now appears threadbare.
Haas defensive statements
His comments in Miami now look defensive and based upon another scenario where Haas find themselves in difficult financial times.
“So I think it could be 11, could be 12, could be 13, I don’t know.
“But in the end, FIA and FOM are looking into it and seeing if they can bring an upside to the 10 stakeholders, as the guys said here, which are very solid now, all 10 of them. We didn’t have that for a long time.
“The competition is getting closer as well. Financially, everybody’s stable. Why should we rock that boat, you know, if there is not more coming to us?”
Hulkenberg doing “fantastic job”
Meanwhile Kevin Magnussen who has been with Haas on and off since the team’s inception is under pressure given the performance of his new experienced team mate in Nico Hulkenberg.
“I feel like he’s back with a lot of energy, he’s happy to be back with a new opportunity. And he’s doing a fantastic job for the team,” said Magnussen to Ekstra Blades publications.
“It hasn’t really been my season yet,” admitted the Danish driver.
“But it is now that the experience kicks in, and I have to keep a cool head and just push on.”
Steiner indicates new hulk contract
From comments recently made by Haas boss Steiner, it appears he is keen to offer Hulkenberg a new contract sooner rather than later, however the word on Magnussen is less clear.
“Yes, the contract expires, and it’s the same things you have to go through as usual, you could say,” admits Kevin.
“But the pressure feels different this time. I am a little more relaxed and unaffected by the pressure that may come with it. Before, I stressed so much about it.”
Having returned to Haas after their unsuccessful one year experiment with Russian driver and sponsor, Magnussen believes he is established as part of there furniture.
“I am very integrated into the team and have been here almost from day one,” he said. “When you have been involved for so many years, you have a different insight and a different overview of what is going on.”
Magnussen contract not guaranteed
Recently Toto Wolff suggested he and Lewis Hamilton would conclude his new contract arrangements whilst sharing a pizza, but Magnussen hopes his situation will be less complex than has proven to be the case for the British World Champion.
“No pizza,” chuckled Magnussen. “In many of the other years, it’s been a very simple five-minute phone call with Gunther.
“It’s mostly just me and Gunther. I don’t have a team of lawyers negotiating for me.”
With one eye one the future Magnussen reveals he is not hoping to go on racing in F1 forever, particularly if it ceases to be “fun.”
New regs questioned again
Max Verstappen has recently questioned the incoming 2026 regulations and claimed after seeing simulations the cars with be heavy and cumbersome to drive.
Kevin Magnussen concurs with Verstappen, “I definitely think it will make me reconsider whether this is what I want to do,” he said. “To be able to participate at this level, you really have to be passionate about it.
“And if the cars suddenly aren’t fun to drive, it can be hard to be passionate. Formula E, for me, is a no-go. I’m not going to mess with that.
“So I very much hope that we don’t go that way.”
What a MOVE this was by @Charles_Leclerc into Copse 🤯
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 6, 2023