Formula 1 is a competitive sport. There are currently only 10 teams that partake in an F1 season. However, the sport is not limited to having just 10 teams, and the recent budget caps introduced could mean we see new F1 teams added in the future.
F1 may add new teams in the future, but the costs are so high that it’s prohibitive for most aspiring new teams. At $200 million, the entry fee is just the first cost to consider. There are also the costs of setting up factories and hiring staff, and so it’s unlikely a new team will join soon.
However, it’s not as simple as just bringing more teams into the sport. There are a number of factors that impact a new team’s entry into Formula 1, and we take a closer look at these factors below, to see how likely it is that we’ll see a new F1 team in the near future.
Will More Teams Join F1?
It is likely that more teams will enter Formula 1 in the future. In recent years we have seen the arrival of Aston Martin and Haas, and even Mercedes can be considered a relatively new team having made their comeback in 2010.
However, we have been relying on a trend of Formula 1 teams being bought rather than being new entries altogether. For example, Aston Martin was Racing Point, which was Force India, which was Spyker F1, which was Midland F1, which was Jordan Grand Prix. This chain of ownership changes goes all the way back to 2006.
It’s Just Easier To Buy Than Start A New Team
Even Mercedes, the dominant force that they are, came into the sport in 2010 through a buyout of Brawn GP, who bought Honda who bought BAR who bought Tyrell. Haas are the only truly “new” F1 team of the last decade. This is because buying a Formula 1 team is much easier than having to enter a new team into the sport.
When buying the team, you already have the facilities and staff required to participate in Formula 1. However, entering as a new team means a huge amount of extra costs in terms of hiring new staff, building or buying your new facilities, as well as designing a car from scratch. That’s before you even consider the cost of joining F1.
How Much Does It Cost A New Team To Enter F1?
It costs $200 million for a new team to enter F1 under the Concorde Agreement. However, the true cost is well above this, as new teams have to pay the cost of setting up facilities and hiring staff, and pay for the materials to actually build the cars to race.
Toto Wolff estimated the cost of entering a completely new team to be around $1 billion as of 2022. This comes down to building an entirely new factory and hiring the hundreds of staff needed to successfully run a Formula 1 team. All of this comes before a car has even been built and turned its wheels on track.
Buying a team is slightly less expensive as all the fundamentals are already in place. With a factory, staff and other facilities and infrastructure already in place, it’s simply cheaper to buy a new team.
Why Does A Team Need To Pay $200 Million To Enter F1?
A team needs to pay $200 million to enter F1 as an ‘anti-dilution’ payment. Basically, as the current 10 teams all get a share of the prize money, if a new team joined, the amount each team gets would reduce, and the $20 million each team would get if they joined is designed to offset this loss.
This has been shrouded in much controversy in recent years, as it is seen by many as an unnecessary barrier to entry for new teams. However, as the current teams all benefit financially from being in the championship, they’re naturally going to want to be compensated if those benefits are then spread more thinly across more teams.
Should F1 Add More Teams?
Formula 1 should add more teams in the future. Having more teams on the grid means that the grid can become more competitive. There would also be more seats available for drivers to join F1, so it expands the sport beyond just the 20 drivers it currently has.
However, there would need to be a limit on the number of teams in F1. This is because there are some circuits with limited space, such as Monaco for example, where the circuit is already congested with 20 cars. Adding more would making racing on these circuits nearly impossible.
It’s likely the limit is 26 cars, with no apparent strict limit on the number of teams. If there were, say, 14 two-car teams, taking the total number to 28, F1 would probably have to implement a prequalifying event, eliminating any cars outside the top 26. This wouldn’t be a good deal for the sponsors of the slow cars that rarely got to race, so this is unlikely to happen in F1’s future.
Why Is Formula 1 Reluctant To Allow More Teams?
Formula 1 isn’t necessarily reluctant to allow more teams. There are, however, strict processes and criteria in place to ensure that, if a new team were to join the sport, they would have the funding to be competitive and add value to the sport as a whole, rather than taking away from it.
Teams That Could Enter F1
There are a few likely candidates that could enter Formula 1 in the near future. As always it is difficult to tell if a team would be able to enter the sport until they begin to finalize their entry into Formula 1. This is mainly due to the high barriers to entry which make it extremely difficult for any new team to enter the sport.
The most likely candidate that is set to enter Formula 1 soon is Andretti Autosport, possibly under the name Andretti Global. They say they have the required budget to enter the sport and have even agreed a deal with Renault (Alpine) to supply their engines once they have secured their entry. Whether they will buy out another team or enter an entirely new team remains to be seen.
Has F1 Always Been 10 Teams?
F1 has not always been 10 teams. In the 1980s and 1990s it wasn’t unlikely for a Formula 1 season to see between 13 and 14 teams entering for a season. However, not all the cars were able to qualify to be on the starting grid on Sundays. F1 has had just 10 teams for every season since 2017.
The sport has simply become too expensive for new teams to join. This has made the sport appear more elitist. It has also put an emphasis on the sponsorship and marketing side of the sport. Many teams have joined but struggled financially.
Teams that were unable to support their staff and the general fees involved in being a part of the sport have remained at the back of the grid and eventually disappeared entirely. Money is key to running a successful F1 team, and it’s clear that only a small number of manufacturers have the money to do so.
Can F1 Have 11 Teams?
F1 can have 11 teams, but the sport has had just 10 teams since the start of the 2017 season. It’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing 11 teams in the sport in the near future.
Which F1 Season Had The Most Teams?
The F1 seasons during the 1950s had the most teams, as it was not uncommon for more than 30 or even 40 teams to field cars at some point throughout the season. However, in more recent times, the most teams appeared in 1995, when we last saw 13 teams in an F1 season.
Can F1 Teams Get Relegated?
F1 teams cannot get relegated. However, should they not be able to pay the basic entry fee of more than half a million dollars per team, plus more than $5,000 per point scored in the previous season, they will not be able to participate. They also must be able to fund the team throughout the season.
F1 teams cannot be relegated as there is no lower league to go to. Formula 1 cars are completely different to Formula 2 cars, and teams would need to acquire extra funding and build a Formula 1 car according to the regulations just to participate in the season. It clearly would not be practical for there to be a relegation system in F1.
F1 could add more teams in the future. Having more teams can make the sport more competitive as it means there are more drivers on the grid. Having more teams also means there’s likely to be more action out on track, which is great for the entertainment factor.