Guenther Steiner sceptical of 11th F1 team: “Why rock the boat?”

CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD, FRANCE - JULY 23: Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, Haas F1, on the pit wall during the French GP at Circuit Paul Ricard on Saturday July 23, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Alastair Staley / LAT Images)

Guenther Steiner is sceptical about the value another team would add to the Formula 1 grid, outlining that the sport is currently “stable” and in a strong position.

The Haas team principal has overseen a series of difficult years since arriving on the scene in 2016, with financial constraints limiting the American squad’s trajectory from 2019-22.

Haas has always operated on a very limited budget in F1. However, this did not prevent them from punching above their weight and fighting against the established midfield runners from day one.

Unfortunately, a series of desperate and ultimately failed sponsorship agreements with Rich Energy and Uralkali proved severely destabilising, showcasing the team’s desperation for financial support.

With this context in mind, Guenther Steiner’s comments about other groups trying to join the F1 grid – though far from attractive – can be understood.

BAKU CITY CIRCUIT, AZERBAIJAN – APRIL 30: Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23 during the Azerbaijan GP at Baku City Circuit on Sunday April 30, 2023 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images)

Although the Haas team principal’s unaccommodating attitude (common throughout the field) has been met with frustration from fans, the existing team bosses on the grid are keen to safeguard their interests:

“There is not a lot to add here. I mean, I agree with that one. And for me saying it’s 11 or 12, I’m not in a position to know what they bring to the sport.

“But I think if we got more teams, there needs to be an upside for the 10 which are here, you know, and then I think nobody will have anything against it.

“But there needs to be an upside and not just more sharing. So I think it could be 11, could be 12, could be 13, I don’t know.

“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?”

BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, BAHRAIN – MARCH 05: Nico Hulkenberg, Haas VF-23, leads Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43 during the Bahrain GP at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday March 05, 2023 in Sakhir, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images)

All indications suggest that teams are pushing to raise the entrance fee (already at a whopping 300 million) and further complicate the process for groups like Andretti to secure a place on the grid.

Even if vying entrants can meet the necessary fee, no clear process or mechanism outlines a clear timeline and sequence of events to integrate a new outfit into F1.

Andretti remains optimistic about their chances, with the American group representing the best chance of a long-awaited 11th team.

Formula 1 is more than capable of facilitating the entry of an additional team to the grid. However, for now, the reluctance and scepticism shown by team bosses will complicate the chances of this happening.

 

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang