Sunday, 8 February 2015

Special feature - Small teams are part of the DNA of Formula One

(Infiniti Red Bull Racing)

Formula One needs to wake up to the fact that it needs small teams like Manor and the Caterham F1 Team because if we lose the Manor F1 Team it could drive the cost of competing in the sport through the roof.

As it stands with just over a month to go until the first race of the 2015 Formula One season we have nine teams entered into the championship as the Manor F1 Team have submitted their entry fee with the sports’ governing body the FIA, however as we all know the team who had hoped to race with last year’s car have in fact been blocked from doing so.

Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport as such is the base line for all of the lower categories of motor racing such as GP2 and GP3 to name but a few and if we lose three teams in the space of five seasons this is NOT a good message to be sending out to potential new investors or new teams hoping to enter the sport.

American Gene Haas will be watching with great interest to see what the outcome of the Manor situation is as he will enter Formula One with his Haas F1 Team next season.

If we take a look back at the history of Formula One the likes of Manor and Caterham (privateer) teams are at the heart of the sport. What do Manor, Caterham, current world champions Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team, McLaren-Honda, Williams Martini Racing, Sauber, Sahara Force India and Infiniti Red Bull Racing have in common?

(Sahara Force India Formula One Team)

They all started life in Formula One as privateer teams who were privately funded and operated. Take Mercedes for example, they began life in Formula One in 1999 as British American Racing and although over the years the name above the door has changed a few times and they now employ over 600 staff in Brackley, the DNA of the team remains the same as many of their staff were there when the team started.

The Sahara Force India Formula One Team began life in a garage at the Silverstone circuit in 1991, when former racing driver turned banker Eddie Jordan set up the Jordan Grand Prix Team. Eddie Jordan has always been a great supporter of the small teams having come through the sport that way himself.

It should NOT be left up to administrators and fans of a Formula One Team to bail them out when they are in trouble through a crowd funding scheme with the Caterham F1 Team. This situation should NEVER have been allowed to happen in the first place.

The McLaren-Honda Formula One team began life in 1963 when it was founded by New Zealander, Bruce McLaren. Today the company is part owned by Chairman Ron Dennis and is no longer just involved in Formula One. The company’s road car division, McLaren Automotive was founded by Mr Dennis in 1989 and has been responsible for some extremely impressive high performance road cars.

Infiniti Red Bull Racing who dominated Formula One from 2010 -2013 began life as Stewart Grand Prix in 1996 when former world champion Sir Jackie and his son Paul set up the team, making their Formula One debut in 1997.

At the end of the 1999 season, Stewart sold the team to Ford who rebranded it Jaguar Racing and brought in Eddie Irvine from Ferrari as lead driver. Ford soon realised that running their own team with limited success was too expensive so at the end of 2004 the team was sold for £1 to Red Bull.

So Formula One is not just about the big teams because without the small teams like Manor, Caterham, Sauber and Force India there would be no midfield and therefore no real competition in Formula One and once again it should not be up to the fans to try and get a team racing with a petition to allow Manor to run last year’s this year. 

Fans give so much to the sport and it is not fair that we are put in a position where we have to sign a petition to allow a team to go racing as this situation should never ever have been allowed to happen.

However if you are like me and do not want to see another team fail to race this season despite having the investment in place to go racing please show your support to the Manor F1 Team by signing this petition.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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