Does Formula 1 Need Thirteen Teams?

The final list for the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship was announced yesterday evening and unsurprisingly both USF1 and Stefan GP were omitted from the final form. In recent week, there have been a number of voices in the sport questioning whether Stefan GP would pick up USF1’s place on the grid should the American outfit not make it with some suggesting that anything less than a full field would be a failure… but why? Formula 1 has operated with either 10 or 11 teams since the 1996 season, so there is little reason to see why it is suddenly so necessary for the series to possess a full field – surely the series would be stronger with eleven solid teams rather than add one or two struggling squads for the sake of it.

Stefan GP did apply for an entry to Formula 1 last summer, but failed to make the grade then, so one wonders what could have possibly changed now? Apparently the team has sourced further backing from the Serbian government and has acquired cars from the now defunct Toyota F1 team; however the team has yet to show if they will be able to make it to the beginning of next season, let alone be competitive for this one.
For a sport that is supposed to be the elite, there cannot be no-hoper’s wandering around the back of the pack more than six seconds off the pace. Virgin and Lotus – with testing – already look very far behind the field and Formula 1 would surely lose a touch of prestige should an even weaker team grace the sport. The sport should not revert to the days of the late 1980’s or early ’90’s when dreadful teams would routinely try to pre-qualify with cars that were often over 10 seconds per lap slower than the leaders and if that means leaving the last slot free for potential teams to take in 2011, then so be it.

Would the addition of Stefan GP have been beneficial for Formula 1? I don’t think so and for those that don’t remember, one should just search on YouTube for Forti Ford, Pacific or Larousse to garner an indication of embarrassingly bad some of those teams were.
Does Formula 1 need to add more teams to the list of failed runners? Probably not. Eight days to first practice in Bahrain.

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