Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that Formula 1 itself must pay the financial penalty if it allows new teams to join the grid in future.
F1 has operated with a ten team field since the 2017 season, and all squads share the same pool of prize money. If an eleventh team were to enter the sport, that fund would be diluted and each team would receive a reduced amount.
With Andretti Autosport, the American brand owned by former McLaren F1 driver Michael Andretti which races in IndyCar, publicly stating its keenness to join Formula 1 at the earlier opportunity last year, the question of how viable the prospect of an eleventh squad joining the top tier of motorsport is has been asked repeatedly.
For Horner, there are clear benefits to a further expansion, but he believes current teams should not face an economic penalty.
‘Money is ultimately going to be a significant factor,’ Horner told reporters after Red Bull driver Max Verstappen won the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
‘I see a question, really for [F1], that if they want more teams, they’re obviously going to have to dilute their share of the fund, because it would be unfair to expect the other teams to pay for the additional new entrants to come in indirectly.
‘I think it’s great that there’s the interest from new brands, and a team like Andretti, a great name, but I think it’s something that, with [F1 owner] Liberty [Media], it’s their business model that they need to work out for the future.’
The most recent team to join Formula 1, Haas, has faced financial strife throughout its time in the sport and has been unable to challenge high up the grid order to race wins and podiums. Andretti were linked with takeovers of both the Haas and Alfa Romeo-Sauber teams late last year but were unable to strike a deal after preliminary discussions.
Volkswagen Group is also set to join Formula 1 in 2026, when its engine designs are next to due to change, with both its Audi and Porsche brands being represented. Whether a full works team will be built is unclear, with Audi rumoured to be looking for a potential partnership or partial takeover of McLaren, while Porsche has been heavily linked with a Red Bull engine manufacturing deal.
Horner says that both parties have held discussions, but an agreement remains some way off.
‘It is obviously great, the commitment that VW stated, as a parent company to both Porsche and Audi, that they’ve both got the intent of going into Formula 1,’ Horner explained.
‘We’ve just started a new journey as a power unit manufacturer for 2026, so, of course, it would be logical for us to look at all discussions about a potential cooperation.’ It’s still very early days.’
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