Ecclestone suspects grid will shrink

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By Matt Beer Wednesday, July 28th 2010, 09:21 GMT

Bernie EcclestoneBernie Ecclestone suspects that ‘one or two’ teams will drop out of Formula 1 before the end of 2010, and reckons that Lotus aside, this season’s new squads would not be missed if they departed.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Ecclestone played down the significance of Renault asking for an advance payment of its television money and said there were no doubts about the Enstone team’s health – but was much more pessimistic about other squads.

"All that was [the Renault situation] was the fact that one of the shareholders didn’t want to take money from another one of his companies because that would have meant convening a board meeting," Ecclestone said. "But I never gave them the money. And they got over the crisis so everything is fine.

"But I would not be surprised if one or two of them did not make the end of the season. I think there are a couple of teams in Formula 1 who really shouldn’t be there. They are a bit out of their depth at the moment."

Ecclestone does not feel the current 24-car grid size – which could expand to 26 next year if the FIA accepts any of the applications for the slot formerly earmarked for US F1 – is essential and reckons a return to a 10-team field would be no problem at all for F1.

While singling out Lotus as a worthwhile addition to the field, he suggested the other 2010 newcomers have brought little to the sport.

"All we ever want is 10 teams," he said. "Lotus is a good name. I wouldn’t want to lose them. But in general this year has been a bit of a nuisance because it has cost money to keep these [struggling] teams in. It has cost a lot of money to pay for them to compete.

"The bottom line is they haven’t really and truly given us value for being there. If suddenly these teams don’t turn up at races then I don’t think the crowds will get any smaller, or the TV sets will turn off, or the newspapers will stop writing, will they?"

 

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