Bernie on teams : Less is more
ONE LESS IS OK: Now that HRT is off the 2013 F1 calendar, Bernie Ecclestone revealed he's always wanted only 10 teams.
Author: ALAN BALDWIN
LONDON, England - The departure of Spanish grid tail-ender HRT from Formula 1 still leaves the sport with one team too many, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone believes.
Madrid-based HRT is not on the official 2013 entry list published by the governing International Automobile Federation, a move that leaves 11 teams and 22 cars on the grid.
Ecclestone said: "I never wanted 12 - 10 is easier to handle, for the promoters, for transport. We'd rather have 10, as long as we don't lose Ferrari."
The 82-year-old heard that HRT, whose owner Thesan Capital was seeking a buyer, had gone into liquidation. Their 2012 drivers were Indian Narain Karthikeyan and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa.
British-based Formtech Composites, one of HRT's suppliers, said it was owed a substantial amount of money by the team, which had apparently transferred ownership to a Luxembourg-registered fund. It added that HRT initiated liquidation procedures on November 12, 2012, the day it announced the team was for sale, and offered to pay creditors for every euro owed with no room for negotiation.
Asked whether he saw a possibility of someone stepping forward to rescue a team that failed to score a point in three seasons, Ecclestone said: "I wouldn't think that anyone would want to."
HRT was one of three new teams - the others now Marussia and Caterham - to enter F1 in 2010 in an initiative driven by former FIA president Max Mosley. Neither Malaysian-owned Caterham, who started out as Lotus Racing, nor Russian-registered Marussia (formerly Virgin Racing) has scored a point in three seasons and remain some way off the established teams.
SPACE FOR 20
Ecclestone reiterated the 2013 season would likely be 19 races, although there was still the possibility of Turkey taking a 20th slot that has been held open for July 21.
"I don't know. I'm waiting for the response from them," he said.
The Turkish race in Istanbul was dropped from last season's calendar due to disagreements over the hosting fees but the circuit is under new management and is seeking a return.
The country's motorsport's federation said some government funding will be required but Turkey's sports minister has ruled that out and said it is entirely a matter for the private sector to resolve.