SILVERSTONE, England (Reuters) – Formula One has 11 teams at Silverstone this weekend, one of them the creation of Brad Pitt and Hollywood moviemakers, but in reality the existing 10 remain resistant to expanding their numbers.
Several would-be newcomers are seeking to become an 11th or 12th team but that would bring with it a dilution of revenues for the rest.
Most of the 10 also believe the $200 million fee to be shared out among them as compensation is set too low given recent valuations.
Mercedes team boss and co-owner Toto Wolff told reporters at the British Grand Prix that his position was clear: Anyone wanting to join the party should buy an existing team.
The Austrian said expansion raised logistical and safety concerns.
“Here in Silverstone we can accommodate the Hollywood people, but on other circuits we can’t,” he said.
“People like Audi and now the venture capital fund have been buying into F1 teams for considerably higher valuations,” he added.
Audi are taking over Sauber, who run the Alfa Romeo team, and will turn it into their works entry from 2026 while Renault-owned Alpine recently sold a 24% stake to investors led by RedBird Capital Partners that values the team at $900 million.
The FIA started a formal application process in February, seeking to identify one or more new teams interested in joining in 2025, 2026 or 2027.
Those seeking a slot include Andretti Global with General Motors’ Cadillac brand, and British racing team Hitech with investment from Kazakh billionaire Vladimir Kim.
“If a team can contribute to the positive development of Formula One, and in a way that the other teams have done and suffered over the many years, we have to look at it,” said Wolff.
“You have to qualify, you have to go through the ranks, you have to showcase the commitment that we’ve done over the many years.”
McLaren boss Zak Brown agreed it would be “easiest if they bought one of the 10 teams” while Williams’ James Vowles said any new team had to ensure there was a “bigger pie and a bigger slice”.
Red Bull’s Christian Horner, whose team will have Ford as engine partner from 2026, said the real question was “who is going to pay for it?
“If it (an 11th team) dilutes the existing 10 of course they are going to have an issue with it,” he added.
“(Commercial rights holders) Liberty (Media) are not going to want to dilute their element of the income, so that’s where you end up with a stalemate.”
“They (General Motors) would be better off coming in and supplying an existing team.”
The decision will be taken by Formula One and the governing FIA, likely before the August break.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)