• 2010 Season

Ferrari should welcome new teams - Branson

ESPNF1 Staff
February 27, 2010 « Renault podiums unlikely - Kubica | »
Sir Richard Branson told the press he thought Ferrari's criticism was "a bit sad" © Sutton Images

Virgin's Sir Richard Branson has labelled Ferrari's recent criticism of F1's new teams as "a bit sad", and said Formula One ought to embrace fresh blood in the sport not ridicule it.

This week Ferrari's 'Horse Whisperer' column poked fun at the new teams struggling to make the grid this year, focussing on the plights of US F1, Campos and Stefan GP in particular. However, it also claimed that former FIA president Max Mosely's plan to bring new teams to the sport, such as Virgin, had failed and that F1 would be better off with manufacturers such as BMW, Honda and Toyota who left the sport last year.

Branson thinks Ferrari's criticism was too harsh and claims that life has not been made easy for the new teams, after proposed rule breaks were blocked by some of the more established outfits including Ferrari.

"I think it's a bit sad to see Ferrari carrying on with those kinds of words," he said. "F1 needs new teams, and Ferrari won the battle of making sure the new teams were shackled. For testing, we built a new car and we are going to have to have exactly the same amount of practice time as Brawn [Mercedes] or Ferrari or the others, who have had years and years and years to get their cars to a certain stage.

"We are not complaining about it, and we are happy to go on with it, but Ferrari should be welcoming new teams because they [the new teams] make the sport much more exciting. And we will make them look better for a year or two until we catch them up. Ultimately, I think the new teams will give Ferrari a run for their money and I think will make the sport more exciting - particularly as the budgets come down to more realistic levels."

But as the headlines talk about the failing US F1 team, Campos' push to get two cars to Bahrain, and the F1 hopefuls Stefan GP, Red Bull driver Mark Webber admitted he sees the sport's situation as "totally mad".

"I've always been a massive believer that you need quality, not quantity," Webber said. "We don't want more competitors but less quality. We need to keep the quality good."