Bernie Ecclestone says that he thinks there will be three new teams in Formula 1 in 2010 as a result of the planned budget cap. It is not clear who these might be, although one is probably going to be the USGPE operation. One can speculate that there might be other bids coming from the likes of Prodrive/Aston Martin and perhaps from GP2 teams such as Campos GP and Racing Engineering and it is even possible that Giancarlo Minardi or Paul Stoddart might want to get back into the game. Stoddart was in Melbourne, running his two-seater F1 cars for the first time but he says that his factory in Ledbury could be geared up for F1 quite easily and there are no shortage of people on the market with the right kind of experience.
The whispers I am hearing down here is that there are five bidders for places and that this may result in the proposed Cosworth engine being revived. Max Mosley suggested a few months ago that there would be cheap engines from Cosworth if enough teams signed up for the idea. None did, but new teams may want to go down that route. Ecclestone there will be 26 cars, but we believe that there could be as many as 30 cars, which would mean that we would have to see a return to pre-qualifying.
The Formula 1 field has not had 26 cars since the mid-1990s when the entry was padded out with the likes of Simtek, Pacific Grand Prix and Forti. Of the teams from that era, only three are unchanged: Ferrari, McLaren and Williams. Team Lotus, Ligier/Prost and Footwork/Arrows have all gone out of business while others have had different owners, notably Sauber/BMW, Benetton/Renault, Tyrrell/BAR/Honda/Brawn, Minardi/Toro Rosso, and Jordan/Midland/Spyker/Force India.
The only new team since those days that has survived is Stewart Grand Prix, which later became Jaguar Racing and ultimately transformed itself into Red Bull Racing.
The most interesting thing will be to see whether or not the Spanish can come up with a team, as this is one of the areas where F1 is not as strong as it could be.