McLaren has offered its two cents into the ongoing catfight that surrounds the ‘new vs. established’ teams farrago started by Ferrari.
In comments made on its website in late February, Ferrari opened an almighty can of worms by attacking the FIA’s appointment of the new teams when led by its predecessor, Max Mosley. It argued that the financial woes of Campos (now Hispania Racing) and USF1 – in addition to the relative uncompetitiveness of Lotus and Virgin Racing in pre-season testing – was detrimental to the sport and that F1 should have done more to retain the manufacturers.
Since their little tantrum, supporters and detractors from all quarters have come forward.
Virgin Racing owner Richard Branson was quick to dismiss Ferrari’s stance as “sad”.
in typical Max Mosley rhetoric, he likened Ferrari’s outburst to a “middle-aged woman who is jealous of the attention new beautiful women around her are getting”.
Michael Schumacher and Lotus boss Tony Fernandes have also come out to criticise Ferrari’s stance, whereas Mark Webber has compared the situation to a “Mickey Mouse” cartoon.
While perhaps a little late to enter the debate, McLaren has also pledged its support to the new teams, and said it is in F1’s best interests to have the new teams off the ground, running and stable as quickly as possible.
In an interview on Tuesday, McLaren’s Managing Director Jonathan Neale said: “
"I believe we have to be supportive here and try to get new teams of the ground. Some Formula 1 drivers raised concerns about the new entrants and even though I understand what they’re saying I believe it is a matter for the FIA to look at.
"We’ve to got to get as many of these teams now off the ground, get them running and stable as quickly as possible for them to survive in Formula 1 because the loss of Honda, Toyota and BMW is very disappointing obviously. I am excited by the new teams but sad at the loss of the teams that left us."
Neale was also asked if wanted the new entrants to success, and he replied: "Yes, I believe this is important for the sport."
Got that, Ferrari?
Former McLaren (and now Lotus) driver Heikki Kovalainen was particularly pleased to have McLaren’s support, and wrote on his Twitter page: “I saw McLaren supporting new teams, great to hear my friends there are behind us!”