McLaren chairman Ron Dennis believes “one or two” Formula 1 teams could fold before the end of the 2016 season.
In an exclusive interview with Autosport’s sister publication F1 Racing to mark the 50th anniversary of McLaren’s F1 debut, Dennis said that while he believes F1 “is far more stable than most people realize,” there were individual teams in jeopardy.
“Certain teams are currently experiencing hardship, and in fact I wouldn’t be too surprised if one or two of those teams fail to make it to the end of the season,” he said.
Dennis regards such teams’ plight as a consequence of their own financial mismanagement rather than a sign of fundamental problems with F1.
“The managers of such teams get into such positions because they spend more money than they have,” he said. “It’s the same in any business: if you spend more money than you have, then you’re going to find yourself in difficult territory. But this sport is addictive, and people always think their car’s next performance upgrade is miraculously going to make it competitive, so they overspend.
“One of the disciplines you need in Formula 1 is to learn how not to do that. You have to apportion your revenue meticulously. Even an organization such as ours, which is robust, solvent and healthy, deliberately constrains capital spending at certain times in order to make sure we’re always able to execute perfectly the operation of our team. But I don’t think that discipline necessarily sits in all the other teams.
“I don’t fear an implosion, but undoubtedly some teams are less secure than others.”
Though he declared himself “optimistic” about F1’s future, he admitted its structure made it hard to agree on changes.
“There are lots of things in F1 that the teams recognize could be better, but it’s not easy to find a solution everybody will support,” Dennis said. “Even when the teams are unified in their position, if that position isn’t supported by either the FIA or CVC and its officers, then the process by which the series is governed at the moment provides for it not to happen.”