Bernie Ecclestone’s desire to see three-car teams in F1 could destroy the sport as we know it.
In a recent publicity drive - the kind he’s long been famous for - Ecclestone said he'd be pleased if the backmarker teams disappeared from the gird and the remainder ran three cars.
"They must stop. If you don't have the finances, you quit,” he told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.
"I'm ready for a Formula 1 with eight teams with three cars each.
So let’s say we lose Caterham and Marussia, dropping the grid to nine teams.
And, being as they’ll soon be running an extra car, Red Bull could decide to pull Toro Rosso and place their best junior in the third works entry.
So we now have three each from Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Lotus, Force India and Sauber. Sounds good, Bernie.
But what does that mean for the pecking order? Using 2014 form, you’d have three Mercs running away at the front and, more often than not, locking out the podium. Behind them there would be a mix of Red Bulls, Ferraris, Williams, McLarens and Force Indias scrapping for points.
Meanwhile, on 2014 form, Sauber and Lotus - both already struggling to stay afloat - would become bona fide backmarkers, largely occupying positions 18 through 24.
That would harm their sponsorship prospects - because who wants to sponsor teams who never score points? Both already run funded drivers, but in this scenario they’d quickly be reduced to running all-paying line ups for less money and battling to simply survive in the sport.
And Bernie hates that kind of team. After all, “if you don't have the finances, you quit,” right Bernie?
So soon enough they’d go bust and we’d be down to six teams. Would they all be asked to run an extra car? Is Bernie ready for a Formula 1 with six teams running four cars each?
Or perhaps just the big boys - Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari - would carry this burden. After all, they’re the richest and the strongest.
So we'd have four Mercs out front, a few Ferraris and Red Bulls fighting for points, and everyone else quickly vanishing into a financial black hole.
And remember, if you don't have the finances, you quit.
Perhaps McLaren could survive, propped up by Honda and their own heritage, but you’d soon see the end of Force India and Williams. Nevermind though, Williams contribution to the sport over the past several decades can be dispensed of, as can 25 years of F1 history at Force India’s Silverstone base.
It’s survival of the richest, and we’re down to just Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and an ailing McLaren.
Is Bernie Ecclestone ready for a Formula 1 with four teams running five cars each?