Ecclestone fears for teams' future

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The Independent Online

Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One rights holder, has cast serious doubt on the chance of all 12 F1 teams surviving through to the end of the season in November and believes some of the smaller ones are "out of their depth".

The FIA is currently taking applications for a 13th team to supplement the 12 outfits competing this season, but Ecclestone believes F1 could function perfectly well by going back down to 10.

"I would be surprised if one or two of them make the end of the season," he said. "I think there are a couple of teams who really shouldn't be there. They are a bit out of their depth at the moment.

"All we ever want is 10 teams," Ecclestone added. "Lotus is a good name. I wouldn't want to lose them. But in general this year has been a bit of a nuisance because it has cost money to keep these teams in. It has cost a lot of money to pay for them to compete.

"The bottom line is they haven't really and truly given us value for being there. If suddenly these teams don't turn up at races then I don't think the crowds will get any smaller, or the TV sets will turn off, or the newspapers will stop writing, will they?"

Ecclestone was speaking as F1 prepares for its mid-season break after the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.