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FOTA: Formula 1 needs 'fresh blood'

Stefano DomenicaliThe commitment by Formula 1's current teams to remain in the sport until 2012 has quelled fears about the grid getting decimated by manufacturer withdrawals, but the focus still must be on encouraging new teams.

That is the view of Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali, who has welcomed the team unity that secured a breakthrough deal with the FIA, but thinks it vital that 'fresh blood' is given the chance to shine in F1.

"For sure it is important that F1 will stay as a real F1, that was one of our priorities for the future," explained Domenicali in a press conference held by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) in Bologna on Thursday.

"For sure we as FOTA, we will welcome the new teams that are coming to F1, but of course it is important to make sure that the value of this formula is to make sure that these companies are able to be in F1 not only for one year but also for the future. And this will give another input to this championship.

"We need to make sure the new ones, who are very welcome, are really part of this business, not because we need to have new teams in terms of numbers, but new in terms of fresh blood into the championship. This is a very important point that we need to make sure of, for the benefit of what we have achieved in these last days."

While the three new teams entered into the championship have yet to comment on their future plans in the wake of the budget cap getting scrapped for next season, FOTA vice chairman John Howett said talks would commence with them next month to sort out if they would join FOTA.

"First of all I think we need to have some dialogue with these teams to establish whether they wish to join FOTA or not," he said. "FOTA is open. We believe dialogue is constructive and positive.

"Obviously before doing that there is the issue of reaching an understanding with them on their position, based on the new regulatory framework. It's too soon to say, but our door is open and I guess in the next two to three weeks, as the total situation is stabilised, we will enter into discussion with them should they wish to meet."

Brawn CEO Nick Fry did not rule out some other teams joining Formula 1 if any of the three chosen outfits was not interested in racing without a budget cap system.

"If one of those three weren't able to get the funding to enter, there a possibility that others might be invited in," Fry told Reuters. "Obviously, we want more teams involved in Formula 1."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said he hopes the Concorde Agreement, that will commit teams to F1 until 2012, should be signed off between the teams, the FIA and the sport's commercial owners imminently.

"I'm confident we can find a solution with CVC in the next days - CVC is the company that owns the rights of F1. So our role is in two years, by the end of 2011, to achieve a cost basically like in the 1990s," he explained.

"It means that finally for small or big teams, it's important to think of the balance between cost and the revenues at the end of 2011. We are united in the interests of the sport and I think that yesterday was a very positive and constructive agreement."

He added: "I want to say, one of the important agreements we achieved was an important commitment from manufacturers and big teams to race and continue to be in Formula 1, at least until the end of 2012.

"So in the past, if somebody was worried, maybe after Honda left or somebody else, not now. The car manufacturers and the big teams will remain in Formula 1, and this is the reason why yesterday's agreement is important for us to work together for a better future for F1. F1 needs fresh air, needs ideas, needs improvement, working together to achieve this goal."

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