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F1 NEWS 

Horner: Formula 1 in good health

Christian HornerRed Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner believes that Formula 1 is in good health despite Toyota becoming the third manufacturer to quit the sport in the last 12 months.

Horner pointed to the fact that 13 teams are still planning to be on the grid for next year's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, as Toyota's withdrawal clears the way for the Qadbak Investments-owned Sauber team to compete provided the FIA hands it the slot, as proof that the sport is still strong.

"Whilst it is a great shame for Formula 1, the show ultimately goes on and there will be more cars on the grid next year than we have seen in recent years," Horner told AUTOSPORT.

"Manufacturers have tended to come and go over the years, and although it's disappointing to lose one of the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world it provides an opportunity for the now independent Sauber team to find their place on the grid. So out of a negative comes a positive."

Horner is also confident that Toyota's withdrawal will not significantly weaken the Formula One Teams' Association, despite the major role that team president John Howett has played as vice chairman and the manufacturer's influence as a major automotive manufacturer.

"Toyota have contributed hugely to FOTA, in particular John Howett who has worked tirelessly for FOTA. They will be a loss, but collectively the FOTA teams will sit down and decide how we move forward and deal with the vacancies that this has created.

"FOTA is doing a lot of great work, it's great to see the teams together working with the FIA and the commercial rights holder. The objective is the same for all parties and it's important that we work together."

Horner added that he did not believe that Howett's successor as vice chairman necessarily needs to come from an independent team despite their now being only three manufacturers remaining in F1.

"To me, it doesn't matter whether it's from an independent team or a manufacturer as long as we get the right guy. John did very well to combine that with his full-time job in a grand prix team and he will be missed, especially by Luca de Montezemolo.

"But things move on and there are a few faces that are missing in the room that were there at the beginning of the year. F1 is entering a new era."

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