The rumor mill is in full swing today with news surfacing that Audi will attend this Friday’s summit of Formula One engine suppliers. While it is not known at this point if Audi will enter as a full fledged constructor or, if spox.com is to be believed, become an engine supplier to Sauber or some other team in the way Honda is partnered with McLaren.
Regardless, the prospect of Audi entering the pinnacle of motorsport is nothing short of thrilling. But it got me thinking, who else could join the grid? What are the dream teams to make a entry (or a re-entry) to Formula 1. I won’t include Audi in this list as they actually might be joining.
- Alfa Romeo – If the rumors coming out of Italy can be believed this may not be too much of a pipe dream. The most recent speculation, fueled by high ranking members of FIAT, has been that the fabled manufacturer may enter the sport as a sort of Ferrari B team, similar to Toro Rosso and Red Bull’s relationship. While it may be disheartening to see a team that once put Fangio on its back on its way to a world championship, become a semi backmarker, seeing a classic team like Alfa back on the grid would be a massive boon to the sport. Especially if they are able to bring in more Italian drivers to the sport.
- Brabham – Back in the day the Brabham boys were some of the absolute best around. They won championships, won races, hell, they were the first team to see the advantage of pitstops and in race refueling. But as with all things, Brabham came to an end, thanks in large part the departure of former F1 Supremo, Bernie Eccelstone. Now, I don’t know what the rights are concerning the name ‘Brabham’ but if some sort of Lotus type deal could be worked out, it would be nothing short of spectacular to see the name Brabham return to the grid.
- Ford – Now, this is clearly a want for a Ford engine, as I don’t see any way in which Ford would even consider running a full works team in Formula One, however amazing that may be. But even just to see them return as an engine manufacturer would be spectacular. They have an incredibly rich history in the sport, supplying Colin Chapman’s innovative Lotus 25 with the sports first purpose built engine. They powered such teams as Benneton, McLaren, Stewart, Jaguar, Tyrell, and March. Ford, in fact, has the second most race wins by any engine manufacturer, save only for Ferrari. They are a name synonymous with automobiles and it would be a perfect fit to see them re-enter Formula One.
- BMW – This one may show my young age, but I loved seeing the BMW badge roaring around the track in the early 2000s. While they may have only won a handful of times as an engine manufacturer with Williams and only had one win to their name as a full fledged constructor, they were still a force to be reckoned with, pushing Ferrari and McLaren to the max. And besides, what would be better than having a little inter-country competition to raise the stakes for Mercedes.
- Minardi – Yes, mock if you will, but the perennial backmarker team was a staple on the F1 grid. And however few points they managed to rack up, backmarkers were, and are, an important part of Formula One. They allow for young, talented drivers to cut their teeth and prove themselves before ascending in the ranks to higher and more competitive teams. Unfortunately, in the current era, many of the lower ranked teams use pay drivers (see my article yesterday about that) instead of taking a risk on young, new, promising talent. That said, if teams like Minardi were return to the grid, we would hopefully see the birth of more talent with more teams having seats to offer.
- Tyrrell – I add them here to this list if nothing else for the sheer lunacy of some of their designs, most noticeably the infamous six wheeler. Really, I’m not advocating for a reintroduction of Tyrrell, per say, but a reintroduction of the smaller privateer teams we used to see in the past. Teams like Shadow, Matra, Ligier, Prost, Stewart, the list goes on and on. F1 is often written by those who take chances. Tyrrell took those chances. We need more teams like Tyrrell, teams that will take a gamble, make a completely and totally bonkers car that may blow up spectacularly, but may just make enough of a headline to get them money and get them closer to the front of the field.