Guenther Steiner feels there are not enough teams on the grid at present, and Formula 1 needs more outfits like the Minardi F1 Team to allow young drivers to break through and gain the experience that top teams want them to have before jumping into their cars.
Minardi were renowned for giving drivers a break into Formula 1, with drivers such as Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli all debuting with them before moving up the grid and becoming race winners, with the team falling off the grid at the end of 2005 when it was sold to Red Bull and rebranded as Scuderia Toro Rosso.
With the demise of the Manor Racing MRT squad at the end of 2016, who gave both Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon the opportunity to race last season, it leaves a void on the grid, something that saddens Steiner, the team principal of the Haas F1 Team.
“The difficulty for young drivers is they need to be in the right time at the right place,” said Steiner. “There is nothing else you can do for it, at the moment you cannot even buy a cockpit.
“When Minardi was around, Minardi was maybe happy to be last, that was their duty to bring drivers up. Maybe they were not happy to be last but they could live with it because that was their business model – to develop drivers, that’s a good business model.
“It’s like when [Daniel] Ricciardo drove the HRT [in 2011], you knew he was not going to do anything but it gave him experience and that’s not there any more.
“It’s maybe a good thing we don’t have these teams [running at the back], [but] maybe it’s a bad thing…”