Mansell Calls for ‘Depth of Competition’ Issues within F1 to be Addressed


Fields used to be significantly bigger than they are now in F1
Credit: LAT Photographic

Nigel Mansell feels Formula 1 needs more teams to be brought into the sport as it lacks the depth of competition it had when he was racing in the 1980s and 1990s, with the diminished numbers a negative for young drivers wanting to make it into the sport.

The Formula 1 regulations caps the number of cars on the grid at twenty-six, but this number has not been reached since the Monaco Grand Prix of 1995, after which the Simtek Racing team folded, while 1994 was the last time the number of entries exceeded the number of starters, meaning their was often two cars failing to qualify.

In 1992, Formula 1 saw it’s final pre-qualifying session, held as the number of entries exceeded thirty, and saw some drivers going home after just a morning’s running on a Friday morning, while the number of entries per race peaked in 1989, when there was twenty teams and thirty-nine drivers bidding for the twenty-six places on the grid.

In recent years, Formula 1 saw twenty-four cars on the grid in 2010, but the three teams that came into the sport at the beginning of that season have all since departed, with only the Haas F1 Team arriving, meaning only twenty drivers take the start of each Grand Prix, something 1992 World Champion Mansell would like addressing.

“No disrespect to Formula 1 but the depth of competition is not there like it was in the 80s and 90s,” said Mansell to Motorsport.com. “We want to see 26 cars on the grid. There is an awful lot of worthy drivers who are backlogged and have nowhere to go.

“Through the years, there were drivers being injured out of the sport and being replaced. There was always a new influx of blood every year, always cars to get into. That has dried up.

“The FIA have done an incredible job with safety, the manufacturers have worked closely to make the cars safer. A driver almost has twice the career span, which is good for them, but the drivers waiting to break in will never get the opportunity.”