'Two new teams may join wagon'

Formula One has agreed to accept two new teams, including a US entry proposed by NASCAR team owner Gene Haas, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Sunday.

“They will be accepted,” the Briton told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix when asked about Haas’ application.

“We've also accepted another team as well. Whether they'll make it or not is another story. We are happy to have another couple of teams.

“I've spoken to (International Automobile Federation president) Jean Todt and we agreed yesterday that another two teams want to come in, we'll let them in,” said the 83-year-old billionaire.

Last December, the FIA called for expressions of interest from potential new entries wanting to compete from 2015 or 2016, and set a January deadline. 
 
There are currently 11 teams competing. 
 
Full applications had to be submitted by Feb 10 and a decision was supposed to have been taken by Feb 28, although the governing body has remained silent on the subject.

Haas, co-owner of the Stewart-Haas NASCAR team, acknowledged in January that Haas Racing Development had responded to the FIA’s call.

Former F1 principal Colin Kolles, who most recently led the failed Spanish HRT team after stints at Force India and its previous incarnations Jordan, Midland and Spyker, has also reportedly submitted a Romanian-backed application.
 
Ecclestone, who faces a court hearing on bribery charges in Germany later this month, appeared in good spirits and said he would have no problem with 13 teams.

“Sure. And you can have a team and it can be 14,” he joked.
 
Formula One last admitted new teams in 2010, with a US outfit initially accepted but later removed from the entry list when it became apparent they were not in a position to race.
 
Ecclestone also said that Formula One needs to make rule changes to placate angry fans but leaders Mercedes must not be punished for doing a better job than their rivals.

"Mercedes, without any doubt, have done a better job and they shouldn't be punished for doing a good job. We shouldn't change the regulations to punish them," he said.

The ditching of the ear-splitting old V8 engines and ushering in of a quieter V6 turbo era, with an emphasis on fuel economy and hybrid technology, has upset some spectators and promoters.
 
Ferrari and champions Red Bull, both playing catch-up to the Mercedes-powered teams, have been outspoken in their criticism and demands for change -- with rivals accusing them of playing politics to mask their failings. 
 
Ecclestone talked to International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt at the Sakhir circuit and was also due to meet Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and other bosses.

"We have to (change), for sure. I don't think the way things are at the moment are acceptable to the public," he said. 

"People buying tickets to come here, or go somewhere else, are expecting to see what Formula One used to be.

"What is important is that the teams know the problem, and the engine manufacturers know the problem, and they're trying to sort it," added Ecclestone.

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