Ecclestone doubts there will be 14 teams in 2010
London: Formula One is unlikely to start with 14 teams next year despite four new entrants being lined up to join the current 10, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said.
"No, because I think one or two of them might not turn up," Ecclestone told reporters when asked whether he expected all 14 to be on the 2010 starting grid.
Ecclestone, speaking in Singapore ahead of Sunday`s Grand Prix, mentioned the new US F1 team, which plans to build its car in America, as one of those causing concern. "That`s what I`ve been told, possibly they are doubtful," he said.
BMW are leaving the sport at the end of the season but their team have been sold to Qadbak, a Swiss-based foundation representing unnamed Middle Eastern interests.
Their place on the grid has been given to a new, Malaysian-backed Lotus F1 team.
However the purchasers of BMW-Sauber have been told they are the official reserves, with the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) also asking teams to increase the grid to 14 constructors.
FIA president Max Mosley voiced concern about U.S. F1 at the Italian Grand Prix this month, telling reporters that the governing body had visited their facilities in North Carolina and would be visiting again in October.
"There`s all sorts of rumours about them but they say they are very serious, so we have to take them at face value," he added.
Peter Windsor, the team`s co-founder, has played down the speculation.
"There are lots of rumours about us because, unlike the other new teams, we are not getting our car built by Dallara or an outside company," he told reporters recently. "We are doing the car completely in-house ourselves.
"We have absolutely no problem at all in telling people that our car is on schedule and will be running and will be up there with the other new teams," said Windsor. "But it hasn`t been an easy year to put a new Formula One team together.”
"I`m very comfortable that everything is going extremely well."