Fittipaldi believes F1 needs more teams

Ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, we caught up with Formula 1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi who talked about Max Verstappen’s chances of winning the title, F1’s expansion to 23 races, FIA super license requirements and more.

We have the Singapore GP this weekend and if Max Verstappen wins, he can possibly seal the title. Do you see that happening?

"Yes. He can seal the championship this weekend. He has the mathematical chance.”

"But as we know, anything can happen in racing. It is difficult to predict."

"But he has the form and mathematical chance. He is the favorite again."

"To clinch the championship this weekend would be great. Well deserved for him. The whole year he's been driving hard, driving extremely well."

"Red Bull is having a great year again and they're getting results. A lot of work, a lot of commitment, a lot of talent. He can seal his second World Championship."

Why do you think Max Verstappen and Red Bull have had an easy march to the title despite a strong start from Ferrari?

"Red Bull have had a great racing strategy. Verstappen has driven really well."

"I think all the circumstances (Red Bull prevailed) against the odds at the beginning of the year."

"At the beginning of the year, I expected Ferrari to win. I predicted Ferrari was going to win. I was 90 percent sure that Ferrari were going to win because they showed so much more potential to win the championship."

"And then Red Bull were getting there, improving, working hard and now the championship is in favor of Red Bull now and Verstappen, for sure."

Expectations from Mercedes and McLaren in Singapore?

"I think Mercedes were so behind Ferrari in the beginning of the year. They had a lot of difficulties in adjusting to the rules for the new car. Remember the car was porpoising a lot. It was difficult to drive. It didn't have enough grip, the car. Enough power."

"And they worked very hard. Now they can run very strong in Singapore."

Updated on 05/25/2024
Bonus Code INSIDER1000 Claim Now

"McLaren had improved up to Miami. They improved a lot."

"They are improving but are behind Mercedes. They are the next team to come up, performance wise. They are working very hard. Very good, well organized team. Good people."

"It is important to know in the next few races, who gets better in the last three, four grands prix, looks good for the beginning of next year. Because the rules are not changing."

"I think for McLaren it is very important, in the last three or four races, to achieve the next level of performance, to be ready for the 2023 championship."

Do you think Mercedes can finish ahead of Ferrari in the constructors’ championship?

"I think Mercedes have showed a lot of improvement. But Ferraris are still extremely fast and extremely competitive."

"To beat LeClerc, it will be very difficult because the Ferraris are very fast and very competitive. They have two great drivers in LeClerc and Carlos Sainz. It could be very difficult."

"Mathematically, they have a chance but I think it will be very hard for Mercedes to finish ahead of Ferrari in the championship. I think Ferrari is going to finish ahead."

Seems that Lewis Hamilton is going to finish the season behind his Mercedes team mate, George Russell. Is this a surprise? What can we take from this?

"I think it'll be great to see how they do against each other. I could see at the beginning of the season, Lewis was taking more time to adapt to the new rules."

"But recently he has improved his performance and adapted. The Mercedes car is better now. He reversed the situation."

"It will be tough between both. Lewis has always been extremely talented and is a great champion. And George Russell, trying to be there. He's the challenger. It'll be great to watch."

"Good question. Difficult to answer, but good question."

Mark Slade, who’s previously worked with Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen has joined Haas to work specifically with Kevin Magnussen. How do you think it will help Magnussen?

"Haas, out of the box, was extremely fast."

"They have great potential for next season. And with a top engineer, for sure, the extra performance can happen. With that extra performance, they can run with the top teams."

"They have been very impressive. They are one of the teams that knew how to design the car for the new rules. They knew how to optimize from the beginning of the season."

"For me it was very impressive to see Haas this season. They can go to the next level with a new engineer."

"It will be interesting to see another competitive team in the grid. We need more competitive teams."

"As a driver he has shown he's there. I'm sure he'll be up there for sure. He is at the highest level of his career, in terms of performance. And with his age and experience, he can deliver what the team requires from an F1 driver. He can deliver on the team's expectations."

Felipe Drugovich won the F2 title recently. How important is it for Brazilian motorsport?

"It is very important to have a Brazilian win the F2 championship. He has great potential as a driver."

"He's got a great opportunity with Aston Martin, as a reserve driver. I hope he does well over there."

"For Brazil, we need drivers in F1, competing for the championship. Brazil has a rich history of drivers in F1 and I think he could be the next one."

"My grandchild, Enzo, is also driving very well in F2 for Charouz racing this year. He's second, on the way to F1. And I think we're looking at Brazilian drivers in F1 in the near future. The whole country is expecting that."

Even with the title, there is no guarantee that Drugovich will have an opportunity in Formula 1. Do you think FIA should promote a regular path to young talents up to Formula 1 grid?

"In my opinion, we need more Formula 1 teams, for more seats to be available."

"They could have another two-three teams, another six cars. There will be many more possibilities for young drivers to come in F1."

"We need more seats in F1. That's what we're missing. We need more teams in F1 for sure."

"In the mid 70s, some grands prix had nearly 30 cars. We need more cars. It'll be better for the sponsors, racing fans, for TV, and for the young talents that want to be in F1. It will give them more opportunity for sure."

Should F1 do more to get Andretti’s team in the grid?

"My opinion, yes."

"Like I spoke before, more teams will be great for the fans, great for the drivers, great for TV, it'll be great for the show."

"I was talking to Michael (Andretti) in July during Formula E. He is very motivated to have a full American team. And that will be great for F1 to have a full American team competing."

"Not just another team, but an American team. Even for the racing fans in America, it'll be great to have an American driver and an American team. It will create much more interest and following for F1.”

Do you think the FIA Super Licence requirements need to be re-looked at, considering the Colton Herta situation?

"I think what they have to do, in my opinion, is to have a vision of wisdom."

"What's a vision of wisdom? They know how difficult and how good the championships are. They know they can analyze any championship in the world with wisdom."

"And then, they can be flexible for sure. In my opinion, they have to be flexible to know that the driver that has enough performance, enough racing in a good category, in a competitive category, should be permitted to race."

"Sometimes the boundaries of rules established can limit the opportunities of young drivers to be in Formula 1. And I think that's not what you want for young drivers."

Williams parted ways with Nicholas Latifi. Do you think that was the right decision?

"I think Latifi was one of the sponsors of the team, when they changed ownership."

"I think Williams have a different view now. Any team in Formula 1 wants to be more competitive. Latifi did a good job."

"But now any team competing in Formula 1 wants to have alternative drivers. Try different drivers. It could be an opportunity for a more experienced driver than Latifi, that can not just drive different but help develop the car."

"A driver of much more experience, he could help the team a lot."

Williams could replace Latifi with American driver Logan Sargeant. How important is it for F1 to have an American driver to become even more popular in the US?

"I think in the future, it is extremely important to have an American driver."

"Like we don't have (an F1 driver) in Brazil for few years and it's a completely different interest level for F1."

"An American driver, for sure, will generate a lot of interest for the new generation of American racing fans."

"It is very important for F1, in America, to have American drivers. They are going to have three grands prix. It is going to be much better coverage for the media."

Nyck de Vries was one of the drivers who did a test with Alpine recently. Do you think de Vries would be a good addition to Alpine or any other F1 team?

"These young lions have come into F1 and have performed well. LeClerc, George Russell all these guys, they are coming. Verstappen, in the last few years. Good to see new young drivers in F1 for sure."

"I think De Vries is a good option for many teams. I agree hundred percent."

And what about Jack Doohan? Would it be interesting to see the son of a MotoGP champion in F1?

"Doohan is showing a lot of great performance in Formula 2. Everybody is very impressed by his performances and he could be another alternative for Formula 1. And for sure, for Australian fans, it'll be great to see another Australian driver in the grid."

"He's another good choice."

The 2023 calendar will have 24 races - Do you think that the expansion is good for the sport or is it too many races?

"I think it is a good expansion because Formula 1 is getting big globally."

"I'm sure more and more countries want to have F1 now. It is very, very interesting what Liberty Media and Stefan Domenicali are making through F1, to make it a new marketing program globally."

"I think that's going to help in the future for sponsors, for more racing fans."

"I like the expansion. I like it very much. This is thanks to the great work since Liberty Media took over and Stefan Domenicali has done great, great work."

If you would like to place a safe, legal bet on F1 racing, try Caesars Sportsbook!

Photo by shen liu