Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren are once again on opposite sides, this time regarding the debate on reintroducing customer cars to Formula 1.
While it is not a serious proposal currently being considered, recently Red Bull boss Christian Horner suggested it could be an “extreme” solution to helping keep all 10 teams on the grid after the coronavirus.
His argument was that buying a chassis would remove all R&D costs and comes at a time when teams like Haas and Racing Point, two teams particularly vulnerable to the financial fallout of Covid-19, are essentially copying or buying in parts from top teams anyway.
Customer cars wouldn’t be a new thing for F1 either but are currently not possible as the regulations state all constructors’ must develop their own chassis independently and produce, at minimum, a set list of key parts. Still, as Scuderia Ferrari resists efforts to reduce the budget cap below $150m, the Italian side’s Team Principal Mattia Binotto has agreed with Horner that reconsidering that requirement could be an option.
“If the current emergency really put the existence of some of our competitors in this sport in doubt and made it necessary to revise certain cornerstones, then Ferrari would be open to it,” he told the British newspaper The Guardian – “It’s not even sacrilegious, given it’s happened before in F1 and happens today in series such as MotoGP.”
Indeed, of the five manufacturers in the motorcycle premier class, only Aprilia don’t supply a satellite team.
However, McLaren, one of the stalwarts of maintaining their independent status along with Williams, unsurprisingly rejects the whole idea.
“The last time there were customer cars, I believe, was the 1970’s,” CEO Zak Brown told Motorsport.com – “So, for Formula 1, which is all about being a constructor, I don’t see how that potential solution is consistent with other comments that the DNA of F1 is a Constructors’ Championship and technology evolution. That feels like a solution from the ’70s.”