Former F1 driver Stefan Johansson has urged Manor to consider following the lead of the 2016 entrant Haas. Manor, the former Marussia team and clear 2015 backmarker, has admitted in recent days it is wary of the threat posed by the incoming Haas' novel approach to F1.
Haas is pushing to the limit of the existing rules in terms of 'customer cars', buying as much as possible from its close technical partner Ferrari. "They're pushing it as close to that as the rules will allow currently," Swede Johansson, who raced until the early 90s for teams including Ferrari and McLaren, said. "They've done their homework, they've listened to the right people and it's the way to do it."
However, Haas' rival small teams are pushing back hard against the push to free the 'customer car' model in F1, insisting that manufacturing a chassis almost entirely alone is part of the DNA of the sport. "Well, I don't understand the attitude of some the smaller teams," Johansson told his website. "At the same time they're scrambling for every penny because the cars are so expensive to make now and they can't afford to pay their people or their suppliers in many cases."
"If I was Manor and I was offered a Ferrari I'd jump at it," said Johansson. "Who wouldn't? Their budget would be less than it is now. The car would already be developed and sorted and you could run the team with probably 60 people. It just makes business sense. With a customer car you still get to be part of the show, you still get money from Bernie and you could actually make some money if you do it right. As far as I'm concerned it's the way to go," he added. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing