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Horner: Introduce customer cars to save costs

  • Published on 20 Apr 2020 09:49
  • comments 4
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has proposed the idea of introducing customer cars for smaller teams in order to save costs in the short term.

Formula 1 faces an uncertain financial future due to the coronavirus pandemic, with talks already underway over reducing the originally agreed $175 million budget cap in 2021.

However, Horner points out that smaller teams would not have to deal with the severe costs of developing the car over the course of the season if they were to be supplied cars at the start of the year.

“If we were really serious about reducing the cost, particularly for the small teams, I would be in full favour of supplying for the next two years a full customer car,” Horner told The Guardian.

“The smaller teams wouldn’t need any R&D. They would run just as race teams and they would reduce their costs enormously.

“With the modern 3D photographic technology all teams utilise they are all trying to copy each other’s cars anyway. Times change, things move. F1 used to have customer cars years ago. You could buy a car from March or from Ferrari and go racing.

“We need to think out of the box rather than just going round and round, beating ourselves up about numbers.

“If this is all about saving the little teams and improving their competitiveness, it would be a very difficult to argue against the logic of a small team being able to take a customer car.”

'Liberty would save teams from collapsing'

McLaren boss Zak Brown recently stated that he believes up to four teams could fall off the grid due to financial complications as a result of the coronavirus.

However, Horner is confident that F1's commercial rights holder Liberty Media would step in and save any team from dropping out of the sport.

“It could be an enormous blow and at that point the promoter has to decide,” he said. “It is their business, they have to decide how do they keep these teams alive because they need teams to go racing.

“The Liberty guys would do whatever they can to ensure that 10 teams are on the grid and competing next year.

“In order to protect their own business I believe they would help to facilitate, which means paying, to ensure that those teams would be around to compete next year.”

Replies (4)

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  • The holy shit trinity would love this, making money by selling inferior cars to their rivals to keep them in the dust while they profit from it. I don't mind the HAAS/Alfa Tauri strategy of inheriting some parts from a sister car, or RP's strategy of copying a successful concept, but customer cars? I dunno, I feel that destroys the concept of F1. As for Williams: I've actually of late come to hold Claire to a milder light. She is trying to hold the legacy of Williams as a free team alive regardless of success. It isn't working out, and maybe it is down to poor management or her not being an optimal leader, but I can respect that. It's either having Williams the team alive or Williams the spirit alive, if you will.

    • + 0
    • Apr 20 2020 - 18:06
  • The very essence of F1 for me is about different manufacturers running cars/teams - any erosion of that become anti-competitive - I'm not a fan of this one Mr Horner. I get it that in the past this is what happened, but the sport has come a long way since then right? It feels like a reaction to a growing realisation that the budget cut is the right thing to do - RBR would be a loser in this scenario. I do however have empathy for their position, and the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari - they've built entire business models around their F1 presence and restrictions would hurt them disproportionately. I get it - but let's not go down any further anti-competitive routes.....please

    • + 0
    • Apr 21 2020 - 10:50
  • f1dave

    Posts: 782

    I don't believe it has anything to do with customer cars or budget caps but everything to do with restrictive rules. In the past innovation won races. There were multiple approaches to what made a great race car. Now it has to be a set engine configuration, set wheel size, set wing design, and untill recently what the drivers helmet colour could be etc., etc., etc. No new team will ever be competitive as things stand. If F1 had such strict rules in the past we would still be running front engine cars with tall skinny tires. It is time to return to the "concept of F1" which is let a team decide what will win and let them run with that.

    • + 0
    • Apr 21 2020 - 16:36
    • That's kinda what the budget cap is for though: limiting runaway costs of the already successful teams to allow smaller and newer teams some breathing room. Furthermore, we liked the innovative bits of those years, sure, but remember just how many shoddy ideas we saw what lead to the destruction of silly sums of teams? In theory, I approve of greater regulative breathing room, but in reality we all know it'd just help the holy shit trinity anyway, and they sure don't need any more breathing room than they already have.

      • + 0
      • Apr 21 2020 - 20:00

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