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Horner: 'Why not give teams the opportunity to buy last year’s car?'

  • Published on 12 May 2020 10:58
  • comments 4
  • By: Fergal Walsh

Christian Horner has suggested that Formula 1 teams should have the option to buy a rival's car from the previous season in order to save costs.

Formula 1's financial situation is currently under discussion, with talks underway regarding its budget cap for 2021, which is set to be lower than the originally planned $175 million figure due to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

F1 teams have traditionally produced their own cars, however the gap between the top teams and the midfield has grown in recent years, due to a significant spending difference.

Red Bull team principal Horner says that giving teams the opportunity to buy a year-old car from a top team would reduce development costs while also making the smaller outfit more competitive. 

“I fully support the need to reduce costs and ensure that all 10 teams remain in the sport but there are many ways to accomplish that goal and they are not all just about lowering the cost cap,” Horner wrote in a column for Red Bull.

“If the main target of a cost cap is about being competitive and helping the smaller teams, especially as we come through the current crisis, then I would be fully open to selling our cars at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

“Some people say that customer cars are against F1’s DNA to design and build your own car, well times have changed and we need to find the best way to make the smaller teams competitive and survive the current crisis.

“This approach works well in MotoGP and it could even attract more teams to the grid, which we would all welcome.

“Teams spend fortunes over winter copying others, why not just give them the opportunity to buy last year’s car?

“It would make far more sense for a team to be competitive, rather than spending money developing something if the funds are not there to do so.

“As the business model of the smaller teams evolves and they become more competitive with customer cars, they can bring in increased revenue and then look to build their own cars again.”

At pre-season testing earlier this year, Racing Point drew criticism from some other teams, as it turned up with a car that resembled Mercedes' championship-winning W10 2019 car. 

Racing Point affirmed that there was nothing illegal about the car, with McLaren recently asserting that it would not be pursuing clarification from the FIA over the design.

Replies (4)

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  • I hear ya, but buying a whole car from last-gen is just stupid. Cheap both financially and morally.

    • + 0
    • May 12 2020 - 11:06
  • hhmmm, an interesting thought, though Im struggling to see how a top performing team would want to release IP to a competitor. Selling bits and bobs is a good thing, we see that today - but that isn't the same as understanding how all of those work together - if you hand over the whole cars) it means that a wrong turn in development for the top teams could result in a strategic error that could cost next years position - after all, they would have sold all last years cars so wouldn't be able to revert to last years model?? Am I missing something here? Horner might have something here but I can't see how it could work easily. At least he's trying to put the options on the table.

    • + 0
    • May 12 2020 - 16:54
  • f1ski

    Posts: 726

    I think it's brilliant. The buyer would still need to figure out set up . That can be a difficult task. i would rather see that than a spec series. I would say if a team chooses that route their budget is lower than if a team chooses to build its own. I think that the way it will work is by figuring out the engine situation first.

    • + 0
    • May 13 2020 - 00:34
  • I think that as Horner says - it works in MotoGP. A team would only be selling the parts - the buyer still needs to understand those parts and then be able to set it up to reap the rewards. I think its a really good idea - but perhaps changing it slightly to sell the chassis - which is essentially the basis for the car. No point selling wings and other aero stuff as this tends to change race to race - its the core of engine, chassis, gearbox, cooling package, suspension setup that tend to stay the same for most of the year (with minor modifications). They can already sell the engine and gearbox as well as some suspension components - why not add in the chassis?

    • + 0
    • May 13 2020 - 01:27

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