Horner sees ‘full customer cars’ as quick fix for smaller teams
Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner believes allowing customer cars in F1 could provide cash-strapped smaller teams with a viable solution to their financial woes.
The global coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on F1’s 2020 season, but the fallout for the teams is a massive drop in revenue that threatens the very existence of the sport’s weakest members.
Formula 1 has agreed to cost cutting measures, such as imposing a one-year delay on next year’s planned regulation overall, or extending into 2021 this year’s chassis designs.
Under the current rules, smaller teams can acquire from a larger outfit ‘unlisted parts’ which designate components that do not need to be designed in-house.
Todt: Parity between small and big teams in F1 a pipe dream
Horner believes that supplying “full customer cars” would significantly reduce the smaller teams’ financial burden in the mid-term.
“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 [expenditure]. They would run just as race teams and they would reduce their costs enormously.”
“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,” he added.
“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.”
However, the cloud of uncertainty that hovers over F1 is leading many to project a doom and gloom scenario for the sport.
Even FIA president Jean Todt would not dismiss the possibility of several teams getting simply wiped out by the crisis.
However, Horner believes that Liberty Media would likely step in to prevent such a dire outcome.
“It could be an enormous blow and at that point the promoter has to decide,” said the Red Bull boss.
“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.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter