As the Global F1 Fan survey circulates amongst the sport’s supporters ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, F1 empresario Bernie Ecclestone has revealed his plans for the reintroduction of customer cars.
His announcement comes a week after the F1 Strategy Group meeting that received so much media attention. Speaking in the build up to F1’s most glamourous race of the year, Ecclestone revealed that customer cars were high on the agenda in the meeting, with talks circulating around their introduction in 2017. However, resistance from some teams means the matter is yet to be resolved, and as such it was left off the official press release that circulated after the meeting.
Ecclestone believes that their introduction would resolve the financial issues faced by some of F1’s smaller teams, but did suggest that it may lead to them losing their status as a constructor if using customer chassis. He proposed that the customer cars could be available for around $15 million.
“I’ve been pushing, pushing, pushing for single chassis, single engine, and run it exactly the same as now, but they [the teams] can’t muck around with it [the car]. “So you do that with four or five teams and you leave the constructors alone. You let them do what they want to do.
“You would make all the chassis the same, and then we would do a deal with one of the engine suppliers. It should work.”
Sauber’s team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, has been highly vocal in opposition to the introduction of customer cars, fearing that it would affect team’s chances of attracting sponsorship and stating that her team will never use a customer chassis.
In response, Mr Ecclestone commented: “Of course they could get a sponsor. If I was one of the major teams I wouldn’t be happy because I know one of those other teams would easily be able to get a sponsor as they would be in a positon to charge less money, and they’d still get good television.”
Customer cars – albeit with restrictions – are on my proposal for how to improve F1. Be sure to leave your comments on whether you agree with the introduction of customer chassis and other approaches you would take to change the rules for the better.