Ecclestone wants customer cars for cost-cutting

Christian Horner, Bernie Ecclestone, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone pushes for the return of customer cars to bring costs down.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Ecclestone open to customer cars (Autosport)

“I don’t think it will happen. But I would like to see some of the smaller teams with a single car sold by a top team, which had been used the previous year. Perhaps it could be driven by a rookie.”

European GP – Conference 2 (FIA)

Eric Boullier: “Today?s Formula One is based on constructor regulations. If we have to go to customer cars to serve Formula One and be the Formula One of the future, why not? I think the discussion is open now. I know some teams would like to stay as constructors, some teams would maybe need to be customers to save their budget or their company, but it?s a more complex debate and actually together with the previous question about cost-saving, it?s obviously crucial in this discussion.”

Red Bull’s latest upgrades could make the difference in Valencia (BBC)

“An important part of the modification is the hot air from the radiator – instead of exiting at the front of the rear tyre, it now comes out half way along.”

McLaren now has fastest pit stops, says Michael (Adam Cooper)

“We?re now averaging 2.5s pit stops through practice. We think we can average here sub 3s, which is better than any other team in the pit lane.”

‘Vettel will join Ferrari’ (Sky)

Ted Kravitz: “The interesting thing about it is that we all know in F1 that, at some point in his career, Sebastian Vettel will drive a Ferrari. He has said he wants to do it and they have said they want to have him.”

McLaren face a hard day’s night in Valencia (Reuters)

Lewis Hamilton: “I’m about 95 percent away from where I want to be with my car at the moment but I’ll get back 90 percent overnight.”

Interesting timing (Joe Saward)

“Formula One has hired Michael Payne, as part of its restructuring in preparation for the eventual departure of 81-year-old Bernie Ecclestone.”

Comment of the day

Colossal Squid is keeping an eye on Force India this weekend:

I wonder how Force India’s true pace will be in qualifying. Mallya said during the week that Force India were ??close? to being on the podium, and I?ve also read about general rumblings the team have been making since Canada about how they’ve ‘learned’ from Canada and improved a lot. Maybe they have a surprise in store this weekend?
Colossal Squid

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On this day in F1

Rubens Barrichello won the 2002 European Grand Prix for Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher finished second, less than 0.3 seconds behind, but Ferrari decided against ordering their drivers to swap positions as they had in Austria one month earlier.

They were joined on the podium by Kimi Raikkonen, who finished 46 seconds behind in his McLaren.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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96 comments on Ecclestone wants customer cars for cost-cutting

  1. F1 is the best said on 23rd June 2012, 0:19

    Thats good that Mclaren have solved their pitstops, hope it can help them in the race

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 0:24

      Solved in team headquarters, let’s see it happen during a race.

      • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 23rd June 2012, 0:35

        I was at a fan event in Dublin a few weeks ago and some of the general public was changing tyres in under 3 seconds.

      • sorin (@) said on 23rd June 2012, 0:43

        The message was clear: “From now, will be Hamilton’s fault if he will stay more than 3s to pit”. On this site, at prediction should be: How much time will lose Hamilton on pits in this race? You can submit until his first pit stop… I bet he will stay more than 5s at every pitstop.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:42

          If the team drop Hamilton off the jacks and Hamilton lets the engine revs dip too low and the car goes into anti-stall and he gets away slowly – which is what happened in Canada – how on earth is that the team’s fault?

          • Julian (@julian) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:52

            Probably wasn’t expecting to be dropped off the jacks so soon.
            Ba Dum Tss

            I’ll show myself out…

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:07

            That’s still Hamilton’s problem. If he wasn’t ready to be released when they release him, how could the team be blamed for that?

          • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:31

            He was probably in shock that nothing had gone wrong!

          • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd June 2012, 5:45

            If the team drop Hamilton off the jacks and Hamilton lets the engine revs dip too low and the car goes into anti-stall and he gets away slowly – which is what happened in Canada –

            And you read this where? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but it looks as if you present your assumption as fact.

          • MemorableC (@memorablec) said on 23rd June 2012, 6:53

            He watched the race maybe?

            I saw the exact same thing.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 23rd June 2012, 10:04

            @adrianmorse Yeah, he pretty much said so after the race that is was his fault, he was probably expecting them to take longer!

          • sorin (@) said on 23rd June 2012, 11:21

            @prisoner-monkeys : Ok, so this happen once, but this didn’t cost him a lot of time, and he didn’t lost positions. He costed him a lot of time all the others pit stop where he stay like, 5, 12, 24, seconds… Anyway, like i said i bet that Hamilton will stay at pitstop no less than 5s, and not from his fault.

      • JCost (@jcost) said on 23rd June 2012, 11:15

        They’ll panic as usual :)

  2. F1 is the best said on 23rd June 2012, 0:24

    In response to the COTD, I too am going to watch for Force India they have good pace in practice but its still practice and it usually doesn’t mean anything. I’m also looking at the Lotus and the Sauber they are good on their tyres and with the hot conditions it could play a big role in the race also don’t count out the Mercedes.

  3. HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 0:38

    Oh the confusion! Bernie talks sense, customer cars have a long history in motor racing and not just in F1 have they provided some great performances. In order for it to happen we kneed 2 things;
    1; A stable rule to allow last years car to be legal the following year.
    2; A more development oriented rule to allow the constructor room to make annual improvements so as not to be compromised by the customer car, imagine Vettel or Alonso having to share wins not only with their team-mates but also with “Team Venezuela” running an identical car.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:00

      Customer cars are a bad idea.

      There is a key difference between F1 and almost any other series, and that is that the design and build a new car every year….

      Customer cars would kill F1 as we know it. Why should Caterham build their own car when they can just buy last years Red Bull?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:09

        Wasn’t everyone criticising Bernie a few years ago for failing to get customer car regulations approved, thereby preventing Prodrive from entering the sport?

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:40

          Bernie reverses his position on everything every few years so you are probably right.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:07

          I am not everyone, I am against it.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 23rd June 2012, 21:49

          So? your comment would make sense if you could point to @mike saying so, but this way its just (insert derogatory word)

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th June 2012, 1:38

          @prisoner-monkies, what exactly is wrong with consistency. Unlike yourself I hold certain opinions about the state of F1, these opinions are based on having followed F1 on and off for over 50 years. F1 has become a vastly bigger and more profitable business in that time due mostly to advances in TV broadcasting not through any amazing initiatives from BE, in this case I am in agreement with Bernie, I do not oppose merely for the sake of seeing myself in print.

          Oh! and by the way, if you choose to look into my point about Bernie regularly reversing his stated opinions you will find it to be true.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:48

        @mike, there is nothing wrong with customer cars, they make the back end of the grid more competitive, allow new teams and drivers to develop and be recognised for their ability/inability to compete with proven car. Vettels first win was with essentially a customer car.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:10

          @hohum

          If customer cars were the norm, Sauber would surely be running Ferrari’s…

          If that was the case, Perez’s second would be anything but as amazing as it was.

          Vettels first win was with essentially a customer car.

          And then they stopped the practice.

          If you allow customer cars into F1, you take away a major part of what F1 is. You give much, much more power to Ferrari, Red Bull and Mclaren, which is obviously a bad thing. And you take a hammer to the sports heritage.

          I loathe the idea.

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 23rd June 2012, 9:16

            Re: Perez, No, it would be even more amazing, speculation, but Perez would probably have dropped back just like Alonso. There is no categoric proof that the Sauber was any better or worse than Ferrari based on certain times this year, although it would seems that they might have been better at certain races / stages. I see no reason why a team like Sauber would run a customer car out of choice if they had enough money to design and develop their own.

            This would only really come into play with HRT, Marussia, Toro Rosso, Caterham?…..I’m not sure the others would want to be guaranteed to be a second or so off the pace by using last years cars under stable regulations.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd June 2012, 15:13

            I see no reason why a team like Sauber would run a customer car out of choice

            Unless the customer Ferrari or Mclaren etc was faster, or a lot cheaper. Which is probably would be to both,

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th June 2012, 1:59

            @mike, I understand your concerns, I want to see more not less variation in the cars. Naturally it would be necessary to restrict the number of teams that any one constructor could supply cars to, the obvious number is one, meaning that at least half the field would be constructors and the money made from supplying another team might make the difference between becoming insolvent or continuing to build and race F1 cars.

      • Coanda (@ming-mong) said on 23rd June 2012, 8:01

        Agreed, customer cars would destroy F1. As the years roll on the ideas & decision making just becomes more ridiculous…

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 23rd June 2012, 9:48

      I don’t agree with the idea of customer cars, the rules are too unstable recently to make it viable, and even if that was attended to what would happen if they were to start winning? The supplier would feel reluctant to provide them with their chassis, so the next year they may end up without a chassis.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th June 2012, 2:11

        @vettel1, if they beat the constructor it would still be a victory for a Ferarri-Mercedes-Williams etc. and would show that the car had more potential than the team/drivers were achieving with it, survival of the fittest.

  4. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 0:45

    “The interesting thing about it is that we all know in F1 that, at some point in his career, Sebastian Vettel will drive a Ferrari. He has said he wants to do it and they have said they want to have him.”

    Well, that leaves everyone in a sticky situation, doesn’t it?

    Vettel is believed to have a pre-contract with Ferrari for 2014 – but an opening could become available in 2013. Red Bull won’t give him up without a fight, so Ferrari will have the option of either paying a king’s ransom to get him, keeping Massa for another year, or finding someone would would be willing to race at Ferrari for a single year.

    Right now, none of them are particularly appealing.

    • You don’t think it would be relatively easy to find someone willing to race at Ferrari for a single year?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:03

        @aka_robyn – Yes, because who in their right mind would want to race for Ferrari for a single season, knowing full well that they would have to move on after twelve months? You could probably find some younger drivers who would leap at the chance to race for Maranello, but Ferrari are a team who can afford to be picky about who races for them. More to the point, they are picky about who races for them. Most of the drivers who would be willing to race for a single season aren’t the kind of drivers Ferrari would willingly take.

        • Yeah, Ferrari can definitely afford to be picky about who they choose to race for them, but I think there are good drivers out there who wouldn’t say “no” under the right circumstances. If, for example, Mark Webber felt like he had only about a year of F1 left in him, and he decided he wanted a change of scenery, I could see that happening. Couldn’t you?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:19

            I could see Webber wanting to go to Ferrari. I couldn’t see Ferrari wanting to take Webber. They tend to take drivers and keep them for years on end – they’ve probably had the most stable driver roster for the past twenty years. Keeping Massa for another year or buying Vettel out of his Red Bull contract seem like the more-likely options to me.

          • Hmmm, good point.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:41

            Of course, the problem is that here in Australia, it’s being reported – mostly in the pre-race show at every Grand Prix – that Webber will absolutely go to Ferrari. If it doesn’t happen, the commentators are going to be insufferable.

      • Nick.UK (@) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:04

        Webber *cough* Webber…

  5. TheJudge (@thejudge) said on 23rd June 2012, 0:50

    So red bull will have a big customer list then

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:05

      I imagine that the rules would limit who could sell their chassis, how many chassis they could sell, and who they could sell those chassis to. Otherwise, you’d get a situation where Ferrari buys the Red Bull chassis simply to keep other teams from using it and threatening Ferrari’s position.

      Besides, the RB8 is by no means the best chassis in 2012. It’s maybe third or fourth.

      • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:44

        The 3rd or 4th best chassis is leading the constructors championship if I’m not mistaken. Therefore making other teams 2-3 other teams look bad, maybe Red Bull could sell teams :)

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 23rd June 2012, 10:02

          @funkyf1 – the RB8 is coming into its own now, the only two cars that may be better than the RB8 are the MP4-27 or the E20: although looking at the current performances from the teams it appear that the Red Bull may be the best chassis.

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 23rd June 2012, 10:24

          Sorry guys I was quoting PM, I believe it’s unjustified comment as there is no apparent leader or dominant car this year as yet (i wish there was a font for sarcasm) . As Max stated I believe the RB8 is coming into its own where as the Mclaren car seems only to be let down by it’s team performance. I think it was a better car at the start of the season. The E20 is just waiting to show it’s colours once Lotus understand it better i believe, until then the car leading the championship, is the best car.

          • bt55 said on 23rd June 2012, 16:54

            difficult to say ‘the car leading the championship is the best car’ because the contractors is a tally of what both drivers are bringing to the table. if Massa was driving better surely ferrari too would be up there

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd June 2012, 8:46

        If it’s fourth best, who do you think is better?

  6. I Love The Pope said on 23rd June 2012, 1:12

    Build your own darn car! That is part of what is so cool about F1.

    • SatchelCharge (@satchelcharge) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:20

      I agree. There are tons of other open-wheel series that could open up to customers cars, I don’t think F1 should be one of them.

    • BradFerrari (@brad-ferrari) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:45

      Agree with your comment. I love the technical aspect of Formula 1, where every team has a different interpretation of the rules and design philosophy. Its what makes the sport unique in my opinion. If the sport were to adopt customer cars, it would surely lose some of its charm.

  7. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:26

    I don’t know much about how a team running customer cars would operate, but surely it would go against a lot of what F1 is all about? Doesn’t every team, from Ferrari to HRT, (however unrealistic and fanciful the idea may be) go out every race to win? Would having customer cars with customer engines ensure that these teams would never progress, merely making up the numbers and not be allowed to compete with the supplier team? Especially if the cars are ‘last year’s model’.
    To my mind there’s a big difference than being supplied an engine or gearbox and being supplied the entire chassis as well as gearbox, engine and aerodynamics.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:49

      Assuming last years (metaphorically ) top 3 or 4 cars are 99% as fast as this years top 3 or 4 cars then they would provide an excellent way for a “pay” driver with deep pockets to race, far better than than an HRT built car and provide a talent benchmark ie. can the driver equal last years times or not.
      Naturally the constructors name would still be on the car so they would want to sell them to teams with drivers who could get them onto the bottom step of the podium.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:08

        That is true, and a way of getting talented drivers with massive financial backing into the sport. But there are a few issues with that happening as I see it:

        Would that create a scenario where the customer cars are so good that many of the midfield teams say ‘what’s the point?’ when a better car can be bought instead of made, developed and tested?

        Would this in turn possibly create a doomsday scenario where the F1 field looks more like GP2: many teams run competitive customer cars (say Red Bull clones) and the only teams left are the big boys like McLaren and Ferrari?

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 3:13

          Its true there would need to be limits on the number of customer cars allowed, say max 5 teams and remember the team name has massive commercial value to a successful team and they would not want to share it with another constructor.” WDC. Nico Rosberg won in the team Mercedes Ferrari/Renault” won’t cut it”.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:19

          @colossal-squid I think you are 100% spot on with that.

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd June 2012, 9:17

            Me too @mike, well said @colossal-squid, that’s exactly my fear too.

            Even in LMP where there is a big spread over the field and speed isn’t the only thing that count, look at last few years LMP1, was it Orcea running the customer Peugeot? The only reason they got close to podium in 2010 (before they too got the engine issue), was because Peugeot was gone. And look at this years field. Yes, Toyota is a new big team, but behind that the teams that use customer cars struggle to get close (okay partly engine matter, but even so), or have trouble getting a car bc. the car-builders are going out of business. Not a healthy situation either.

  8. Aldoid said on 23rd June 2012, 1:35

    McLaren should shut up about their fastest practice pit stops & focus on doing some fast ACTUAL pit stops. As inept as they’ve been, I’m betting it’s gonna take quite a bit of practice before they finally come perfect. I hope with all my heart that I’m horribly wrong but as a McLaren fan, my heart rate automatically increasing every time there’s a silver car in the pit lane definitely isn’t mind over matter… we’re good & used to them messing up pit stops, & it’ll take more than words to calm my frayed nerves come the first round of stops on Sunday.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:39

      McLaren should shut up about their fastest practice pit stops & focus on doing some fast ACTUAL pit stops.

      How, exactly, can they do “fast ACTUAL pit stops” without practicing? Surely it stands to reason that by going back to the drawing board and rehearsing their pit stops over and over again, they can produce better pit stops in the race? Being able to produce the fastest practice stop suggests that they have ironed out the kinks in their stops.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 1:58

        Aldoid said nothing about not practicing, he said, as you quote, they should stop claiming they are the fastest until they do it in a race. I agree with Aldoid as I suspect do all sensible McLaren fans. McL claiming to be the fastest team at pitstops is like Massa claiming he is faster than Alonso.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 2:05

          Do you honestl think that McLaren just produced this fast stop out of nowhere and said “there, we did it, we’re the best”?

          You’re smarter than that.

          You know as well as I and Aldoid do that McLaren are acutely aware that pit stops have been a problem this year. And the only way they can get better at pit stops is by practicing them. Do you genuinely believe that McLaren could get to the point where they produce a 2.5-second practice stop without identifying and addressing the problems that have plagued them all year? Because that’s a ridiculous notion. It sounds to me like you’re criticising McLaren for the sake of criticising them.

          • Aldoid said on 23rd June 2012, 2:37

            Well, monkeys, my original point stands: until they start producing some actual fast pit stops, I don’t particularly care for them saying they’re doing the quickest stops. It means absolutely squat to anyone paying close attention (IMO). I don’t recall saying they should quit practicing. You’d think this statement would be a dead giveaway: “I’m betting it’s gonna take quite a bit of practice before they finally come perfect”. Again, my opinion: THEY SHOULD QUIT TALKING ABOUT IT ON FRIDAY & ACTUALLY DO IT ON RACE DAY. Before the last couple races both Whitmarsh & Lowe were quoted saying they took measures to fix the pit stops, but lo & behold they’re still screwing up. Seriously dude… I don’t get your confusion.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 3:19

            @prisoner-monkeys, how do McLaren, or you, know that other teams practice pitstops are not faster than 2.5 seconds. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
            Had McL announced ” We have been working on our pitstops and believe we will be as fast as anyone” we would not comment about it.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:09

            until they start producing some actual fast pit stops, I don’t particularly care for them saying they’re doing the quickest stops

            Do you still not understand the relationship between practice stops and actual stops? McLaren are practicing their stops to get better. They set a very fast time, which they are holding up as proof that they are getting better at their stops. You’re acting as if practice stops mean absolutely nothing – but you’re clearly ignoring (on purpose, I suspect) the way practicing their stops will enable McLaren to produce proper pit stops during the race.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:24

            @prisoner-monkeys

            Are you aware that perhaps, they are not criticizing Mclaren practicing, but criticizing Mclaren’s statement, that they are the fastest.

            As of this point in the year, I think it is fair to say that Mclaren have not done well at all with their pit stops. Thus, as the races are the key focus in F1, not the preparation for them, I think it is fair to say, that Mclaren are talking big, before they produce the results to back it up.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:27

            Are you aware that perhaps, they are not criticizing Mclaren practicing, but criticizing Mclaren’s statement, that they are the fastest.

            It occurred to me, but McLaren never said that their practice times meant that they would be the fastest on race day – only that they have set fast practice times.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 23rd June 2012, 8:52

            We think we can average here sub 3s, which is better than any other team in the pit lane.

            Yes they did.

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 23rd June 2012, 9:27

            Priceless, multiple posts about something Mclaren did not even say.

            They only said “We think” what’s wrong with that?

          • Aldoid said on 23rd June 2012, 10:04

            On an article with a headline that says McLaren claim the fastest stops, & in reading the article, Sam Michael again goes on to say he thought they had the fastest stops in Canada. I say they should quit talking about it & actually DO it more, & here comes the Monkey practically accusing me of telling McLaren to stop practicing, & arguing that they never claimed anything about fastest pit stops. Classic stuff. LOL!

      • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:46

        actions speak louder than words!

  9. Pika said on 23rd June 2012, 1:54

    The next step is a spec series with all cars made by Ferrari and McLaren.

  10. James_mc (@james_mc) said on 23rd June 2012, 3:06

    It should be remembered that a lot of decent drivers got their breaks into F1 in customer cars, historically. However that was in an era (1950s – 1970s) when regulations were much more stable.
    For example you could purchase a previous-years Lotus which would still be compliant with regs, but it would be missing a year of development and knowledge finding about it. (Incidentally, I think Ferrari were the last team to intentionally bring the previous years car to start a race (2003))

    I fear that the customer car idea may either be a way to lead us down the garden path to a spec series (which no-one wants, but when has FOM ever listened to the customers?), or a situation where teams such as Williams who have invested in factories, wind tunnels and the like to build their cars and are spending £40M per annum are getting trounced by a monied non-entity with their hands on the previous season’s title winning car?

    Which leads me to my final point – what checks do you have on the “power” of the supplier of the car? Do you allow Ferrari to clog the grid up with lots of identical cars all “racing” to stifle competition? Do you mandate that the customer only receives the previous years car so is at a disadvantaged for “short-cutting” the development route of a new car?

    It would be a great way to get new teams in, or indeed keep existing ones going. However there must be better ways of reducing costs, this one appears to be a potential legal minefield – we know how much a team protests about a “slot” smaller than a finger, imagine the furor of customer cars….

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 23rd June 2012, 3:30

      Remember that a team like Williams could amortize some of those capital costs if they were allowed to supply another team with 1 or 2 cars. There would have to be a limit to the number of customer cars a team could supply, I would suggest 2 + spares. And yes last years car not this years.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 23rd June 2012, 4:36

      But, can you see the teams actually using this responsibly? I can’t.

    • Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 23rd June 2012, 7:15

      (Incidentally, I think Ferrari were the last team to intentionally bring the previous years car to start a race (2003)

      Last time was in 2005 where they raced the F2004 for the first 2 rounds.

    • RFB said on 23rd June 2012, 20:12

      Actually, in 2008 Toro Rosso started the season with the STR2 from the previous year, and switched to the STR3 after the 5th race.

  11. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 23rd June 2012, 5:07

    the vettel era at ferrari won’t begin until the alonso era is over, and that won’t be for some time. alonso is a natural captain for the team, and he’s not leaving without multiple titles.

    as for customer cars, it’s a no-brainer. there aren’t 12 teams in the entire world both able and willing to compete for victory in the rarefied air of formula one. the choice is simple: either let the smaller teams buy cars from somebody to campaign, or force them to reinvent the wheel every year with nothing to show for it.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th June 2012, 2:31

      @F1yankee, well said, may I add that if the major teams were supplying another team and thereby being able to gain some additional income, virtually halving the cost of development, additional areas of development could be re-opened.

  12. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd June 2012, 6:03

    What I don’t like about the idea of customer cars (apart from all the good points mentioned above) as a cost-cutting measure, is that it will then be very difficult for a team to get back to designing their own cars. A team that cannot afford to design its own cars anymore will have to lay off all its design staff, and possibly get rid of infrastructure like CFD and other things they need to build a car, which means they will be stuck for a long time running customer cars.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd June 2012, 9:21

      That is my other main worry about customer cars @adrianmorse, especially as they are so complicated to understand right now. If it was just a matter of copying the best bits of the opponents, everyone would be a winner very soon. The big part is in knowing how they interact and how to get a balanced car out of it, and that’s not easily learned from a customer car, I feel.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th June 2012, 2:38

      @adrianmorse, a team buying last years car will have a starting benchmark but will still need to develop the car to remain competitive, so will still need the technical skills to design a car if not the factory space to build one.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 6:21

    The problem with customer cars is that economics will naturally drive the price of a customer chassis up.

    I can’t see the FIA allowing unlimited customer cars on the market, so if customer chassis were allowed, then teams would only be able to sell two cars to one other team. The problem is that because all of the cars are different, this could result in smaller teams trying to out-bid the others for th best cars.

    The only way I can see this working is if teams who are willing to sell their cars can only sell them to the FIA for a fixed price. Teams who are willing to buy a customer chassis can only buy it from the FIA for that same fixed price. This will keep the costs down to a minimum and will prevent teams from buying direct from one another. In the interests of keeping things as neutral as possible, teams would not be permitted to discuss whether they are willing to buy or sell their cars. The only difficulty here (and it’s not a major one) would be deciding who gets to buy first.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd June 2012, 9:23

      That sounds like a sensible idea if customer cars are to be allowed @prisoner-monkeys, I agree. Still not convinced of the idea, but this would be a good way to at least deal with the issue of power and back-room dealings.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 24th June 2012, 2:44

      I wouldn’t give the FIA any more power at all. What is wrong with a market based (within any cost cap) solution, the more you spend buying the chassis the less you have to spend on development.

  14. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 23rd June 2012, 7:29

    I think the solution is in customer parts, instead of cars.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 7:48

      @verstappen – That’s not a solution at all. Cars are designed holistically; the aerodynamics at the front are designed to compliment the aerodynamics at the back. You simply cannot take the front wing from a Ferrari, stick it onto the HRT and expect the car to be competitive. If anything, the car will probably be slower, since the parts were not designed to work together. We saw this in Melbourne last year, when HRT were forced to put the nose and front wing from an F110 onto the F111.

  15. sam3110 (@sam3110) said on 23rd June 2012, 8:20

    Sorry McLaren but you have probably had the slowest average pitstop times this season so far. So you can do them fast in practice, whoop de doo. All the big teams, Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari all do them sub 3 seconds in practice, the difference is they don’t bow to the pressure come race day.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 23rd June 2012, 8:31

      Why do people not understand that by practicing their pitstops, McLaren get better at them? Yes, it needs to be implemented in the race, but given that they’ve been having so much trouble with them this year, surely people can see how a 2.5-second pit stop in practice might give the team confidence that they can get it right.

      • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 23rd June 2012, 9:27

        Why is it so hard to understand that after their performance so far this year, claims by McLaren that it will all be much better now are met with a let’s wait and see what happens in the races attitude @prisoner-monkeys?

        I would guess McLaren did practice a lot before too, as anyone knows it is important to get good pit stops. It is good to hear that they looked at the whole process and changed things, and are able now to consistently practice better than they were, that is promising. So far, Canada did look better even if it wasn’t flawless, but that’s just one race, so let’s see this time around before cheering.

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