Christian Horner, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013

Horner urges “open minded” customer cars dialogue

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Christian Horner, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says the sport should think seriously about allowing customer cars if it wants to bring costs down.

Speaking in today’s press conference Horner said: “If you look at costs and the cost drivers in Formula One, the necessity to have four or five hundred people in order to even compete is, in all reality, too high”.

“Now if you?re just looking at it from a pure cost point of view, the most logical way to take out a huge amount of cost would be to sell a car or a year-old car in its entirety. Now whether that goes against the grain of what a constructor should be and is in current Formula One is a separate debate.

“But if you are absolutely transfixed on saving costs, it is, without a shadow of a doubt the most effective way to reduce costs. Whether it?s the right thing to do is obviously another questions. Inevitably there is going to be a lot of debate about it and it?s something that, as a sport, we need to be open-minded to.”

Several teams are opposed to allowing the sale of chassis to other teams as it could render them uncompetitive. Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya said his team were “completely opposed to even the concept of customers cars”.

“What happens to the smaller teams that have factories, that employ hundreds of people and who are effectively running companies?” Mallya asked.

“You can?t just discard everything and just buy a one-year old car from an established team and go motor racing. I think that affects the total DNA of Formula One from the day it was started.”

Mallya said it was “ridiculous” to try to sell customer cars as a cost-cutting measure when FOTA’s attempt to reduce costs had been scuppered by the withdrawal of support from the top teams.

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn endorsed Mallya’s view, saying: “Sauber?s been in motorsport now for more than 40 years and our core business is making race cars in different series, so we are absolutely against this concept of a customer car because we?re ruining our own business here.”

Kaltenborn argued there were more effective ways of controlling costs and doing do by introducing customer cars could make the sport more vulnerable:

“You might have four teams in there that are capable of putting in that much money, but at some point in time ?ǣ they are all in there to win ?ǣ when they don?t do that and maybe just end up with a few points they leave the sport as well. So it?s a very dangerous route to go down.”

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