Customer Car Parts
Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:03 AM
Caterham team principal Cyril Abiteboul has called for a change to the rules that outline what a constructor is.
At present Formula One does not allow customer cars, meaning there are certain aspects to each car that each individual team have to create themselves.
Those range from the monocoque to the front and rear suspension to the floor and fuel cell.
Abiteboul, though, reckons the rules should be softened to make it easier for small teams on tighter budgets.
"We need to have a fresh look at that and see whether these parts contribute to the show or if it makes a fundamental contribution to the performance," Abiteboul told Autosport.
"If the answer is no, or not really, then we should be open to more exchanges between the teams.
"Obviously, you need to look at the details in F1 because you always try to find ways to go around what is written in black-and-white and there is no spirit of the regulations.
"We have to make sure that it is extremely clear for everyone."
He added: "There is a discussion in Concorde about what exactly is a constructor.
"Personally, I do believe that it is offering a nice avenue without going into the extreme of complete customer cars.
"Even if the pure definition of competition is that you should not be collaborating, there is still some stuff [we can do].
"We are in a tough economic climate and a good way to mitigate everyone's exposure and cost is to ease the things that are not altering the fundamental principle of the show."
Posted 18 February 2013 - 06:25 PM
Hell, a constructor need not build its own engine, and I feel like that's a pretty big component of a racing car. So, when you consider customer engines do exist and will continue to exist, a few customer parts here and there isn't a big shake-up.
Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:08 AM
Part of the costs that they are decrying now is for a full fledged R&D team, aerodynamicists and facilities to be a true constructor. If the regulation for constructors were changed, those roles would be filled with the barest minimum of staff/investment.
Smaller teams that are going about it in the "right" way are Williams, Sauber and Lotus. They continue to produce innovation, even on a shoestring. I would contend, that if the role of constructor were to be redefined, we would lose quite a bit of diversity, creativity and ingenuity in the paddock.
Sure, the costs are high today, but that would be the responsibility of the governing body & commercial rights holder to find a regulatory path to lower the costs. For example, since the teams are mandated to use a McLaren ECU, why not mandate something else, or freeze designs of the floor (like they did for the engine).
Part of the reasons why there are so many pay drivers is to act as a solution to their cost issues. Another thing to consider is why are these teams so poor at attracting sponsors? Despite dropping TV figures, F1 still has a pretty high visibility. Especially toward the more affluent demographic. I don't get why HRTs, FIndias, Caterhams and Marussias run around like blank billboards. Surely some advertising income is better than none, even if it was for half the asking rate.
There are better solutions out there than turning a constructor sport into a facsimile of its former self. Sometimes its just better to pack your things and go home with dignity rather than drawing out your eventual demise.
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