Brown: B-teams are ‘throwing in the towel’

Date published: January 8 2019

Zak Brown: B-teams throwing in the towel

McLaren team principal Zak Brown has urged Liberty Media to address Formula 1’s growing B-team issues after “questionable” on-track antics in 2018.

B-teams have become a hot topic in Formula 1 in recent years following Haas’ arrival on the 2016 grid.

The American outfit is closely tied-in with Ferrari with their F1 cars carrying all the permitted non-listed parts bought from Ferrari, including the engine, suspension and gearbox.

But while Haas may be the only team on the grid that has taken that route, there are others that have very close links with their engine suppliers.

This led to speculation that Racing Point, formerly Force India, could become a B-team to Mercedes under the new ownership, something rival teams – including McLaren – sought to block.

Racing Point were also in the thick of one of headline crashes of 2018 as Esteban Ocon collided with race leader Max Verstappen at the Brazilian GP, handing the win to Racing Point’s engine supplier Mercedes.

Brown feels Liberty Media need to take a stand on B-teams.

“I think Haas has done an excellent, excellent job given their resources and how young the racing team is. You have to admire what they have done,” he said.

“I think Liberty are going to address the ‘B-team business model’ because I think it allows the big teams to benefit from the B-team.

“The benefits are everything from technical, to political, to, we’ve seen, on-track activities this year that people believe were questionable.

“I think all three of those scenarios is not what Formula 1 is about and need to change for the health of the sport, and I believe they will.

“Liberty have that in their plan, to address B-teams and to what degree you can be a B-team.”

The McLaren CEO also feels being a B-team means an outfit is beaten even before they have tried.

He added: “Our belief is a B-team will never be able to compete with the A-team and therefore while maybe going to that business model in the very short-term could make you more competitive quicker and be fiscally a better proposition, I think you are giving up on any hopes of racing as a championship contender.

“Therefore, going for B-team status would be throwing in the towel of being a championship contender.

“We think it is critical that Liberty, in the new Formula 1 world, addresses that so all teams can have a fair and equal chance to compete for the championship on a more level playing field.”

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