‘Budget cap misses the point, let’s sell cars’

Date published: May 12 2020

Red Bull

Christian Horner is adamant customer cars are the solution to F1’s problems as they are cheap and can be competitive.

While Formula 1 is debating what amount to lower the 2021 budget cap to, Horner is advocating for customer cars.

The Red Bull team boss is convinced selling cars to the small teams, even the midfield runners, will not only reduce costs for everyone but will also mean a more competitive field.

He told the Red Bull website: “If the main target of a cost cap is about being competitive and helping the smaller teams, especially as we come through the current crisis, then I would be fully open to selling our cars at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

“Some people say that customer cars are against F1’s DNA to design and build your own car, well times have changed and we need to find the best way to make the smaller teams competitive and survive the current crisis.

“This approach works well in MotoGP and it could even attract more teams to the grid, which we would all welcome.

“Teams spend fortunes over winter copying others, why not just give them the opportunity to buy last year’s car?

“It would make far more sense for a team to be competitive, rather than spending money developing something if the funds are not there to do so.

“As the business model of the smaller teams evolves and they become more competitive with customer cars, they can bring in increased revenue and then look to build their own cars again.

“I truly believe the customer car solution could help in the short term and should be a serious consideration.

“There has certainly been some opportunism by some teams during the current crisis but I believe we need to look at all options rather than making a knee jerk reaction that could see many jobs lost.

“We should be less obsessed about the cap and more focused on making the sport competitive.”

Horner reckons a budget cap, whatever the limit, is not addressing the problem as teams will always spend the maximum and even more if they can.

“The problem is, so much is made about the figure of the cost cap that I believe it is missing the point,” he added.

“F1 teams will always spend whatever budget they have available to them. Plus an extra 10 percent.

“It is impossible to compare the spending of Ferrari to Haas, of Mercedes to Racing Point or even from Red Bull to AlphaTauri. They are all completely different structures and business models.

“I believe the solution should be looking at what drives those costs up in the first place and that is the R&D cost of building and developing cars in the hope of being competitive.

“I fully support the need to reduce costs and ensure that all 10 teams remain in the sport but there are many ways to accomplish that goal and they are not all just about lowering the cost cap.”

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