McLaren boss Andreas Seidl has expressed concern about teams sharing information and said he wants a grid of “10, 11 or 12 true constructors”.
Teams sharing intellectual property is nothing new in Formula 1 and has become increasingly effective with the budget caps, but not all share ideas.
Aside from taking their engine from Mercedes, McLaren are an independent constructor while Haas and Ferrari’s shared relationship has moved back into the spotlight.
Seidl was asked about relationships between two teams and while he did not comment directly on Ferrari and Haas, he did say it was a “concern” for the Woking-based squad.
“The team are very busy with ourselves this week so I can’t speak specifically about the two cars of Haas and Ferrari for example,” he said as reported by motorsport.com.
“But it’s not a secret that in general, definitely these relationships that can exist within the regulations, how they are in place at the moment is a concern for us.
“That’s why we are definitely of the opinion that moving forward we should put steps in place that F1 is actually a championship again of 10, 11 or 12 true constructors.
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“From our point of view, F1 should be a championship of 10, 11 or 12 teams competing where the only things you should be allowed to share are actually the power units and the gearbox environments. Everything else, you have to do yourself.
“Because we know that soon as you go further you have definitely a change or transfer of IP which is performance-relevant regarding the car, and that’s not what F1 should be about.”
Seidl also said the team were in dialogue with the FIA about the issue.
“That’s why we are also bringing up continuously this topic together with other teams as well that have the same concerns. That’s why we have the dialogue as well with the FIA,” he said.
“And I’m hoping at some point we make steps. Because we accept as well that policing of let’s say where the limit exactly is, this is also a difficult challenge and that’s where the most effective and simplest way forward is to have clear limits of what can be shared.”
The McLaren boss is not the only team principal concerned about the issue. Otmar Szafnauer, who joined Alpine in the off-season, used to be team principal at Aston Martin, who share a wind tunnel with Mercedes but insisted they never traded ideas.
“The worry is those who share wind tunnels can have a coffee together,” he told F1 TV.
“And especially if they are partners and say over coffee ‘how did that go, the latest floor you tried? Don’t go in that direction, not so good’.
“[It] definitely didn’t happen at Aston/Mercedes because we had robust processes in place.
“And we didn’t go and have a coffee with our respective aerodynamicists. But it could happen if aerodynamicists are living in the same place, using the same tunnel, using the same canteen. Because we were only seven miles away down the road, that didn’t happen.
“We got a chance to use a wind tunnel on the weekends and Merc used it during the week. The aerodynamicists didn’t even see each other.”