Horner reiterates call for ‘bold’ customer cars

Date published: May 4 2020

Christian Horner

Christian Horner has urged Formula 1 to “grab the bull by the horns” and introduce customer cars rather than more pink Mercedes cars.

Formula 1 is in the midst of a huge financial crisis, one that could see a team or three drop out of the sport.

The smaller teams believe the best way to prevent this is to lower the budget cap to $145m and then $130m or even drop it as low as $100m.

The sport’s bigger teams aren’t in favour.

Instead Horner has proposed the reintroduction of customer cars, especially as that is pretty much was Racing Point has created this season but at a much higher cost than if they had bought a 2019 Mercedes F1 car.

“Now is the time to be bold,” he told Motorsport.com. “Now is the time to influence change. We can tick off things, but I think you’ve got to grab the bull by the horns, excuse the pun.

“If I was running a smaller team, the fastest way to competitiveness at a cost-effective route would be rather than trying to reverse engineer and copy your supplier team, which is happening in many cases, why not just sell them the whole car that we finish with in Abu Dhabi? Let them have it.

“Then they can operate as a race team, they don’t need all the research and development facilities. It’s the fastest route to competitiveness, and the cheapest route as well. They could operate as a race team with a decent product.

“Plus, if they get the race team together, they could win races. We proved that with Toro Rosso and Sebastian Vettel when we were supplying them effectively a customer car back in 2008.

“But there’s this paranoia about being a constructor and what you’re giving up if you’re not a constructor. It works in other forms of motorsport, in MotoGP. So if you could buy a Mercedes, buy a Ferrari or a Red Bull after Abu Dhabi, why wouldn’t you?”

The Red Bull team boss reckons putting a freeze on development would also be more beneficial to the teams than a lower cap.

“I’m all for saving money and a cap is a reasonable thing, but if you don’t go upstream and stop the flood of water, then you can’t expect the cap to be the dam that captures it all,” he explained.

“It’s very much about cutting off that supply of water upstream.”

He added: “Nothing prepares you for what we’re currently facing and you try and use common sense and use experience to help guide your way through it.

“There are is a few team principals that haven’t been through those kinds of experiences previously, and I think it’s therefore important that the sport leans on the experience of people like, for example, Ross Brawn who’s lived through a crisis of his own with Brawn GP and Honda and so on.

“I think that life experience is invaluable. It is the same for Jean Todt, and I think that it is [about] harnessing that experience.”

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