F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that teams new to F1 should be given the opportunity to run a 'customer car' before switching focus to building cars themselves.

Since joining the grid, Caterham, HRT and Marussia have all struggled to get up to speed although Caterham have closed the gap to rival teams noticeably and go into the new season with a realistic chance of fighting with the teams in the midfield.

By contrast, HRT and Marussia will go into 2012 having only completed a filming day on track and with no proper testing programme completed, with Ecclestone suggesting that one option would be to allow teams towards the rear of the field to run cars from the previous years.

"If we reduce the necessity to spend to be competitive they may well become competitive," he told Sky Sports News. "So that's what we have to do - we have to find that way. What I've been proposing is, perhaps, some of the teams at the bottom end of the grid should be able to run last year's constructor's car.

"So one of the other teams that you mentioned (HRT and Marussia) could run last year's McLaren, or last year's Red Bull, for three years until they get themselves together and then they have to go back to be a constructor."

Ecclestone said such a move would be to try and help make the transition into F1 easier for prospective teams.

"The point is you don't have to bring the cost down to suit the people that can't really afford to spend as much as they (the established teams) do," he said. "You have to make sure that the regulations are such that it's not going to harm them."

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