Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insists that F1 shouldn't rule out the possibility of customer cars being introduced in future, with it being the 'most logical way to reduce costs' for teams competing in the sport.
The issue of customer cars is one that has been mentioned numerous times in the past, with a number of the smaller teams on the grid having signalled their opposition given it could give their direct opposition a performance boost.
Speaking in India ahead of this weekend's Grand Prix, Horner insisted that the sport should remain open-minded about the possibility of customer cars being introduced, and that it shouldn't just be dismissed out of hand.
“It's an interesting debate, really, because if you look at costs and the cost drivers in Formula One, the necessity to have four or five hundred people in order to even compete is, in all reality, too high,” he said. “Now if you're just looking at it from a pure cost point of view, the most logical way to take out a huge amount of cost would be to sell a car or a year-old car in its entirety.
“Whether that goes against the grain of what a constructor should be and is in current Formula One is a separate debate. But if you are absolutely transfixed on saving costs, it is, without a shadow of a doubt the most effective way to reduce costs. Whether it's the right thing to do is obviously another questions. Inevitably there is going to be a lot of debate about it and it's something that, as a sport, we need to be open-minded to.”
Despite Horner's viewpoint however, rival team bosses took a different view, with Mercedes boss Ross Brawn saying that his team isn't 'particularly enamoured with the idea of customer cars' and would instead prefer to work on reducing the base cost of cars and Lotus chief Eric Boullier insisting that his personal view was that customer cars were 'against the DNA of Formula One'.
As one such team who could be affected if customer cars were introduced, Force India's Vijay Mallya also insisted he would be opposed to any move.
“As far as Sahara Force India
is concerned, we are completely opposed to the even the concept of customers cars,” he said. “Let's just go back to the days when FOTA functioned as a comprehensive, cohesive unit. One of the key elements of the FOTA discussions was how to reduce the costs in Formula One for everybody. But then some of the big teams refused to reduce their costs, and as a result of which the whole resource restriction element went out of the window.
“Now to try to address lowering of costs through a radical customer car concept is ridiculous in my view. What happens to the smaller teams that have factories, that employ hundreds of people and who are effectively running companies. You can't just discard everything and just buy a one-year old car from an established team and go motor racing. I think that affects the total DNA of Formula One from the day it was started.”