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`Customer car` debate returns after Monza.


Sebastian Vettel's Italian Grand Prix victory for Scuderia Toro Rosso may have been a fairy-tale for a sport in turmoil over protests and tainted in recent years by espionage and intrigue, but it reignited another issue that had been quietly 'bubbling under'.

With Super Aguri long gone from Formula One after failing to keep up with the financial requirements of life in the top flight, Toro Rosso remains as the sole runner using equipment supplied by an outside agency. But, despite its Minardi underpinnings and the - now oft corrected - perception of it as a minnow, the Italian team is beginning to ruffle feathers off the track as well as on it as the 'customer car' row flickers back into life.

Opinion at Friday's press conference in Singapore was divided between those, admittedly with a vested interest, who felt that, in the current economic climate especially, third parties should be able to provide cars for willing entrants, and others who felt that their long-standing position as constructors was being jeopardised by the arrangement.

"As an independent constructor, we looked on [at Monza] with great feelings," Williams CEO Adam Parr admitted magnanimously, "You cannot take away from [STR] what they achieved over the weekend - and congratulations to them. I think what it means for us is simply that we have to do the things that we do better. [It wasn't] a great take away from that weekend, but we have got to do better."

Williams, however, has been in Formula One for a long time - it celebrated its 500th grand prix on the same weekend as Toro Rosso took its maiden win - and has seen both sides of the coin when it comes to the highs and lows of Formula One. Through it all, however, it has remained a steadfast believer in the fact that the sport should be constructor-led, without the recourse for smaller teams to buy 'off the shelf' machinery and operate on far smaller budgets.

"We take our hats off to Gerhard and his team for what they did over that weekend and we had an opportunity to beat them, let's face it, and we didn't and so that's our problem," Parr continued, "In the longer term, however, we believe that customer cars have no place in Formula One.

"It's ultimately a design and engineering challenge as well as a racing challenge, and we believe that is the reason, for example, why this [Singapore] event is going to be so incredible. There is no other motorsport series in the world that could do what we're going to do here this weekend, and that's been built on the back of not just teams like Williams, but many teams. There are 53 teams since 1970 that have tried to design a chassis and compete in Formula One and have failed, which is nine out of every ten teams that have tried.

"I think that what we are doing here this weekend is built on a lot of history, and we passionately believe that that is the way forward for Formula One. Because of our respect for Gerhard and Red Bull, and what they put into the sport, we've agreed an arrangement for this [customer car] period which is temporary but, in the longer term, we must go back to being a sport of constructors. That's our view."

With both Toro Rosso team boss Gerhard Berger and Red Bull Racing principal Christian Horner sharing the dais, however, Parr was always likely to face an opposing view.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Toro Rosso STR03, Italian F1 Grand Prix, Monza, 12th-14th, September, 2008
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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dokey - Unregistered

September 27, 2008 1:00 PM

At the end of the day we all want to see cars on the track racing a full grid would be great for the sport. Why cant F1 have two championships one for customer cars the other for manufactures and the same for drives they do same in other forms of motor sport ie this years car and then 1 year old cars why not F1 As the article states most race fans dont care how may wind tunnels you run they just want to see great racing with overtaking allowed HI

rip - Unregistered

September 27, 2008 3:33 PM

Williams makes good points, but I know this: F1 is usually very boring racing with incredible machinery. Indy Car consistently puts on the best oval racing and decent road course racing with one engine and a few chassis. And this is from someone who despises Tony George and his League.



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