Red Bull boss Christian Horner has urged Formula 1 to “think out of the box” and believes the introduction of customer cars would help the smaller teams survive the coronavirus crisis.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put the 2020 F1 season in jeopardy with the opening nine races already postponed or cancelled altogether, with no races set to take place before July at the earliest. 

A lack of racing has left F1 in a vulnerable position and resulted in all 10 teams facing a financial squeeze, with a number deciding to furlough staff members in a bid to save costs and ensure their long-term futures.

There is growing concern that F1 could lose as many as four teams if the crisis is not handled correctly. Steps have already been taken, including bringing forward the summer shutdown period and postponing the introduction of major technical rules until 2022, meaning teams will now carry their 2020 cars into 2021.

But Horner reckons more can be done to protect teams and suggested the top teams could supply the smaller outfits with a full customer car for the next two years.

“If we were really serious about reducing the cost, particularly for the small teams, I would be in full favour of supplying for the next two years a full customer car,” Horner is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

“The smaller teams wouldn’t need any R&D. They would run just as race teams and they would reduce their costs enormously.

“With the modern 3D photographic technology all teams utilise they are all trying to copy each other’s cars anyway,” he added.

“Times change, things move. F1 used to have customer cars years ago. You could buy a car from March or from Ferrari and go racing.

“We need to think out of the box rather than just going round and round, beating ourselves up about numbers.

“If this is all about saving the little teams and improving their competitiveness, it would be a very difficult to argue against the logic of a small team being able to take a customer car.”

With race income severely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, Horner is convinced F1’s owners Liberty Media would step in to support struggling teams if needed.

“It could be an enormous blow and at that point the promoter has to decide,” Horner explained.

“It is their business, they have to decide how do they keep these teams alive because they need teams to go racing.

“The Liberty guys would do whatever they can to ensure that 10 teams are on the grid and competing next year.

“In order to protect their own business I believe they would help to facilitate, which means paying, to ensure that those teams would be around to compete next year.”

 

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