Ross Brawn has called upon rival teams to stop asking for “favours” before helping Renault and Team Lotus to change their names for 2012.
Because name changes are generally frowned upon by the sport’s officials, the Renault/Lotus issue has been referred to a meeting of the F1 Commission early next month. But Mercedes team boss Brawn suggested it is not right that rival teams have a say.
The Briton told reporters that one “unfortunate (thing) about Formula One” is that motives are not always pure.
“Unfortunately, if it becomes a trading position – and I guarantee those teams that are trying to change their name will have had approaches from other teams who want different favours paid in order to agree to the name change – that’s not correct,” he said.
As team principal, Brawn negotiated the change of Mercedes’ name from Brawn GP after the German carmaker bought his Brackley based team.
“I know that (teams asking for favours) happened to us when we wanted to change our name,” he revealed. “People sought to get favours from that decision. (But) it needs to be done in an adult way and not used in a divisive way.”
McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh agrees.
“I recall when there was a desire to change the (Brawn) team name to Mercedes, how a number of people conspired against that, which was a ridiculous position to take and very damaging to the sport,” he said.
“As Ross said, if (a team comes) up with a clearly silly, divisive name or a name that’s damaging to formula one, then we should be able to use good judgement to prevent it.
“But if it’s clear that the name change facilitates the funding and the retention of that team, then we shouldn’t use the polemics and politics of formula one to prevent it,” he added.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner agreed that F1 has to be “a little bit careful” when agreeing to team name changes because the sport needs to be able to consistently market its brands.
But on the other hand, “it doesn’t make any sense for a team to be called Renault when it isn’t Renault, therefore a name change in a situation like that makes sense”, he said.
Similarly, Whitmarsh agrees that “for there to be two Lotus teams doesn’t seem very sensible”.