F1 panel says no to customer cars

The unofficial news emerging from the F1 Commission on Thursday was the approval of team name changes and the 2012 calendar.

The sources, however, were much quieter about the big-ticket discussion – the speculated liberalisation of the Concorde Agreement to allow the purchase and sale of full ‘customer cars’ between competing teams.

“In general, but not always, when a controversial topic is discussed by the F1 Commission and the result is not immediately made public, then it has not been approved,” wrote Livio Oricchio in his O Estado de S.Paulo column.

Indeed, Italy’s Autosprint – also reporting after the Geneva meeting broke – thinks the most likely outcome for the future is a further tightening of the existing rules, which could endanger partnerships such as the one between McLaren and Force India.

Upon announcing the extension of its partnership with Williams on Thursday, for example, HRT found the need to state explicitly that the gearbox and KERS deal “strictly follows the terms agreed in the Concorde Agreement”.

The two teams “will compete independently in the formula one constructors’ championship”, added the media statement.

Along with Ferrari, one team arguing in favour of customer cars is Toro Rosso, who last year was forced to become a full constructor despite previously enjoying a much closer collaboration with its parent Red Bull Racing.

“The precise cause of this change in regulation (in 2010) is hard to determine,” team boss Franz Tost told Sportwoche.

“Today, we see big corporations working together, which from an economic perspective makes complete sense. But in formula one a close collaboration between teams is not possible, which to me is absolutely the wrong way.”

So for now, enhancing the Red Bull-Toro Rosso relationship will have to be done within the existing limits, with Tost revealing that “in the medium term it is our goal to have the same engine manufacturer (Renault) as Red Bull”.

Currently, Toro Rosso is powered by Ferrari.


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