One of the most highly charged and controversial lingering issues on the F1 agenda – namely whether major teams should be permitted to sell so-called ‘customer cars’ – to the smaller independent entrants – will be high on the agenda of this week’s Formula Commission meeting which is scheduled to take place in Geneva on Thursday.
It has long been a central tenet of the F1 business that any competitor wanting to compete in the world championship should design and build their own car, even though that has been diluted somewhat by Red Bull supplying technology to their associates at Scuderia Torro Rosso and McLaren providing collaboration to both the Force India and Virgin outfits.
However, back in the 1970s independent ‘customer cars’ were a regular feature of the F1 landscape – Frank Williams, for example, reinventing his team in 1977 with a private March 761 chassis – and some top teams would like them to reappear.
Williams fielded a customer March chassis in 1977
It is understood that topics included on the agenda in Geneva include discussing the precise definition of a ‘constructor’ along with a debate about whether the placement of staff at other teams could give rise to an illegal sharing of ‘confidential intellectual property.’
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh insisted, however, that the scope of the partnerships between McLaren Applied Technologies and the Force India and Virgin Racing teams were totally within the terms of the Concorde Agreement.