The customer chassis issue is still on-going, as you’d expect, but there has been some more news recently regarding the future of the customer chassis, the rule change for 2008 and some more opinions from Formula One controllers.
The issue revolves around another team using an identical chassis to another team. Currently, each squad must design and build their own car. Naturally, with the constraints put in place with the Technical Regulations, some chassis tend to look similar, but they rarely are the same. However, the introduction of Super Aguri and Toro Rosso as B-Teams to Honda and Red Bull respectively, this current rule has been bent, allegedly. Spyker have taken the issue to arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce, and the result of which is still pending. At the recent Bahrain Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone met with the team principals to try to organise a compromise for now, which would probably revolve around the ‘infringing’ teams being allowed to race, but would not receive points towards the constructors championship. According to Bernie, he’s still working on it.
So while that pot gently simmers away, FIA president Max Mosley has chipped in his thoughts on everything, and has clarified his position regarding the rules for 2008. Mosley has insisted that teams may run identical chassis to another team next year, as this allows lesser teams to enter and compete in Formula One. It has become increasingly difficult for private teams to compete with the big manufacturers, and allowing this rule change will enable a little more stability and maybe even improved competition in the sport.
Max has also stated that a change in definition for the term constructor is on the cards, and Mosley has hinted that there will be different commercial benefits and better clarification between a constructor and an entrant.
In 2007, there is a dispute about what the Concorde Agreement means and it is right and proper that if there is a dispute it should go to arbitration. In the end in 2008, it won’t be a problem.
There are all sorts of commercial discussions going on but, to me, it’s self evident that Formula One hasn’t got enough money for 12 different teams to have 12 research and development programmes, 12 wind tunnels, 12 organisations getting on for 1,000 employees (each). That means you either have ‘customer cars’ or you have people struggling at the back of the grid being lapped four times in the race. To me it’s obvious you should have the customer cars. Max Mosley.
This argument will undoubtedly go on and on, and merely changing rules and definitions will not be enough to keep loud voices at bay. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Max and Bernie need to work with the teams and the fans to improve the sport.”