Timo Glock, Fernando Alonso, Singapore, 2009

F1 warned not to lose independent teams

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Timo Glock, Fernando Alonso, Singapore, 2009In the round-up: Formula One’s manufacturers teams are warned not to jeopardise the future of the sport by squeezing out independents.

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Big F1 teams must make customer case (Autosport)

"When Renault pulled out, Gerard Lopez stepped in as an independent and saved the day for that team. When Toyota pulled out everything was lost."

Romain Grosjean determined not to be an F1 'nearly man' (ESPN)

"In 2013 we were the two that everybody was talking about and he was doing a good job at Sauber and I was doing a good job at Lotus, but then we both had difficult years and of course you are no longer on the front page of the newspaper."

Magnussen ‘trusts’ McLaren to look after career (Crash)

"I believe McLaren will take care of my career, no matter what. It's not that I'm only gunning for the McLaren drive, of course I'm doing that as well. If there's no vacancy here together with Ron, Eric and my management I'll look for something else."

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Paul Hembery, Maurizio Arrivabene, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2015

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Guan Yu Zhou, Italian F4, Monza, 2015

In only his third weekend in a racing car, Ferrari’s 16-year-old Chinese junior driver Guan Yu Zhou swept the board in the Italian F4 round at Monza, winning all three races. This was his tiny margin of victory in the first – a mere 0.023 seconds over Robert Schartzmann.

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On this day in F1

The Spanish Grand Prix, held at Jarama on this day 35 years ago, was run as a non-championship race due to a row between the manufacturer-run teams aligned to the sport’s governing body, and the other teams aligned to Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Constructors’ Association. Only teams from the latter took part, leading FISA president Jean-Marie Balestre to strip the race of its championship status. Alan Jones won for Williams.

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  • 36 comments on “F1 warned not to lose independent teams”

    1. In terms of B teams, customer cars, etc. Why we are even in this situation where these are being considered is absurd. What they need to be doing is looking at the cause of this situation, and overcome that from the base, rather than looking at ways to avoid the problem.

      It doesn’t take a genius to know that a cracked wall won’t be repaired by painting over it.

      1. Comment of the Year! Well said! This going around from the Strategic Group+Bernie+FIA just shows laziness and small thinking, at least for the outside world.

      2. I’ve just realised I don’t care anymore, guess there is a limit to how long you can keep hoping for a return to basics to get back what has been lost.

        1. Haha, join the club. I’ve been like that for the last two years.

          Maybe that’s why I hardly comment or vote on things that have to do with the current “crisis” in F1 it’s just the same again and again: tyres, customer cars, noise, slow cars, money… It does get boring after a while.

        2. And I thought I was alone. Seems more and more people don’t care anymore. I’m waiting for the fall then the reboot.

          1. Well said. I feel the same. Power off…..wait a couple of minutes….reboot. But that won’t happen until Bernie is gone.

      3. You are absolutely right. Although when you are on 1 side of the wall and on the other there is a massive body of water I would do anything to keep my feet dry.

    2. It’s absurd that it has taken so long to even seriously consider customer cars as they have always been a part of F1 and only disappeared after the FOCA/FISA wars. It is the only way the small teams are ever going to get anything from the bigger teams in terms of equalization. Sriously, why knock yourself out to build your own car and finish 8th in the Championship when you can buy the same result for a third of the cost. The small teams will never, ever amount to and/or beat the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes or Red Bull.

      1. Of course small teams won’t win. The idea is that small teams become big teams, eventually. A small team starts their own thing, then a big group comes along and buys the whole deal, paints the car a new color and hires new people to design it and before you know it, Jaguar is Red Bull or BAR is Mercedes.

        1. pxcmerc (@)
          1st June 2015, 3:26

          I think these two comments underscore the philosophical dilemma that is at the heart of an entertainment complex like F1. One commenter believes that it is inevitable that the major factories will over power more independent teams. Another view sees hope in an independent team like RBR actually having a chance to challenge the big auto interests in F1.

          BTW, who were winning before the factories got the rules changed significantly? F1 needs to ditch “factory teams” concept if you ask me. Independent “manufacturers” with a larger latitude for risk taking and design opportunity, not this shooting fish in a barrel idea. If you build a motor for more than one team, you cannot sponsor any team, as that would lead to a definite CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

          1. @pcxmerc

            BTW, who were winning before the factories got the rules changed significantly? F1 needs to ditch “factory teams” concept if you ask me.

            As far as I know there’s no “factory team concept” – factory teams are nothing more than teams run and/or owned by car manufacturers, or whose engines are developed by the same people who own it, and that between such teams and teams that don’t there exists no distinctions in the rulebook.

            If you build a motor for more than one team, you cannot sponsor any team, as that would lead to a definite CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

            Why? How would a ban like that help with anything?

            1. Ferrari and Mercedes are the two “factory teams” the rest of the manufacturers currently use factory power units, which puts them in a conflict of interest as they race against a parent company. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that this never works out for the smaller teams in MotoGP, especially after the control tire narrowed the diversity even further.

              manufacturers SHOULD be separate competitors, not controlling interests in F1. You add a rule that freezes the top three manufacturer’s in F1 every year for one year, and loosen up regulations regarding engine specs/etc… and you take care of a lot of problems, and open the door for a lot more competition.

      2. The small teams will never, ever amount to and/or beat the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes or Red Bull.

        With the exception of Ferrari, all of those teams were once small teams, yet they all became big multi-championship winning teams.
        It doesn’t feel like that long ago when Red Bull were the new boys with most people claiming they’d never beat the likes of McLaren & Ferrari while Mercedes were just an engine supplier with no intentions of entering as a manufacturer – fast forward to today and they’ve got six WDC & WCC titles between them and have well and truly beat the likes of Ferrari and McLaren.

        Even Minardi managed to win a race and Jordan had a couple of seasons were they gave the big teams a good challange for the titles on less than half of the big team’s budgets.

        No one stays at the top forever !

        1. Red Bull once small then got big with huge investment, same for current Mercedes and any other. Customer cars allow teams to stay in F1 in the hope that a huge budget can come their way then they have the potential to move up. If Bill Gates put loads of money into Manor they would challenge the top 4 teams in a few years. No team becomes big without huge investment in any major sport in the modern age, look at football, Basketball, Le Mans etc.

          1. That didn’t work for Toyota.

        2. Minardi never won a race, unfortunately…

          1. @fernanzazpi @beneboy – “Minardi” won a race in 2008, like how “Honda” and “Jaguar” won the last 6 constructors championships ;)

            1. I don’t agree with that, since TR was a RBR ‘b’ spec team those years… Very different than Minardi.

    3. The thing that worries me about Grosjean and Hulkenberg is that, if they struggled to get a competitive car and are now stuck in midfield cars with little prospect to improve their position and join a better team with a better car (and I suppose as years go by even their place at their current teams will be questioned asweññ), imagine what the future lays for Magnussen, or Sainz or Verstappen. And even Stoffel Vandoorne, who’s not even debuted yet, but which seat is available for him?

      So many development programmes and so little room for all those guys. And that’s something that should also be used as argument against B teams.

      B teams might be good for filling up grid slots but how useful are they when the A team has a star lineup, still hungry for sucess? if the B team cannot properly compete because the A team is in the way, and the A team drivers have no short term plans to move (and if they move it’ll be to another A team, so the problem applies to the other A and B team), those guys at the B team will be stuck there forever and they’ll be replaced by two new youngsters.

      Sainz is beating Max so far, and Max himself looks like a good prospect aswell. But how is Red Bull going to help them later on? they have Ricciardo and Kvyat. And even if Danil is not doing as expected (or it could be the car), yeah, that’s one seat. Not two.

      They cannot stay in Toro Rosso for too long. There are other guys waiting aswell. And if they stay, those other guys will be stuck!

      It’s a painful traffic jam of drivers. I think B teams do a lot more harm to the drivers than anything else.

      1. @fer-no65 Yes, the problem is F1 is not charity and not all driver can compete in it. For all people who think Hulkenberg, Grosjean, Magnussen don’t have a chance because we have smaller grid, the fact is they are not good enough for a top team. Why pick them when Hamilton, Rosberg, Alonso, Button, Vettel, Raikkonen are still available and better than them? If they are that good, team boss will do anything to get them into. Hamilton wins Ron support way early in his career. Peter Sauber do anything to get Raikkonen his super licence, and 1 year later Ron doing what he do to get Kimi to McLaren. Helmut Marko offering instant F1 drive for Verstappen just to get him from Mercedes development program.

        This is the same situation as other competitive sport. If your local hometown team dont make it to major league, then they are not good enough to enter. Or if you don’t get picked to compete in olympics than someone is better than you in your country. Same with F1, if you don’t get the drive then you are not in the top [seat available – pay driver] driver list. If you in F1 but don’t get into top team then you not in the [top team seat avaiable] list.

      2. It was ever so, being very good does not automatically get you into F1 and the chance for a $30million paycheck, not even being outstanding will guarantee that, in nearly all forms of sport there are amateurs on the sidelines with exceptional talent but no fame or glory, often due to factors beyond their control but mainly because they have not single-mindedly pursued that fame and glory from an early age. Those that have made it into F1 are the lucky ones, but obtaining a championship worthy drive can be as hard as getting into F1 in the 1st. place.

      3. Maybe if it was harder, we would be seeing only great drivers being successful. Nowadays experience, skills don’t count for much. Everyone can learn enough to get by. There is no such this as good qualifiers. Back in the day, they would be upto half a sec faster than an ordinary qualifier. Now if you don’t make a mistake difference is 0.2 sec btw teammates. All drivers are driving within themselves. So in the end, those great drivers are lowered to the levels of the good drivers. Now we see those great guys and ordinary drivers doing the same lap times, and sometimes they are even faster because they are not as aggressive or things like that. It is a completely different formula now.

    4. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      1st June 2015, 2:45

      Just a couple of lines… Sainz Jr came in a sponsored event to make a demonstration run here in Lima. I know these events have the intention to lure more people into the sport, and it’s good to have them. Even more, I wish more teams would make events like this in my country. But I think the media coverage, and maybe the main sponsor itself (in this case Red Bull) need to organize these events a little better. THe host, a known TV presenter here, famous for fun family competition games, was definitely NOT the person who should have been in charge of presenting the car. Why? Because he said things like “This car can go as fast as 380kph (!) and said “You are watching the champion Sainz Jr (!!). Then he corrected himself, to say the cars can only run until 300kph (!!!).
      In addition (and maybe it’s my national press the one who should be in charge of this) people are mainly unaware of how F1 is running nowadays. A man told me “he was happy Hamilton won his 2nd championship in his great McLaren, and that now McLaren is the strongest team”. Another one told me “Ferrari is going down” and “Vettel became champion at 20 years old LAST YEAR”.
      I could finally engage conversation with people who knew what they were saying, but it was quite hard to find in the crowd a person who knew at least the basics (and the truth) about current F1.
      PS: @keithcollantine I was trying, many times, to create a new topic in the forums section, but something is avoiding it to happen. Could you check it please?

      1. @omarr-pepper

        To be honest, that sounds like a regular day in the life of Germany’s F1 commentators.
        Did you know that Michael Schumacher was the first Ferrari champion since Jodie Foster? :D

    5. Yes, action must be taken to stop a monopoly of bigger players from forming … for the good of the whole sport!

      1. I think the horse already bolted there…

    6. The F4 looked tasty. Go on you zoo!

    7. I normally agree with Bob Fearnley, but I can’t get on board with customer cars. Sure, there were many customer teams in the 50’s and three cars ran as late as the 1985. But, Formula 1 is in its 66th season and and 1985 is thirty seasons ago so I no longer consider 3 cars to be in the sports DNA. I think they set a dangerous precedent in current F1. Bigger teams should be able to sell on parts where the technology makes no sense to competitively develop but come short of supplying the complete package. This would help smaller teams on cost and would also make F1 a bit less daunting to a new entrant. I appreciate Gene Hass and his detailed, respectful approach to the challenges of F1 but would greatly prefer to see them on the grid now.

      B teams would also discourage large manufacturers given that customer B teams are effectively four car A teams to me. Would the B teams only be allowed to develop internally within their own constraints? If not, then they ARE four car A teams. Would they be eligible for points? If they are, then the McLaren-Honda project would be coming, most likely, 4 places lower. Hardly a great incentive for a company, is it? I like the relationship McLaren had with Force India a couple of years ago and understand why Vijay Mallya wants success to be independent.

      The solution to me is to reduce costs across the board and be able to give teams on lower budgets some aerodynamic freedom and a guarantee of an engine deal. If we have too many B teams when an A team packs up then the grid lose 2 teams now. In the unlikely scenario of losing 2 then 8 teams would go. That is pretty much the current grid now!

      Politically, we need separate agendas to break the mould of the manufacturers at the top of the sport. I think F1 had it pretty right on this matter in the early 90s until costs ran amok. We need 30 cars competing for 26 spots most weekends. I’d greatly prefer if they had 15 different voices too.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        1st June 2015, 9:01

        @rbalonso, Actually Bob Fearnley is making quite a compelling case AGAINST customer cars.

        I agree with you F1 should not have customer cars and discourage B teams. 13 independent teams with racing blood running throgh their veins would be the best. I always feels sorry for hard working teams which only make it to 27th during Q (that does not happen in football).

        PS – the only exception to customer teams could be a new team being allowed to acquire some basic parts of a big team during the first 1-2 years to get started (Haas might have competed 1 season earlier like that).

      2. It amazes me when people call for reduced costs in F1 but in the same breath say they need freedom to develop x or y. The less freedom one has to develop a part the less it costs. We need tight rules to reduce costs, more standard parts and a better distribution of money to lower teams to ensure a full grid.

        1. Wooolfy, I think you misunderstand how design works. If the rules are as tight as possible then, as has been proven over and over, whoever spends the most money and attacks the problem from the most angles wins. Once a team dominates it becomes increasing more difficult to catch them and we end up with whitewash championships like 09,11,13,14 and 15. Opening up the regulations to smaller teams allows them a larger scope where physics proves there will be an aerodynamic and hence, performance advantage. Personally, I am in favour of the unpopular cost cap purely because I think it is a colossal waste of £1B for 4 teams to race 19 times each with only one winner. Limiting the budget of the large teams offers parity and they would still be able sell on parts increasing their allowances. Their would be more onus on sponsorship and rules could be applied concerning maximum payment from each, all but eliminating pay drivers. With lower costs, and teams knowing they have half a chance to compete when they enter, more drivers on the fringes would have seats. But, tighter rules are certainly not the way to go.

    8. To Grosjean an Hulkenberg, I will give the example of Jenson Button. Jenson became a star quite soon. However, with the Williams contract row an prolonged Schumacher dominance, he was soon upstaged by Alonso, Montoya, Kimi as the ‘drivers to watch out for’. A couple of years in the wilderness and then came along Brawn and the epic 2009 campaign. He is now back on the list of top F1 drivers.

      So, anything can happen. One shouldn’t lose hope.

      1. Hulkenberg should try to get into the WEC asap. His time at F1 will never come, same for Grosjean. There are already better rookies waiting and the top seats aren’t going to be empty any time soon.

    9. Zhou had a stellar weekend at Monza. Good to see a talented Chinese driver in junior formulae.

      1. @keithcollantine It’s ‘Shwartzman’, not ‘Schwartzmann’.

    10. I don’t support B teams. The teams need to build own f1 car, otherwise they will become a testing team.

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