Force India unhappy with Customer Car agenda


The Sahara Force India team have revealed their displeasure about what was discussed during the Formula 1 Strategy Group, with manufacturers ignoring the major problem of cost controls to focus on bringing customer cars into the sport.

The team are the only independent team on the F1 Strategy Group, and were there representing themselves and fellow independents Sauber, Lotus and Manor, with all wanting to remain as constructors in their own right rather than be a customer team to a manufacturer.

Deputy Team Principle Bob Fernley revealed the manufacturers were not interested in discussing cost controls or financial equalisation, favouring instead to focus on introducing customer cars and potentially third cars to teams if entry levels drop.

“There was no interest at all from the manufacturer teams in discussing anything to do with cost controls or more equitable income distribution,” said Fernley to Motorsport.com. “It was completely abandoned in favour of the customer cars.

“In some ways it makes things abundantly clear where F1 is going. We’ve suspected that customer cars were wanted for quite some time, but this is the first time that it’s really moving through as the only alternative as far as the manufacturer teams are concerned.

“It’s not finalised as to what the package is, but there’s a clear process that’s going to happen now. If any teams fail, the manufacturer teams will run a third car, and in the meantime they will get on with putting together a proposal and a format for customer cars.

“Their intention would be to give the independent teams first refusal on those to see if they want to switch from being a constructor to a customer car team.

“However there will be significant downsides to that, as you can imagine. But the devil will be in the detail. In the mean time we’ve got to determine the direction that we want to go on in and look at how we protect our position.”