Customer Cars, Prodrive, Super Aguri, Toro Rosso And Ralf

So after wenting my disapointment with the latest issue of the F1 racing magazine I actually flipped the pages and read some stuff. There is an article on the customer cars issue and it is quite surprising that not much of what is said in there surfaced on the web so far.

So  what is it that F1 Racing has learnt ?

There has been a meeting among the team principals on Saturday morning of the Brazilian GP at which Bernie said the following:

“It suited us (Bernie, Max) two years ago to foster and develop the idea  of customer cars. But we don’t like the idea any more so I don’t think it’s going to happen.”


Frank Williams must have been delighted to hear that. On the other hand a statement like that effectively kills of any chances for Prodrive to make it to the 2008 grid. Moreover Toro Rosso and Super Aguri would find it quite difficult to continue with their customer car ideas. According to F1 Racing these 2 teams were given 2 years grace period to continue with present arrangements after all the teams agreed. By 2010 however they will have to come up with their own cars. What the “present arrangements” means in reality is not clear. Toro Rosso used in 2007 season Red Bull’s 2007 car fitted with Ferrari engine, so they could use 2008 Red Bull car next year. Super Aguri however were given 1 year old Honda this year. If this is considered a “present arrangement”, then Super Aguri will have to use this year Honda in 2008… And if that car comes with Rubens Barrichello as a free gift Super Aguri … nice prospects for the coming season… They can at least hope they would be allowed to repaint the car :-)

Joking aside the teams allegedly also agreed on new revenue sharing system. Not only the Top 10 teams but or 11 should share the FOM revenue money. The top ten will get less and the 11th will get something instead of nothing. The Force India (aka Spyker) are reported to be the only team not in agreement. They are probably confident that they will not be the last on the grid next year …

While I think these may be sensible solutions something does not smell right in all this. First of all, F1 circles are not exactly known for making sensible decisions. Also it is difficult to believe that all the teams with so many different views and interests would come to so complex agreements that easy and in a course of one meeting on the race weekend Saturday morning. And even if all this is actually true, it is quite puzzling that has been pretty much zero information about this on the web so far. It has been almost 3 weeks since the Brazilian GP …

There is also nothing said about Prodrive. I may be getting ahead of myself but I do not see them making it on the grid next year. So what next then ? Will they be penalized for not appearing in 2008 ? Or will they be compensated instead for the change of the rules that prevented them from entering ? Will they get extra time to adjust to the new situation or will there be new application and selection process for the 12th team on the grid ?

And how does ralf Schumacher fit into all this ? Well, if indeed this really has taken part, he will be one of the disapointed parties. His masterplan to get Ferrari to supply Force India with customer cars and getting the race seat in one of them in return will not work now (source our beloved F1 Racing magazine). Toro Rosso has turned him down, McLaren does not want him, Super Aguri may have to take Rubens and Vijay Mallya is going to use brain instead of heart when selecting his drivers. He can’t expect anybody to repat Toyota’s blunder and again pay the big bucks for the wrong Schumacher … He is out …

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    Indeed. It is not a good time to be Ralf.

    But then, when was it ever?

    I suppose the whole customer car thing swings on whether you watch F1 for the drivers or the technology. There’s plenty of drivers I’d like to see in F1 and not enough teams to take them all, so I suppose logically that means I’m in favour of anything that makes it easier to set up a new team.

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