Formula One diversity under threat from ‘customer’ car ideas

Caterhams 2013 chassis, designed in Hingham and built in Leafield with the help of Renault and Red Bull. Better that than...

Caterhams 2013 chassis, designed in Hingham and built in Leafield with the help of Renault and Red Bull. Better that than a customer car, surely? - Credit: Archant

Formula One is defined by its collection of teams, striving to create a car that can compete, win points and possibly even races. Come the end of each winter, the chance to see exactly how a host of constructors went about solving that year's regulations conundrum as always been exciting stuff.

On the one hand, it provides arguably F1's greatest problem. The chase for performance costs money and at the moment, the budgets of Formula One teams are spiralling out of control. Until budget caps are agreed, that will continue.

Some parts and technologies are shared. In fact, most of the struggling teams have an agreement in place with one of the bigger boys to help them keep costs down.

This can also lead to amusing situations, such as Force India out-performing McLaren earlier in the season – when the latter had been providing all kinds of technological and parts assistance to the Silverstone outfit. In the end, the season has proved both teams haven't been able to cut it.

But there could be something more sinister in the pipeline if the big boys have their way.

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Formula One's new strategy group are meeting to discuss future rule changes – which include listed parts. These are the parts of an F1 car that can be shared between teams. Open this up, and the likes of Ferrari, McLaren et al will be able to sell a whole car to anyone looking to save on all manner of development costs and resources.

Take our own Caterham – why spend all those millions on building your own car that's 1.2 seconds off the midfield pace, when one being sold to you by McLaren will save you the money and may still be closer to the midfield?

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Professional integrity and competitive pride may be reasons why not – but you may need a million more to resist the temptation.

Opening up listed parts wouldn't be good for the sport – but while budgets continue unchecked and without ceiling, the future may decide there will be little choice in the matter.

• It's not the best habit for Formula One to get into – having new tracks built in new places, and only getting a few races out of them before Bernie Ecclestone's attention turns to somewhere else.

The losses sustained by the Korean Grand Prix mean it's only a provisional race on the 2014 calendar, after just four races at the new track.

And while this weekend sees the third Indian Grand Prix, 'logistical' issues mean it won't be on next year's schedule and a 2015 return is far from certain.

Unlike the issues at Mokpo, Delhi has brought fans and atmosphere. It deserves to hang around – and Bernie has a responsibility to help make it a success.

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