Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has revealed that during F1’s COVID-19 crisis talks he tabled the idea of allowing customer cars in Grand Prix racing as a cost-effective solution for teams impacted by the sport’s economic downturn.
The onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on F1 prompted Liberty Media and the FIA to introduce a series of measures to protect the immediate future of Grand Prix racing.
In agreement with the sport’s teams, a regulation freeze for 2021 and restrictions on development were adopted in addition to a lowering of F1’s budget cap threshold for next year from $175m to $145m.
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During the talks on the cost saving measures destined to stem F1’s downturn which took place during the sport’s recent hiatus, Binotto suggested a customer-car scheme based on MotoGP’s concept of satellite teams, but the idea failed to gain traction with Ferrari’s rivals or the FIA.
“On what should be the future, during the COVID period discussions, as Ferrari, we brought at least as a proposal to consider customer [teams from] the big teams, as we got eventually in MotoGP,” Binotto said, quoted by Motorsport.com.
“But that proposal was pushed back I think by the entirety of the teams, of F1, of the FIA, which we fully understand. I think that has been a decision which we all took together”
Although the idea originated from Ferrari, Binotto believes teams should remain independent and manage their own concepts and development, unlike Racing Point whose controversial RP20 was blatantly copied from Mercedes 2019 car.
Renault has protested the team’s ‘pink Mercedes’ and the outcome will likely help define or clarify exactly how much of a design can be sourced from a partner team.
“Each single team should be independent. They should be capable of doing their own proper developments,” Binotto said.
“I think they’ve got the means now with the new Concorde Agreement, and the regulations are sufficiently clear to do that. It would be great to have 10 teams, 10 different cars, on the grid.”
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