Red Bull push customer cars as more cost-effective than a budget cap, Haas disagree

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner is continuing his push for customer cars in Formula 1, claiming they're a better cost-saving option than a budget cap.

Due to the financial impact of the coronavirus, the sport is having to make some bold steps to ensure the survival of all 10 teams, including delaying the 2021 regulations and commercial rights holder Liberty Media forwarding prize money payments.

In recent weeks, however, the new budget cap has become front and centre, with a spat breaking out between Ferrari and McLaren as the latter pushes for a cut to just $100m while the other is reluctant to move from the initial $175m figure.

F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn then claimed a $145m compromise had been reached with further $5m reductions in 2022 and 2023 but a final vote from the 10 teams is still pending.

Amid all this, Horner explained why he thinks F1 is misguided in focusing so much on the budget cap.

“So much is made about the figure of the cost cap that I believe it is missing the point,” the Red Bull boss was quoted by The Race.

“F1 teams will always spend whatever budget they have available to them. Plus an extra 10 per cent.

“It is impossible to compare the spending of Ferrari to Haas, of Mercedes to Racing Point or even from Red Bull to AlphaTauri. They are all completely different structures and business models.

“I believe the solution should be looking at what drives those costs up in the first place and that is the R&D cost of building and developing cars in the hope of being competitive.

“I fully support the need to reduce costs and ensure that all 10 teams remain in the sport but there are many ways to accomplish that goal and they are not all just about lowering the cost cap.”

And that is where Horner's customer cars idea comes in, whereby smaller teams could simply buy chassis' from the top teams as they were in the final race of the previous season.

“Some people say that customer cars are against F1’s DNA to design and build your own car, well times have changed and we need to find the best way to make the smaller teams competitive and survive the current crisis," he said in a dig at McLaren and Williams.

“This approach works well in MotoGP and it could even attract more teams to the grid, which we would all welcome.

“I truly believe the customer car solution could help in the short term and should be a serious consideration,” the Red Bull boss added.

“There has certainly been some opportunism by some teams during the current crisis but I believe we need to look at all options rather than making a knee jerk reaction that could see many jobs lost.

“We should be less obsessed about the cap and more focused on making the sport competitive.”

One team who currently run very close to a customer car in Haas, who buy in non-listed parts from Ferrari while outsourcing chassis development to Dallara.

Team boss Guenther Steiner though rejects the idea of simply going all the way, arguing customer cars would keep the smaller teams behind.

“I think the only thing I do understand is if you get a customer car, that’s another way to control the smaller teams," he said. “That is the issue there.

“At the moment I don’t think Formula 1 needs a customer car, something as drastic as a customer car. We should be making it more competitive, not less competitive.

“For someone coming in new I understand it but now you have 10 teams that are all could possibly survive. 10 good teams I would say, they are all managed pretty well.

“We should try to give the smaller teams a bigger chance to compete rather than give them customer cars and be uncompetitive.

“Even if it is cheap it will cost a lot of money.

“Customer cars at the moment are not a good idea. Maybe there will come a day when they are needed but we are not screaming for it.”

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