F1

Chassis sharing row rumbles on

Chassis sharing row rumbles on

The dispute about customer cars, or chassis sharing, is still rumbling on and eponymous team boss Frank Williams has made it clear that he does not think it is legal. Toro Rosso and Super Aguri are reported to be basing their 2007 cars on ...

The dispute about customer cars, or chassis sharing, is still rumbling on and eponymous team boss Frank Williams has made it clear that he does not think it is legal. Toro Rosso and Super Aguri are reported to be basing their 2007 cars on developments of the Red Bull RB3 and the Honda RA106 respectively and they believe what they are doing is permitted within the regulations.

Sir Frank Williams.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Under those regulations a team has to build its own chassis. The FIA rules state that if a team owns the intellectual property rights to a car and the parts for that car are not made by a rival constructor of F1 cars, that is within the rules. Apparently Toro Rosso and Super Aguri source their parts from independent companies.

The other teams appear to be divided in regard to whether customer cars are a good or bad thing but Williams and Spyker have voiced their disapproval. "I am adamantly opposed to chassis sharing and we at Williams do not believe it is legal under the current rules," Williams said, according to the UK's Guardian newspaper.

"We are what you might call a traditionalist racing team which believes that we are out there competing for two world championships, one for the best driver in the world and one for the constructor who builds the best car in the world. As far as I'm concerned it is absolutely in the regulations in black and white that every team must make its own chassis."

Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger and Super Aguri managing director Daniel Audetto have both claimed that they are not breaking the rules. Berger said that if other teams intend to take legal action that is up to them and it is for the FIA to decide, not Toro Rosso's rivals. Bernie Ecclestone is reported to have tried to find a compromise in the row but has yet to find an acceptable solution.

Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds and BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen have expressed their doubts about customer cars -- Theissen fears the bigger manufacturers would end up controlling the grid -- whereas Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey believes it's good for the smaller teams to have access to more competitive machinery.

For the moment Toro Rosso and Super Aguri can run whatever chassis they want in winter testing so, unless a compromise is found, it could be that the legality of their cars may not be decided until they are presented for scrutineering at the first race in Melbourne.

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