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New F1 team boss: "F1 in a muddle" as to what being a 'constructor' means

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New F1 team boss: "F1 in a muddle" as to what being a 'constructor' means
Jul 11, 2015, 12:04 AM

There has been some controversy around the new US based F1 team that is set to enter F1 next season in a technical collaboration with Ferrari, but ...

There has been some controversy around the new US based F1 team that is set to enter F1 next season in a technical collaboration with Ferrari, but team owner Gene Haas has said that F1 is in a "muddle" as to what being a constructor actually means.

Ferrari's rivals are grumbling about way the Italian outfit is using the freedom from regulation allowed to a new team, that is not yet competing in the championship. At the same time applauding the ingenuity of the scheme, which means that many hours of CFD and wind tunnel work have been completed at Maranello in Haas' name, which rivals believe Ferrari has benefitted from. F1 regulations strictly limit the hours an existing team can use each week.

But speaking at the FIA Sports Conference week in Mexico City, Haas said that the sport needs to take a look at what being a constructor actually means. His co-constructor model has many fans among the smaller teams and is a simple version of a concept originally put forward by Sauber and Force India as a way forward which would avoid customer cars.

"I think there is a lot of muddle in terms of what is a constructor," said Haas. "As soon as you buy your first bolt you’re no longer 100 per cent a constructor. Apart from two teams that I know of, everybody else buys engines and transmissions from other suppliers.

"All the teams are having customer cars, it’s just to what percentage. I think that Formula One is a little bit unique in that everybody believes that Formula One are unique constructors but when you start looking behind the scenes the reality is it’s not such a black and white line, it’s more in the middle."

Gene Haas

As high costs and mismatched prize money distribution continue to threaten the survival of smaller teams in F1, they fear that the top teams and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone have an agenda to make them use customer cars purchased from the top teams. This would save a lot of money, but they would lose their identity and the value of their entry in the championship.

The full co-constructor model would see teams like Haas collaborate on more parts of the car than are permitted at the moment. The so called 'listed parts' in the regulations restricts the amount of areas a team can buy from another.

Haas, like several other teams, would like to increase the possibilities, so they could have a hand in building their car, but at the same time avoid employing specialists in specific areas of construction and save cost. The core intellectual property of the chassis and the ability to develop some bodywork would be the extent of what a co-constructor would need to do themselves.

"Right now the rules don’t allow us (to do that) so that’s obviously something we're not going to do," said Haas. "I think we have to learn. I think there has to be a reason for Ferrari to want to help us.

"Maybe this is a new model. Why should a bigger team help a smaller team? There has to be some sympathetic relationship there where one benefits from the other. In most situations now with the way it’s written there is no real benefit for a bigger team to help a smaller team, so they don’t. "

Haas believes that rather than getting bogged down in details about what a constructor is, the sport should look at the bigger picture,

"The bigger influence we have is on this as national rivals… basically, an American team now is going to compete with the Germans and the Italians and I think that has a much more international interest than say what we do as a team to the other teams because let’s face it Formula One is an international motor sport.

"In racing everybody wants to do it for as little as possible but everybody wants to win. Obviously there’s these counter productive goals. If you want to win you’re going to have to spend money to do that and quite frankly all these cost controls that they put in place only seem to wind up costing a lot more money in some other areas. I don’t know if we really save a lot of money with all these cost controls. We want cost controls, but for him not for me."

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Series Formula 1
Tags innovation