Todt: I hate customer cars

FIA president Jean Todt has spoken out against the idea of having customer cars in Formula 1.

Todt: I hate customer cars
Roberto Merhi, Manor F1 Team
Roberto Merhi, Manor F1 Team
Guenther Steiner, Haas F1 Team Principal with Gene Haas, Haas Automotion President
Will Stevens, Manor F1 Team follows Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-30
Jean Todt, FIA President
Roberto Merhi, Manor F1 Team
Bernie Ecclestone, with the media
Nico Hulkenberg, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM08

Despite the major teams pushing forward with their idea for a 'franchise' system should current grid numbers fall, Todt says he thinks such a move would be wrong for the sport.

"I hate customer cars," he said. "I think the fascination of F1 is that you have the solid foundations of everyone that participates.

"Saying that, if we can find a way to facilitate access to certain technologies and development, I am not absolutely against that. But I am against a [two-tier] system.

"For me, it is fine to have Group A, and Group B. But it must be in different categories. F1, F2, League A, League B, that is fine. Inside of a category to have, by name, a difference? I would be against it."

Haas move 'smart'

Todt believes that the way the new Haas team is approaching F1, by buying as many parts as possible from Ferrari, is a clever way of coming in to grand prix racing.

"I think they have been smart – that is the only thing I can say. Both sides have been smart.

"The thing is it is an interpretation of the regulations, but as long as you follow the regulations [it is fine]."

Hopeful on future

Todt said he hoped that the financial problems some outfits are currently facing would not be too much to stop them continuing to be a part of F1.

But he reckoned there was little he could do to help their financial situation because the commercial arrangements with teams were decided by Bernie Ecclestone.

"It's not in my hands," he said. "This is why we were so much supportive of Manor to stay, I hate to see somebody leave.

"For me it was a disappointment to see Caterham leaving. Maybe they underestimated what was F1. People think 'let's go, we have money to do this', it's not true.

"The competition is very difficult, very tough and to get to be competitive is very difficult. When you are competitive, to stay competitive is difficult.

"That is why it is unfair when people say it is so easy for Mercedes. They do a great job, and it is the only thing you can say.

"I really hope that Lotus, Force India, Renault, Manor can stay, but it is not in my hands.

"What is unfair that they say, they know it is F1, they knew when they accepted a deal that was not as favourable to them as some others, what the cost is of F1, so maybe they underestimated the sponsors. It is very difficult."

Reacting to quit threats from some bigger teams, Todt added: "I think it is unfair to take, I would say 'fake reasons' to explain why you are not happy, why you want to go, why you cannot stay.

"They may be reasons, but at least we should really say 'I want to win… I cannot win, I am going to leave'."

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