The recent formation of a strategy group in Formula One and the issue of resource restriction have been bones of contention between the ‘big six’ and the smaller teams.
When the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ faced each other ahead of the Indian Grand Prix here on Friday, one witnessed a sharp difference between both.
The big boys tried to build an atmosphere of trust, while the smaller ones extended their hands with reluctance.
“All teams sit on the Formula One Commission that still very much exists and has the right to reject or approve regulations to be introduced… It is a way of effectively introducing changes with the consultation of others, because other groups will still exist. Time will tell whether it works or not,” said Red Bull principal Christian Horner.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali and Mercedes chief Ross Brawn said being part of the decision making group, which also included the FIA and the Formula One Management (FOM), was a big responsibility for their teams.
However, Sauber head Monisha Kaltenborn was not comfortable on being left out of the group.
“We have nothing against the group. But what matters is all interests should be represented.
“Teams like Force India or Sauber are part of the competition and we cannot be happy being excluded from the group.”
Force India principal Vijay Mallya said, “I definitely did question whether the intention was to restrict decision making to six teams to the exclusion of the smaller teams…The big six have assured me that they will look after the interests of the smaller teams. On the basis of that assurance, I voted for that.”
The contentious issue of reducing costs by introducing ‘customer cars,’ where small teams would buy cars from big ones, again brought to the fore the differences between the two classes.
“If you are just looking at it from a pure cost point of view, the most logical way to take away a huge amount of cost would be to sell a car in its entirety. Now whether that goes against the grain of what a constructor should be is a separate debate,” said Horner.
Brawn, however, said that his Mercedes favoured the idea of reducing the base cost of cars instead of starting the concept of ‘customer cars.’
Mallya expressed his strong reservation against such a concept and termed it ‘ridiculous.’ “What happens to the smaller teams who have factories and employed hundreds of people and who are effectively running companies? This totally affects the DNA of F1 from the day it was started,” he argued.