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Norbert Haug strongly believes customer cars should not return to Formula 1, stressing that each constructor has the right to fully design and build its own chassis. The Concorde Agreement currently bans such acts, but a new pact is now being discussed for 2013.
With the Concorde Agreement being the document which binds the teams of Formula 1 with governing body the FIA and commercial rights holder FOM, the latest version is in its last year. As a result, the debate on customer cars has reignited.
“Generally speaking, I think Formula 1 has a heritage and a history,” Haug, Vice President for Motorsport at Mercedes, said during the FOTA Fans Forum in Barcelona on Wednesday.
“I just do not think that a Lotus should be a McLaren or an HRT should be a Ferrari; this would be the case if you had customer cars. It was and is in discussion but we also need to respect the likes of, for example, the very successful Williams team and the independents in Formula 1 like Sauber.
"I just think they have the right to build their own car and I think they’re quite interested in building their own car – this is a very, very important part of Formula 1.”
Haug also argues that the customer car option is not necessarily the cheapest for smaller teams.
“At first glance you might think it is less money but, if you carefully go through it, it’s not necessarily less money – it’s not the ideal solution,” he began to sum up. “If it was the ideal solution, I think everybody would have chosen that path already.”
He also noted that customer-engined teams now enjoy the same specifications as works outfits, which was not the case at the start of the last decade; for instance, McLaren and Force India use the same powerplants as the Mercedes factory cars for what Haug describes as ‘a very attractive price’. In 2014, F1 will switch to a new 1.6-litre, V6 turbo engine era and several team-engine changes are expected.
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