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F1 pondering standardised parts?

NEWS STORY
08/02/2017

Purists had better look away now, or at least hope that somebody, somewhere is considering setting up a rival F1 series, for the sport is considering using standardised parts as part of its cost-cutting plan.

Just days into its purchase of Formula One, new owner Liberty Media was admitting that spending by the teams, not to mention the ever growing chasm between the haves and have nots, is one of the key issues that must be addressed. Indeed, the warning came at a time Manor had just been put in administration and Silverstone owners, the BRDC, revealed they were considering dropping one of the most historic events on the calendar, the British Grand Prix.

Brought on board to head the technical side of the business, Ross Brawn admitted that one of the key areas he intended to address is spending, revealing that the sport's perennial bogeyman 'the budget cap' is being considered.

McLaren executive director Zak Brown has revealed that one measure being considered by the teams, who are keen to come up with their own solution rather than have the new owners and the FIA implement theirs, is the standardisation of parts.

"There are some that think we should standardise some parts," he told Autosport.

"Teams have shown they're very clever," he admitted. "I don't think you can control costs just by controlling what's on the cars. We'll just find other areas, the windtunnel being a great example; we pulled that back and now CFD budgets are through the roof, so I don't think you can manage it only by standardisation of parts.

"You can do some of that and I don't think the consumer knows visibly what the suspension on our car looks like, compared to the suspension on a Williams, as an example. So I think things can be standardised to reduce costs that don't improve the show and the fans don't recognise the difference.

"But I still think we need a budget cap, which most other sports have," he concluded.

While some fans - sorry, "consumers" – will be aware of the differences between the suspension on the McLaren and the Williams, it is the fact that they are different and thereby one might be better and the other prone to failure that introduces the element of uncertainty and reliability the sport needs.

At the same time, the introduction of standardised parts, using Brown's suspension as an example, would only further stifle creativity in the sport.

And then there's the whole question of standardised cars... the dreaded one-make formula.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 09/02/2017 17:49

"I wonder what the effect would be of all teams having to release all their design details after the halfway through and at the end of each season?
I mean, would it mean that the smaller teams then get insight on what they can do to catch up and the big teams keep doing what they do?
Maybe the end of the season would be better though with next season's designs being near finalised in June, there wouldn't be so much to learn.
What I was thinking was that as a top team, you could spend as much as you wanted, however, all that investment in R&D would be made available to everyone else and wondering what effect it would have. The development race would still happen however the costs to the lesser teams would be a lot less.
Of course it could be a completely stupid idea where no-one develops anything new however I'm sure the competitive instinct will kick in.
A bonus would be that the fans will be able to get a full idea of how great the machines are."

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2. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 09/02/2017 9:51

"We appear already to be going round in circles (pardon the pun), as per all the feedback the only way to cut costs is to simplify aero and cheaper engines, also how did we get to a point where a team needs 1200+ people to put 2 cars onto a grid to do a 2 hour race on a Sunday afternoon? how many of these would have to be laid off if a seasons spend was cut in half, could it be this is the main reason the top teams will not accept any form of budget cap? "

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3. Posted by ryanhellyer, 08/02/2017 19:45

"I think there are two options which would achieve the same result, but would appease those who don't like the concept of fully standardised parts.

(1) Put a fixed price on the parts, and force those who make them to sell them other teams.

(2) Force teams to provide the exact blue prints for their designs to the other teams.

This still allows teams to have different parts or to make their own where appropriate (manufacturers may want to make all of their own bits just demonstrate their own skills), but nullifies the requirement for independent teams to spend a fortune manufacturing their own parts."

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4. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 08/02/2017 18:27

"F1 needs a budget cap like the English Premier League needs a salary cap. It doesn't.
All the teams know what they are in for expenditure wise when they sign up to compete.
The revenue sharing model will need tweaking (Force India and Sauber have a point there), not the spending.
If a team/individual wants to go spend half a billion dollars over a couple of seasons they should be able to do so. If they spend wisely, well done. Toyota proved that it isn't just about the money a team has."

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5. Posted by Paul C, 08/02/2017 17:48

"There are two paths here: (1) Allow unlimited engineering with only safety standards; (2) F1 can do a "Back to the Future" mode (as in 1950's)and just use GP2 cars. Pick one."

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6. Posted by edllorca, 08/02/2017 16:21

"If forcing manufacturer to build every single part is one end of the spectrum, why do we have to go all the way to the other end and standardize a part? Why is it so hard to say that teams can sell each other parts. We do not need all teams to have self made suspension arms just like we don't need for them to have all the same arm. "

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7. Posted by Ro, 08/02/2017 15:11

"Now thats the best joke Ive heard for yonks! Ferrari wont stand for that, not will Mercedes or Renault....It will be like Indycars...same chassis, same engine, same gerbox, same petrol...yawn...Im flling asleep"

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8. Posted by Spindoctor, 08/02/2017 15:03

"AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!"

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