Ferrari proposed customer cars return during F1 COVID talks

Ferrari proposed a return of customer cars to Formula 1 during talks to safeguard the sport’s future, only for the move to be rejected by the rest of the grid.

With the COVID-19 pandemic set to have a major impact on the revenue of F1 teams, talks took place through spring to try and put measures in place to support the entire grid.

It was ultimately decided to continue to race with the 2020 cars in 2021 to ease development costs for teams, consequently postponing the new regulations until 2022, as well as reducing the budget cap to $145 million from next year.

A variety of measures were discussed during the talks between the teams, including a possible return of customer cars, which have been banned since 2008.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has revealed that he was pushing the charge to bring customer cars back to F1, wishing for a structure similar to the satellite teams system seen in MotoGP.

“On what should be the future, during the COVID period discussions, as Ferrari, we brought at least as a proposal to consider customer [teams from] the big teams, as we got eventually in MotoGP,” Binotto said.

“But that proposal was pushed back I think by the entirety of the teams, of F1, of the FIA, which we fully understand.

“I think that has been a decision which we all took together.”

The debate over customer cars has re-ignited in recent weeks amid Renault’s protest against Racing Point over the similarities of the RP20 car to last year’s title-winning Mercedes W10.

Renault has said its protest is crucial to defining what the future team models will be like in F1, while McLaren has also said it wishes for clarification amid concerns the sport could become a “copying championship”.

Asked by Autosport about Ferrari’s position on the matter, Binotto said it was important that all teams remain independent.

“Each single team should be independent. They should be capable of doing their own proper developments,” Binotto said.

“I think they’ve got the means now with the new Concorde Agreement, and the regulations are sufficiently clear to do that.

“It would be great to have 10 teams, 10 different cars, on the grid.”

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