Honda website
Honda website

OCTOBER 10, 2003

Will Formula 1 teams be allowed to sell cars to one another?

One of the biggest things holding back new teams in F1 is the need to invest millions to build their own cars. This is essential for anyone who wants to be challenging for victory but it stops new teams being able to come into the sport as customers in order to establish themselves. This means that ambitious young team owners such as David Sears (Super Nova Racing) and Christian Horner (Arden) have no possibility of moving up from Formula 3000 into F1 because of the money involved and so find themselves stagnated at the top of the F3000 tree. If chassis were available for purchase either or both would probably take the risk and enter F1.

The problem is that some of the Formula 1 team bosses are worried that allowing teams to buy cars could lead to a situation where they are threatened by smaller teams, offering sponsors better value for money and thus undermining the income of the big guns. The entire problem is covered by Clause 14 of the Concorde Agreement, which currently stops the sale of cars by one team to another. To change the Concorde Agreement requires 100% agreement and this cannot be achieved.

However, there appears to be a way around the problem as the Concorde Agreement does not cover the sale of intellectual property rights and so a team can, in theory at least, buy the concept of a car and if one owns that, one can run a car of that design.

Thus, if a team was to buy the intellectual property rights for a 2003 Ferrari one would be able to run the cars next year. The word on the street is that Sauber may be in the process of doing just such a deal. A precedent has (to some extent) been set by Paul Stoddart's purchase of the cars and intellectual property rights to the old Arrows chassis. The only difference is that Arrows was no longer a signatory to the Concorde Agreement when the deal was done.

But while Sauber is not commenting on his plans for chassis for next year, he has said that he does not think that the team will be running with Maserati-badged V10s next year.

"We have not talked about it," he said.