JULY 20, 2006
Changing the rules about chassis
The Formula 1 rules about chassis are complicated - and secret - but our understanding is that Schedule 3 on the Agreement defines a constructor as being "a person (including any corporate or unincorporated body) who owns the intellectual property rights to the rolling chassis it currently races and does not incorporate in such chassis any part designed or manufactured by any other constructor of Formula 1 racing cars". This clause covers only chassis as engines and gearboxes can be bought. The key word in all of this is "designed". Red Bull Racing appears to have somehow managed to get around this rule last year when it supplied its designs to Scuderia Toro Rosso, presumably on the principle that the RB1 chassis was actually a Jaguar but was renamed after Red Bull bought the team. It is not clear why Honda was not allowed to let Super Aguri use the old 2005 BAR chassis as the team has changed ownership in much the same way as Jaguar did when it was acquired by Red Bull.
At the recent Formula 1 Commission meeting Super Aguri F1 did ask about the rules for 2007 as it is keen to use Honda chassis in the future and will be free to do so in 2008.
There are other teams who are talking about buying chassis for next year with Midland F1 known to be discussing the idea and Prodrive also keen to do something similar. The advantage that Prodrive has is that it does not have to abide by the rules until 2008 and so can buy a 2007 chassis in 2007 and can do as much testing as it so desires with that chassis.
The latest speculation is that David Richards is talking to McLaren about a B Team deal now that the Direxiv project has disappeared. It is believed that Midland (or at least the buyers of that operation) may also be keen to run McLaren chassis if the rules allow that to happen. This is obviously in the interests of cost-cutting and protecting independent teams so the FIA should be in favour of it, although deleting one word from the Concorde Agreement may be too big a job for the current signatories, as it would require 100% agreement.
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