If it is true that the Strategy Group has decided to allow customer cars (they did not bother to actually communicate on the subject) then the sport is in deeper trouble than ever. It should change its name to the Bad Strategy Group. This would be a big team decision, backed – or at least not opposed – by a promoter who has no long term thinking and a governing body that has sold its right to govern.
If the F1 world was a brothel, one would explain it as follows: the girls are still busy, but the pimp has sold the place to the flashy customers. The police chief has been bought and paid for. The customers want free service because they own the place, so they tell the girls “Don’t you know who I am?” And in time these exploited folk will drift away and no replacements will be found. The place will close down and a chic new boutique hotel will take its place. It will be called the Formula E Hotel.
The thing that the big teams miss (or worse, do not care about) is that this will destroy the manufacturing base of the sport – the one thing that makes it different. That will leave the big teams unbeatable and will mean that there is no point in an ambitious young team owner even dreaming of running a customer team, because they will never be able to make the jump up to becoming a constructor. The customer teams will never beat the factories (why would that be allowed?) but they will be better so the smaller manufacturers will be pushed down the order and will die out. In the end there will be no customers, unless the big teams own and fund secondary teams (a la Toro Rosso). This will be like Mercedes and AutoUnion entering more and more cars in the races at the end of the 1930s because the opposition died out.
Thus for real racers, the next generation of Ron Dennises and Frank Williamses, there is no hope and they will have to look elsewhere, as successful GP2 and IndyCar teams now do. Formula E will grow as a result, sports cars will be stronger. F1 will weaken.
In the end this would be the start of a slippery slope that we have seen others take, notably CART. The manufacturers and big sponsors will go when they have finished using the sport and who will replace them? No one will pay the price they will want, so factories will close down and choice of chassis will reduce.
In the end it will be a one-make formula, a la CART (if you see what I mean) there could be a breakaway, but with no constructors left they only choice will be another customer car series – and that won’t work, a la IRL.
What is required is simple. Cheap customer engines and restrictions on spending
The one hope is that if the customer cars idea goes ahead, there could be trouble with the EU as the small teams will have nothing to lose with a complaint. Which means, in effect, that the government will come and visit the whorehouse…