Spyker gain support in customer car row
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, December 19th 2006, 12:04 GMT|
Leading Formula One teams including McLaren and Ferrari have now officially thrown their weight behind a campaign to stop Super Aguri and Toro Rosso from racing with customer cars next season, autosport.com can reveal.
Spyker boss Colin Kolles began the drive to stop chassis sharing, and forced discussions about the issue to dominate the recent team principals' meeting in Monaco. Those talks resulted in Super Aguri and Toro Rosso being asked to seek a compromise solution.
With arbitration proceedings not being ruled out, the teams were requested to confirm in writing what they had said in the meeting - that they would prepare their own cars for 2007 rather than race developments of other people's designs.
Super Aguri are planning to race a version of Honda Racing's RA106, while Toro Rosso are expected to campaign a modified Red Bull Racing RB3 car.
All the others teams on the grid were subsequently asked by Spyker to confirm that they would be building their own cars for 2007, and that they believed the Concorde Agreement required all teams to follow suit.
Section 3 of the Concorde Agreement states:
"A constructor is a person (including any incorporated 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 F1 racing cars except for standard items of safety equipment, providing that nothing in the Schedule 3 shall prevent the use of an engine or gearbox manufactured by a person other than the constructor of the chassis."
Sources have confirmed to autosport.com that Spyker have received support for their stance from a number of teams, despite no response yet from Super Aguri or Toro Rosso.
Although Renault and BMW-Sauber have yet to respond, Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, Williams and Red Bull have all written to Spyker confirming that they will observe Section 3 of the Concorde Agreement, and that they believe all other teams should do so as well.
Red Bull Racing's endorsing of the campaign is interesting, because of the plans of Toro Rosso to use their car. However, the Red Bull company's position is that they are well within the regulations because an independent company, Red Bull Technologies, designs and supplies the chassis.
Toro Rosso boss Gerhard Berger told autosport.com that he was mystified why rival teams were unhappy with his team's plans for 2007.
"There have been some complaints from some of our competitors, but I do not understand exactly what they are based on," he said. "I can say we are complying fully with the regulations.
"There is nothing to hide and no hidden agenda. It's the usual competitors complaining, and I suppose I have to get used to it. Last year it was our 10-cylinder engine, and now it is the chassis. I think it is a compliment that I made them nervous."
Honda Racing have not responded and because of the manufacturer team's links with Super Aguri, they are unlikely to.
It is not clear what the next step will be, but the support of teams is likely to increase Spyker's efforts to force the two teams to change their approach.
Although Kolles was unavailable for comment, he told this week's Autosport magazine that it was important customer car rules were followed next year, and reminded the outfits about the possibility of arbitration if a solution was not found.
"There are other teams that see the situation the same as we do," he said. "In 2008 it's a different matter, but in 2007 you have clear regulations. We are ready to go to arbitration."