Sauber F1 team says customer cars idea is "a dangerous step"

Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has warned that Formula 1 would be taking a "dangerous step" if it opts to head down the route of customer cars

Sauber F1 team says customer cars idea is "a dangerous step"

Following last Thursday's Strategy Group meeting a number of potential changes were aired, such as the return of refuelling, with wider cars and bigger rear tyres to make the racing a hoped-for five to six seconds quicker per lap.

The one item not specifically mentioned in the FIA's press release, which AUTOSPORT understands dominated the meeting, was the prospect of customer cars from 2017.

Kaltenborn has made it clear Sauber "is never going to be a customer car team", adding that "for us, this is our business and we will find a way".

SURVEY: Have your say on F1

"I would like to know, and many other people would like to know, how do they think this is going to work, and who is it good for?" Kaltenborn told AUTOSPORT.

"If it is meant to improve the show - and with people out there criticising we have cars slower than GP2 right now - how will this A/B system work?

"It won't make the show more attractive if we have cars further apart, and we are complaining already this is happening.

"Looking at it from a commercial point of view, find me a person who will sponsor this.

"Will you have A/B-grade sponsors? Will they have different rights?

"Trying to get a sponsor where you say to them 'if you tie into this concept you will be with a team that will never be on the podium in seasons to come' will be impossible.

"Force India [Bob Fernley] put it very nicely - you will have people who will compete and people who will participate.

"The worst part is, if at some point in time you realise it is not going to work you cannot switch back because you have lost the capability of being a constructor.

"And what if a big team, a manufacturer decides to leave, as was the case a few years ago. What is left?

"It's such a dangerous step to take in view of what can happen."

REFUELLING CONCERNS

Kaltenborn has also cast severe doubt on refuelling, although Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has already claimed it will only return if the costs are not too high.

"It's not too long ago we stopped refuelling for cost saving and safety related issues," Kaltenborn said.

"I read in the [FIA] press release there is still a commitment to cost saving, so I wonder if that is a contradiction.

"Secondly, I also understand our federation, together with the Formula 1 teams, propagates road safety, so there could be a contradiction there as well because refuelling is definitely something that increases risk.

"Also, does it really lead to a better show? We've already heard from other team managers that refuelling is not going to lead to more pit stops."

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