What's the difference between F1 and Indy? Plenty. But it's a question that comes up more than you'd expect, and there are numerous answers. While F1 races only on street circuits and road courses, Indy also races on ovals. Indy, of course, is also primarily an American series, while F1 hasn't had a race in the United States for years now. The two series use different fuel, different engines, but the biggest difference, of course, is the cars: While Indy uses one spec chassis (and until next year, one engine), every team in F1, by definition, has to design and build their own cars. That's why F1 teams aren't called teams in the technical lingo. They're called constructors.

All that may be about to change, however, as the sport moves into a new round of debates over customer cars. The issue, as you might have guessed, revolves around the potential for some of the bigger teams (like Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes GP) to supply complete cars, ready to race, to smaller teams.

It's an issue that has been moving back and forth over the course of recent years: you may recall that, until a couple of years ago, Red Bull was designing and building the cars for Scuderia Toro Rosso – its B-squad – until the regulations put a stop to it. Meanwhile McLaren, for example, has signed technical partnerships with teams like Force India (pictured above) and Virgin Racing that have seen the front-running team help the back-markers get a leg up.

For its part McLaren isn't interested in supplying complete cars to its customer teams, but Ferrari is. It's something Maranello already does with its sportscar programs, and until its collapse, was doing for the A1GP series. The current regulations prohibit such deals from taking place in F1, but with the debate set to start anew between the teams, Formula One Management and the FIA, things could change.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Customer cars is nothing new in F1. There were many private entries on the starting grid in F1 during the 50s, 60s and 70s. If you happened to be super rich and wanted to join the Grand Prix circuit all you had to do was buy a race car and hire a driver.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it's a great idea. At least the car wouldn't be to blame anymore. They'd just have to fine tune it. I think it may make the races a little more photo finishey, after the podium has passed by the checkered flag.
      Chris Doan
      • 3 Years Ago
      The nature of F1 will make this difficult because its a race between constructors. I kinda prefer more different cars rather than more of the same car. I'm not so sure smaller teams would be happy about someone buying a Redbull and beating their cars. Then again, the WRC and MotoGP has had private teams for a long time, but the number of entries isn't as exclusive as F1. It would just be a bummer if a smaller team is replaced by a customer team since the number of cars is limited to 24. I just hate the idea of buying your way into F1 rather than using your technical know how.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The issue is, if you don't "construct" your car, maybe you should not be able to compete for the "constructor's championship." If not, then there would be no point in entering the series. In F1 the financial interest of the teams and their investors is not in the driver's championship, which pays out zero to the teams, but the constructor's, which pays out millions of dollars to even backmarkers. It would be really unfair if you put in 200 million dollars to design and build and run your cars, and get sponsroship to bank roll it, and them some rich guy buys himself a one-year old Ferrari, beats you and drinks your $20 million milkshake at the end of the year. Not only that, he gets a better pit lane spot, a better place to park his motorhome, etc. The main subplot to me is that Ferrari wants to run three or more cars by itself. Di Montezemolo has been clear about this. And the Ferrari spends lots of time on its blogs, etc, bashing the smaller teams. If they can't do it by hook, then by crook. He wants F1 to become basically a Ferrari property, by getting enough of his subsidiaries on the grid so he can bully everyone else, large teams and small.
      Matt Off White
      • 3 Years Ago
      I see nothing wrong with it. The only change should be non constructor teams should not be allowed to compete for the constructors championship. At the same time ferrari for example shouldnt gain extra points from their customer cars. That way it doesnt just become a game of who can sell the most cars to pad their points.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      All I can say "Come on best Christmas present ever!". Lol. I agree with Matt Off White; if you have the money, why can't you race. But because you didn't build it, you can't win the constructors championship.
      Jonathan Arena
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm getting really sick of this: the FIA guys need to understand that competition between constructors is a major part of the appeal of F1.
      Carbon Fibre
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd prefer each to their own but if this gets reinforced then by all means offer kits older than 2 years (a year seems not much of a difference) and sell them a t a great price where cheaper constructors would not have to spend millions for designing a new chassis.
      • 3 Years Ago
      F1 is a great circus and a money making machine for Bernie Ecclestone. As long as that doesn't bother you keep on supporting it. If not, don't.