Are McLaren, Ferrari, planning ‘super teams’?

Wed, 3 October 2007, 12:42

According to intensifying speculation and reports, moves that could have a major impact on the makeup of formula one in the future are currently taking place behind the scenes.

Spanish media sources, including the news agency EFE, claim that McLaren-Mercedes could effectively ‘split’ its operation next year to create – in conjunction with Prodrive – effectively a ‘super team’.

The newspaper Marca speculates that the split would solve McLaren’s driver dilemma, with Lewis Hamilton going to one team, and Fernando Alonso to the other.

But paddock rumblings about Ron Dennis and David Richards’ plans – to run four identical MP4-23 cars next year – have reportedly attracted the ire of rival teams including BMW and Williams.

Ferrari may also be opposed, but as a back-up plan may be considering bolstering its alliance with Toro Rosso by also supplying an identical chassis to a ‘satellite’ outfit, the Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported.

At the centre of the issue is the uncertainty about regulations that would allow so called ‘customer cars’ to be sold from 2008, and the delay of a new Concorde Agreement to sanction them.

So belated is the 2008 Concorde by the customer car issue, in fact, that it is now being rumoured that the document will simply be deferred for a whole year.

This would, however, have serious implications for Prodrive, which has always planned to enter F1 next year with a fully legal customer McLaren.

Also affected would be Super Aguri, whose chief Aguri Suzuki is nervously awaiting the outcome of the Concorde negotiations before going ahead with his plans to use an identical chassis to Honda’s works team in 2008.

“I hope he can continue to do his racing team,” Honda’s Yasuhiro Wada said in Japan last week. “It depends on what is decided.”

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