‘Smaller teams will have to adjust’

Having agreed to "no cost control initiatives" and instead mooted the idea of customer cars, Bob Fernley says Force India will have to re-evaluate "how we survive."

Thursday's Strategy Group meeting failed to yield the cost-cutting proposals that the sport's smaller teams requested.

With the price of engines doubling since F1 swapped from V8s to turbocharged V6 units, the independent teams had hoped to find a way to reduce the cost.

And although engines were one of the topics, instead of lowering the cost for customers, the Strategy Group opted to retain the current V6 engines, while increasing noise and making them higher revving.

"Fundamentally, what is absolutely clear from it all is that the grey areas have been removed, that there will be no cost control initiatives brought in," Force India deputy principal Fernley told Autosport.

"There won't be any consideration given to an equitable distribution of income, and the engines are not going to be reduced in cost.

"The default for going forward in terms of a team failing will be as per contract, which will be third cars, and in the meantime they will evaluate the customer car programme.

"That is now absolutely clear in terms of what we're doing.

"As an independent team we will have to now look at our business model, at how we survive, the same for the likes of Sauber, Williams, Lotus and Manor."

Fernley weighed in on the customer car proposal, saying that even if the independent teams want to stay as such, they may be forced to switch due to the ever-rising costs.

"The idea is to give the independent teams the first option to become customer teams.

"Of course, you can remain as a constructor, nobody can take that away from you.

"The difficulty you have, though, with no other elements there, and with the costs of Formula 1 constantly increasing, is that it makes it difficult to be competitive as a constructor.

"That's the issue, because at the end day there is a difference between competing and participating.

"We are still not convinced the customer car idea is the right route, but obviously that is the way it's going to go now.

"So we either have to adjust accordingly to ensure we stay as a constructor, or we embrace the customer car process in time.

"There are now big decisions that will have to be taken within the independent teams, and a lot of it will depend on how quickly they bring in the customer car proposal."

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