Perez-Sala open to customer cars


HRT boss Luis Perez-Sala believes Formula 1 needs to consider allowing customer cars again, and fears engine costs in 2014 could kill off small teams.

Customer cars have not been permitted in F1 since the early 1980s, with loopholes that allowed Toro Rosso and Super Aguri to use chassis based on respective sister teams Red Bull and Honda's year-old equipment were closed at the end of the last decade.

But Perez-Sala would welcome the return of customer cars if the price was realistic.

"From my point of view it's a good idea if a small team manages to have at its disposal a better car than what it could build without spending more, or maybe by even saving something," he told Autosprint.

"It could cost less, since we are talking about car and parts already built, so without extra design and building costs, but it still depends on the price set on these things."

Asked if he was worried about potential budget increases under F1's major rules change in 2014, Perez-Sala replied: "A bit, yes. Today, for a team like HRT, engine costs count for 20 per cent of our total budget.

"Should this figure double from 2014, then I don't know how we can manage.

"I think the biggest source of savings F1 has managed over the past few years is tied to engines and testing. Rumours of costs doubling are worrying, but it's also alarming not knowing anything official yet with just one year to go before the first tests."

HRT is currently last in the constructors' championship, but Perez-Sala said it had never counted on beating Marussia and Caterham to the lucrative 10th place in the standings this season.

"Honestly our priorities were different this year," he said. "First of all we needed to become a team. We started from scratch, and now we are a reality.

"The second step is to aim for 10th place in the constructors' table. In April or May 2013, if we have everything at our disposal as planned, I expect a big step forward. We can plan the design, have building schedules, everything a normal team has."

He added that he expects Pedro de la Rosa to remain HRT's lead driver in 2013.

"Pedro will certainly be here, as we have a two-year contract with him and I think he wants to see the results of the work done in 2012," Perez-Sala said.

"At the moment the second driver is not yet defined."

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