Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chassis Cloning

The Formula 1 Team Bosses met recently in Monaco to discuss the current band of chassis cloning, i.e; Teams copying other teams chassis design for 2007. Although this will be permitted beginning in 2008 to “reduce costs,” its banned through the upcoming season…

There is considerable speculation that Scuderia Toro Rosso and Super Aguri are utilizing carbon copies of their “Big Brother” teams, i.e; Red Bull Racing and Honda F1. In typical F1 fashion both teams have denied doing so, although “Super Best Friends” (Super Aguri) has been testing with essentially a Honda RA106 at the recent winter tests…

Last year Toro Rosso was able to utilize a Red Bull RB1 chassis under the guise that it was previously a Ford. F1 teams were willing to go along since the chassis wasn’t competitive and Toro rosso was also using a rev-limited 3.0 liter Cosworth V-10.

Super Aguri meanwhile was forced to campaign modified Arrows chassis in order to gain enterance into F1 as the intellectual property rights to the BAR-Honda they’d hoped to use belonged to Honda and therefore was not available for cloning...

Chassis cloning is not an entirely new subject with the 1995 Ligier closely resembling the Benneton B195 when Flavio Briatore owned both teams. The 2003 Sauber was also thought to contain much more then just a Ferrari engine and transmission to its design layout.

Speculation abounds that Red Bull’s Adrian Newey has designed two identical chassis with different engines for 2007. Meanwhile it has just been revealed that Super Aguri has hired Paul White Drafting Ltd. To design a “independent” chassis for the upcoming season.

While it is assumed that the two teams will begin using customer chassis in 2008 along with Prodrive, it will be interesting to see how the thorny issue is resolved…

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