Formula 1 commercial rights manager Bernie Ecclestone is open to the idea of customer cars returning to the sport next year in a bid to help smaller teams.
While there has some talk of bigger teams being allowed to run three cars in the future, Ecclestone remains skeptical about that idea moving forward. However, he does suggest that an alternative proposal would be to allow smaller teams to buy year-old cars. He believes this would not only help them financially – because they would not need the expense of designing and building their own challenger – but would also make the grid more competitive.
When asked by Gazzetta dello Sport about the possibility of third cars in F1, Ecclestone said: "I don't think it will happen. But I would like to see some of the smaller teams with a single car sold by a top team, which had been used the previous year. Perhaps it could be driven by a rookie."
Ecclestone believes the plan could be put in place as early as 2013.
"I would like that," he said. "Some teams would certainly get better results compared to now and spend less, immediately."
F1 teams are currently involved in negotiations with the FIA about framing new cost-cutting regulations, with their latest meeting taking place in the Valencia paddock ahead of this weekend's European Grand Prix. Ecclestone believes that F1 costs are not in line with helping deliver the best show for the sport, which is why a cost cap to limit expenditure of the teams could be a way forward.
"Today Alonso and Vettel in GP2 cars would give the same show with a much smaller expenditure figure," he declared.