In Formula 1, alliances can be as controversial as they are strategic. Zak Brown, McLaren’s CEO, is casting a wary eye on the strengthening ties between Red Bull Racing and Alpha Tauri. This alliance has caught the attention of many in the F1 arena, with concerns brewing about its impact on the sport’s competitive nature.
Brown didn’t hold back in expressing his unease. He openly admitted, “I am concerned about the Alpha Tauri-Red Bull alliance.” This statement comes amidst reports that Alpha Tauri might shift a significant part of its operations from Italy to be closer to Red Bull Racing in Milton Keynes, UK.
Brown emphasized the gravity of this partnership: “So this A-B team and co-ownership, which is a whole other level of A-B team, is a big concern to us and the health and fairness of the sport.” His concerns are rooted in the integrity of the sport, pointing out that such close-knit team relationships are rare in other major sports. “It’s pretty much not allowed in any other form of major sport, and I’d like to see us as an industry focus on that before it gets to a level of being where F1 once was, which was very out of balance,” he asserted.
Even the FIA, Formula 1’s governing body, acknowledges the need to monitor these evolving team alliances closely. Brown believes a change in the regulations is imperative, especially in the era of budget caps. He stated, “The regulations regarding what is allowed and what is not must be adjusted. They were written in a time without budget caps.” He highlighted that the original intent of these regulations was to support smaller teams, but with budget caps in place, that need has diminished.
Instead, Brown argues that the current scenario disproportionately benefits the more powerful A and B teams. His closing remarks underline a crucial aspect of Formula 1’s ethos: “F1 needs ten independent constructors.”