F1 is the pinnacle of world motorsport and has been since its inception in 1950.
F1 currently consists of ten teams, Williams, Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Haas, McLaren and Racing Point.
Three of these teams are ‘manufacturer’ teams: Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault who are backed by big car makers, and who make their own chassis and engines. They also must supply engines (or power units as they’re now known) to other ‘constructor’ teams.
A constructor team is one that makes its own chassis but has an engine supplier with whom they have a contract for the supply of engines.
A more recent development has created two distinct sub-sections of constructors: independent constructor teams and what is now known as B-Teams.
An independent constructor is one whose relationship with another F1 team begins and ends with a contract to supply engines. Everything else on the car is either designed and built by themselves or by an external supplier with whom the team have their own relationship.
B-Teams are much more closely aligned to one of the big teams, for the supply of parts and data.
The A-Teams benefit through testing data, political support and the chance to blood some of their development drivers in F1 by allowing them to drive in a less pressurised environment before hopefully making the step up to the main team.
Drivers with this model are Haas (Ferrari), Alfa Romeo (Ferrari) and Toro Rosso (Red Bull).
I mentioned earlier that Red Bull should have their own category because although independent, they have a ‘works’ deal with Honda, whereby they don’t pay for their engines, they are in partnership with the Japanese car maker to jointly further their F1 efforts.
They also have a budget to match the manufacturer teams (the other independents typically have less cash, not being aligned with a megalithic car company), and they have their own B-Team (Toro Rosso).
The manufacturer teams usually (under the current F1 regs) find their way to the top, with Red Bull there or thereabouts, followed by the B-Teams and finally the independents.
F1 and Liberty (F1’s owners) are looking at ways to redress the balance for the next generation of regulations that come into effect in 2021 that makes it a much more level playing field to allow all ten teams to be able to compete for wins and podiums irrespective of their business model.