McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown says affiliations between manufacturer teams and customer outfits have become "unhealthy for the sport" and F1 should address the issue by improving its governance.
Several teams in F1 are linked to either an engine supplier – such as the affiliation between Mercedes and Aston Martin, or Ferrari and Haas - or to a sister outfit, such as the relationship that exists between Red Bull and AlphaTauri.
The smaller teams acquire not only their power unit from their manufacturer but often also specific components, or non-listed parts, a practice that has been a cause for concern in the past for an independent team such as McLaren that produces in-house most of its parts.
In an open letter published on McLaren's website, Brown urges F1 to protect the sport's smaller outfits and to ensure the latter are not pressured by their affiliate when matters are put to a vote
"The rise of team affiliations has become unhealthy for our sport,” said Brown. "It is not in the best interests of competition if two rivals, or even three, share assets and align strategically. One of the fundamental principles of Formula 1, as opposed to other one-make racing series, is an open competition between constructors.
"I do not wish to see the number of teams in F1 reduce, but team affiliations remain an issue because they do not promote a level playing field. This is where further changes need to be made to the governance of Formula 1.
"There have always been conflicts of interest in Formula 1 and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon, so it’s even more important that F1 and the FIA, who have no other agenda than the whole sport’s success, call the shots in the best interests [of] F1 and not be blocked and slowed at every turn."
In order to ensure a fair voting process void of any political pressure between affiliated teams, Brown has put forward the idea of using a secret ballot for the voting process by the F1 Commission where all ten teams hold a vote.
"Currently, decisions about the future of the sport can be halted by a minority, rather than majority, and they are further skewed by some teams’ voting power being in favour of their affiliated team partner," Brown explained.
"There have even been instances when an affiliated team, to satisfy its bigger partner, has voted in favour of a clear disadvantage to itself.
"This isn’t sport. This isn’t putting the fans first. It is a situation that must be addressed and so we call for secret ballot voting to be implemented in all F1 Commission meetings with immediate effect.
"In other sports the regulatory body has the power of governance because they always focus on what is in the best interests of the sport overall, which should be the key consideration in Formula 1.
"With a change in the voting procedures, it could lead to more agile decision-making that would ultimately benefit the interests of the fans and in doing so the sport at large, including the participants."