There is much talk in recent weeks about the possibility of seeing customer cars find their way back into Formula 1. What is exactly a customer car?
A customer car is a race machine that has been designed and built by a (major) team and sold or leased to another, usually a smaller team, that has not the technical or financial resources to do so.
During the 60s and 70s, it was quite usual to see several customer cars on the grid. However, most of these entries only competed in selected Grands Prix, and were very rarely entered for the entire season.
Interestingly, Frank Williams started in F1 by entering a private Brabham BT26A to his friend Piers Courage in 1969.
The latest customer cars were seen in F1 in the late 70s.
Subsequently, the F1 technical and sporting regulations were modified, meaning that each entrant also had to be the constructor of his chassis.
Here are the latest examples of customer cars in F1:
McLaren M23 entered by Melchester Racing for Tony Trimmer
Lotus 78 entered by Team Rebaque for Hector Rebaque
March 781S entered by Patrick Neve for Patrick Neve
McLaren M23 entered by BS Fabrication for Nelson Piquet and Brett Lunger
McLaren M23 entered by Centro Asegurador F1 for Emilio de Villota
Shadow DN9 entered by Interscope Racing for Danny Ongais
Lotus 79 entered by Team Rebaque for Hector Rebaque
Williams FW07 entered by RAM for Rupert Keegan, Kevin Cogan and Geoff Lees
Williams FW07 entered by Brands Hatch Racing for Desire Wilson