Kurt Verlin
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Quick Guide to Formula One Constructors

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F1 Cars at the 2017 Australian Grand Prix

After writing my last Formula One article it occurred to me that to the uninitiated, the topic of Formula One teams and engine suppliers may be confusing. For instance, McLaren recently agreed to part ways with Honda and get their engines from Renault instead, starting in 2018. As a result, Renault will stop supplying Toro Rosso, which will seek engines from Honda—and in exchange Toro Rosso will loan Renault its star driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

In paragraph form, it can be difficult to visualize just where all the manufacturers involved in Formula One stand and how they relate to each other. So I made a table, which you can view at the bottom of the article.

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Definition of a Constructor

In Formula One, the terms “entrants,” “constructors,” and “teams” have all become somewhat synonymous. According to FIA regulations, “the constructor of an engine or chassis is the person (including any corporate or unincorporated body) which owns the intellectual rights to such engine or chassis.”

The prestigious title of Formula One World Champion Constructor is awarded to the car “make” that earns the most points throughout the course of a season and accounts for both the constructor of the chassis and of the engine.

In modern Formula One, all teams construct their own chassis and own the intellectual rights to them; but while some teams also construct their own engines, others simply buy them instead.

Teams who construct both—such as Ferrari and Mercedes—are typically called “works” or “factory” teams and their cars are simply referred to by the name of that single constructor.

Teams who buy their engines are called “customer” teams and their cars are recognized in the championship by both names, with the name of the chassis constructor always placed before that of the engine constructor; for example, the car entered in the 2017 championship by the Williams Martini Racing team, which has a chassis built by Williams and an engine built by Mercedes, is referred to as a “Williams-Mercedes.”

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2017 Formula One Constructors

Kurt Verlin was born in France and lives in the United States. Throughout his life he was always told French was the language of romance, but it was English he fell in love with. He likes cats, music, cars, 30 Rock, Formula 1, and pretending to be a race car driver in simulators; but most of all, he just likes to write about it all. See more articles by Kurt.