Q&A with FIA President Max Mosley and Professer Burkhard Göschel, Senior Advisor to the BMW Board and Chairman of the GPMA.
Professor Burkhard Göschel welcomed everyone to the BMW Research Centre.
Max Mosley: Professor Göschel and I thought it would be good to have a meeting because it's probably not fully appreciated that after our meeting in Nice and then the meeting we held with all the F1 teams on 18 September in Paris, all the issues that did exist between the GPMA, the manufacturers and the FIA have been resolved.
We have complete agreement on all the issues. The engine freeze came forward to 2007 and we are now totally agreed on the principles on which we are going to approach the future. In particular, we need to reduce the costs, that's fundamental. And the people who suggest that the manufacturers do not want the costs reduced, Prof. Göschel will make it very clear that this is not the case.
We want to make the research work done in F1 not just cost-effective but also road relevant. That is to say, new developments in F1 should be those that are directly helpful to the car industry and in particular things which are relevant to perhaps the biggest single issue which confronts the car industry worldwide, namely the reduction of the output of CO2. That's why in the shorter term we are looking at energy-recovery and re-use from braking. That will come in 2009. We will come out with a regulation before the end of this year. And then recovery and re-use of the excess heat or waste heat from the engines. We intend to have a regulation for that before 2010. Both those things are currently fundamental to road car research.
In the longer term we are looking at the possibility of a completely new F1 engine reflecting the industry tendency which is to have a downsized, turbo-charged engine. At the moment that is still a discussion point between us and the manufacturers. That very briefly is where we stand at the moment.
Professor Burkhard Göschel (BG): We have a common understanding that both the FIA and the GPMA are following the same route. As Max explained, Formula One should be focussed on the future areas the car industry must address. He also mentioned CO2 emissions for example which will be the biggest challenge for the car industry in the future.
So we have to take all these ideas and work out how to bring them into Formula One racing. Our understanding as a manufacturer is that F1 is the pinnacle of technology. If F1 for us as manufacturers is to make sense we have to show into which area technology should go to solve the problems of the future but also to have the fun of Formula One racing. Without question we will have that.
Max also said we are starting with energy recovery in 2009. And as everyone already knows the engines are losing two-thirds of the energy by heat and one of the ideas is how do we bring that back. The first step is that bringing the energy back into the car is one of the most important recoveries, the second step is to do this without losing the energy of the first step. So not only the engine but also the drive train must be made very efficient. That is the outlook for the future.
What we are doing in the car industry, and you can see this at BMW, is that we are shifting over to turbo-charged engines with a high-point of efficiency. In the future we will have down-sized engines with turbo-chargers.
We have to look at all areas for reducing consumption but also keeping the dynamics of F1. It might sound like a contradiction but it is not. The targets of modern engineers is not just to say you can only recognise this area or that area but a modern engine has to cover both and if something seems to be not possible he has to find a solution to ensure that F1 is still dynamic, interesting, and emotional but it is following the modern ideas of technology.
There are also other areas of development. For instance if you look at the BMW X5, we have integrated chassis management and so we are combining active steering with electronic microsystems and anti-rollbars to a new functionality. So electronics and software technology will play a major roll in car technology in future. So that is also an area we are discussing. There might be a future in F1 racing where we are ahead of technology.
So there's a common understanding that the GPMA and the car industry have with the FIA and we are committed to take a common route into the future towards those areas because we are all interested in doing the right thing for the future.
Q: This was quite an antagonistic relationship early on, what was the breakthrough to bring you both together?
Max Mosley: The big breakthrough came with our meeting in Nice on 7 August where we went through all these issues. The key thing was to appreciate that what we needed to do was to define the objectives and then worry about the rules. Whereas previously the discussions had all been about the rules without any real attempt to define the objectives. I think once we defined the objectives of road relevance, lower cost and social relevance, after that the discussion got easier.
Burkhard Göschel: That's true and in our opinion it was also a breakthrough. Coming to a solution but to have common ideas for the future, that is the right way to go forward. So we made the shift in Nice. It is a real breakthrough to shift the mindset between the manufacturers and the FIA because we are looking at the same areas of what to solve.
Max pointed out those areas and I also want to point out another area we have to look at: is the education of our engineers. It is interesting to make an engine capable of 22,000 rpm but there is no interest within the car industry to have such an engine. So in the end our young engineers are operating in the wrong area. For us at BMW and at other car manufacturers F1 is an area to train our engineers to take decisions and in developing future technologies. It will keep car manufacturers in F1 if F1 is focused on future technology for the car industry. If F1 takes this route then there is a future for each manufacturer in F1.
Max Mosley: You can see from that, when we are all accused of trying to dumb-down F1 when we froze the engine, in fact it, is the exact reverse because making the engine go faster and faster is completely pointless as Professor Göschel has just said. Whereas the sort of technologies we are talking about -- energy recovery, heat recovery, re-use and fuel efficiency, bio fuels and so on -- all of those are directly relevant to the industry. They are also the latest high technologies as opposed to the technologies of the past.
When people talked of dumbing down, what we were really doing was moving away from the technology of the 20th century towards the technology of the 21st. It is only by doing that that we can prevent Formula One starting to be labelled as a dinosaur. Whereas what will happen, as these things develop, will be that it will be seen as the cutting edge of technology relevant to the car industry.
Burkhard Göschel: And it keeps the interest of the manufacturers to stay in F1 and also for others to step in. If as a car manufacturer you are spending money on F1 it should be done in a way that has an effect on our normal technology of our core business. If we are shifting to this route Formula One will also become the leading edge of technology for our normal car business. That is the important shift we have to achieve. We can do it and F1 will still be an emotional event.
Q: Obviously you are speaking on behalf of the GPMA but is there 100% accord amongst the other members of the group?
Burkhard Göschel: It is the same idea for all the manufacturers because they want F1 to be integrated into their future business. If you are talking to, say, our Japanese friends, it is the same idea.
Q: Was it just the two of you at that breakthrough meeting in Nice?
Max Mosley: Dr Reul (BMW) was there as well.
Burkhard Göschel: After this meeting, Jürgen Reul and I thought we had made a big shift. We were so excited we went to the beach in Nice in our suits and ties and with our briefcases in hand, it was very warm and everyone was sitting in their bathing suits, so on the beach we both had a glass of red wine.
Q: You mentioned turbo-charging. Do you have any views on cubic-centimetre limits or when it might come in?
Max Mosley: The capacity would be up for discussion because we don't want to have a ridiculous level of horsepower. What we would be looking at is probably bringing in the regulation in 2011. There would then be a fuel-flow valve and you would size the engine so it still ran up in the 18,000-19,000 bracket, because that's what a racing engine is. Certainly, 15,000 plus. Then the size of the engine could be a function of the fuel you were using, probably a bio fuel, the amount of energy that teams were recovering from the brakes and then re-using, because that would increase the total power of the drivetrain, plus the energy recovered from surplus heat from the engine, also additional power for the drivetrain, and taking all those things into account we wouldn't want to have much more power than we have today. So you would work back from those parameters and that would then determine the size of the engine.
Burkhard Göschel: I agree. We have to develop the full picture of all components and then in the end we have to decide what kind of engine it is. But it has to be a racing engine, a real racing car, the top league of a race car. That is clear.
Q: What remains to be resolved then? Issues of rule-making? Rule-applying? Rule-changing?
Max Mosley: Really now there are no issues as such. We have simply set up a structure to determine the rules to fit into the parameters which we've agreed. This will be done over the next year or two. It will be an ongoing process. We may see new revolutions, particularly in the use of electronics, chassis dynamics, the relationship between electronics and the chassis. There are enormous possibilities there. And these will then be discussed by an expert group with members from the FIA and the manufacturers.
Q: Obviously we are all delighted to see peace in our time, but the warring has caused a bit of damage with lots of news in the media, lots of public criticism of each side. Maybe that has left a sense of dissatisfaction amongst stakeholders, fans and the media. Do you have in mind any programmes, whether that be marketing or PR, to push Formula One back to a happy situation, maybe help TV figures climb again, magazine sales climb again? What do you think?
Max Mosley: Today's meeting shows the end of any suggestion that there is conflict. If there is anything wrong with F1 from the point of view of TV figures, audience and that sort of thing, it hasn't come from the discussions about regulations. It has come from other matters.
There are issues about how we improve the show and that obviously is something to be discussed. It is by no means self-evident what should be done. We need to do a little bit more research there. If we know what would improve the show it is relatively easy technically to do what is necessary. Again you have to define the objectives and then the technology will follow.
I wouldn't accept that the FIA and manufacturer discussions over the past five years have damaged F1. I don't think the public takes too much notice. They are much more interested in whether Alonso did or did not impede Massa and things of that kind.
Q: I heard, around the time of Suzuka, that you said Max that you weren't sure the FIA needed to be a signatory of the new Concorde Agreement. Was that accurate? And, Professor Göschel, how important is it to you that the FIA is a signatory?
Burkhard Göschel: It is important and the most important thing is that we finish the Concorde Agreement. A new Concorde Agreement should be possible and should be done in a very short space of time in my opinion.
Max Mosley: I completely agree. Although the FIA clearly could survive without a Concorde Agreement, because for F1's first 30 years there was no Concorde Agreement, it would be much better to have one. I think now we have the basis for one because it is really a question of setting down formally that which has already been agreed.
Q: And you'd sign it?
Max Mosley: Yes.
Burkhard Göschel: That was one of the results of the past years that we found together with FOA. An agreement about the financial side of the business. That each team has a better financial situation. It doubles the income. And it helps to make F1 more stable than in the past so that is one of the successes.
And the other success, which we both made in our Nice meeting, is to take a common route and to show the way F1 has to go with future technologies that are relevant to the car industry.
Q: Do you both now feel like partners?
Burkhard Göschel: Yes.
Max Mosley: Yes. Absolutely.
Q: It is a bit astonishing for us because it is not so long ago that you Mr Mosley said the car manufacturers spend millions for nothing, and on the other side there were some people who didn't want to have an F1 guided by Mr Mosley and Mr Ecclestone. Now we see Mr Mosley and Mr Ecclestone in the same positions and the car manufacturers very happy. So what happened? How do we explain this?
Burkhard Göschel: One issue which has helped was the Memorandum of Understanding in Barcelona concerning the financial side. So we made the financial basis more stable. On the other side our commitment in Nice was we have the same targets in the end. So either we can do this together or we can fight against each other. So we made a commitment to work together. Today we made an agreement to discuss those issues we talked about before such as energy recovery, electronics. We want to bring the main issues the car industry is facing into the regulation work for F1. Now we can come together with the FIA and make regulations out of it.
Q: Would it be accurate to say that both sides have had to move to get to this point? If so, why did it take 5 years to achieve this?
Max Mosley: I think it took 5 years to achieve because Professor Göschel and I never sat down together before properly. The real problem was the discussions we had, generally speaking, were with the heads of the competition departments of the companies and not with the board. There is always a slight conflict there. The man who runs the competition department wants a big department with the maximum budget and maximum employees. Those on the board want the maximum success from motor sport with the minimum cost. It is really only the man on the board that is concerned with cost. Once we had started discussions at board level it became easy to move away from regulations questions, such as should the engine be 3 litres or 2.4 litres, into what we are trying to do, which is, run motor sport economically but also in a way which can be of more benefit to the car industry.
Continued in Part 2