Formula One Teams' Association and the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body of the sport, have agreed on cost-cutting measures to ensure the future of Formula One. Proposals will be presented Friday for adoption by the...
Formula One Teams' Association and the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body of the sport, have agreed on cost-cutting measures to ensure the future of Formula One.
Proposals will be presented Friday for adoption by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council. Details will be released once proposals are confirmed.
Meeting in Monaco on Wednesday, the two groups, fronted respectively by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo and FIA president Max Mosley, issued statements affirming a cooperative atmosphere.
"The unity of the teams was fundamental to meeting the goals for a new Formula One, but with the same DNA, as requested by the FIA," di Montezemelo said.
Said Mosley, "I am delighted with the outcome of this meeting."
Read an FIA statement, "FIA and FOTA (the Formula One Teams' Association) have had the most successful meeting on Formula One matters which any of the participants can remember. Agreement was reached on measures to meet all the objectives originally put forward by the FIA for 2010 and thereafter. In addition to which, FOTA have now made proposals for very significant cost saving in 2009 while maintaining Formula One at the pinnacle of motor sport and reinforcing its appeal."
True to political inclinations, harmony and light were not achieved without a near kerfuffle. Reports circulated before the meeting that Renault might be drifting from the FOTA camp to the point of view of the FIA proposals. Renault issued a news release to repudiate the speculation.
The teams' association formed in response to Mosley's summertime declaration of financial unsustainability of F1 that has been since driven home by this fall's economic downturn and global credit crisis. Last weekend's pullout of the sport by Japan's second-largest carmaker, Honda -- explained pointedly by CEO Takeo Fukui as a result of the current business climate -- further emphasized F1's connection to real-world economics.
Among proposals to cut costs, Mosley had called for a single powertrain specification, a proposal that met immediate resistance. Suppliers Cosworth (engine), Xtrac and Ricardo (gearbox) were subsequently contracted and specifications developed.
Also on Wednesday, Mosley told assembled colleagues at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco in a keynote speech that "What is wrong with Formula One today was wrong before any of the present economic problems cropped up. Essentially, it's the rules, which have become ever more restrictive."
The body Mosley heads, the FIA, handles rules.
"We must stabilize the system with a base engine which anyone can have and which is inexpensive, as well as a standard gearbox," Mosley told the conference. "That will stabilize Formula One until we can bring in new energy-efficient engines which undoubtedly will be the future."
Mosley called for more innovation and less "pointless" expense, making an example of lightweight wheel nuts that cost $1,000 each. The team using them requires 1,000 per season, he said. He also chided the Ferrari response to his push for kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS), optional in 2009. Ferrari had called the systems "too complicated."
"Can you imagine the great F1 engineers like (Colin) Chapman or (Keith) Duckworth saying, 'I can't do that because it is too complicated'?"
Mosley warned that Honda might not be the only team that responds to the current money mess by ceasing F1 operation, and he urged teams to take an innovative attitude toward expense-cutting to assure F1's place as technical pinnacle of motorsport.