GPWC group against FIA decision

Grand Prix World Championship, the breakaway group that proposes to run its own rival championship from 2008, has spoken out against the FIA's most recent rule changes. Manufacturers DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Renault, BMW and Ferrari (which has ...

Grand Prix World Championship, the breakaway group that proposes to run its own rival championship from 2008, has spoken out against the FIA's most recent rule changes. Manufacturers DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Renault, BMW and Ferrari (which has become shareholders instead of FIAT) that make up the GPWC, believe the latest regulation changes will undermine Formula One's position as the pinnacle of motorsport.

Relations between the FIA and GPWC have been uneasy since the rival group announced its intentions to stage its own series once the current Concorde Agreement comes to an end. Now the GPWC has released a statement saying the FIA has disregarded cost cutting measures proposed by teams in December last year and that F1 needs to keep its levels of high technological advancement.

"The manufacturers are in favour of reducing costs, but Formula One needs to keep its fundamental characteristic that it is a showcase for the highest level of technology, a place where the most advanced research is applied," the statement read. "It is also important that any change to the rules be established with sufficient advance notice knowing also that any change whatsoever inevitably increases cost, at least in the short term."

"Therefore GPWC is dismayed to note that the cost cutting measures already proposed by the teams in December last year and supported by the manufacturers have effectively been partially disregarded by the FIA. These measures were widely agreed to be reasonable and adequate and would without doubt have considerably reduced costs and fully enhanced the spectacle of Formula One."

"While it does not believe that the content, and manner of implementation of Wednesday's proposed changes are consistent with the contractual framework under which Formula One operates, GPWC is committed to resolving matters in a manner that supports the sport."

"GPWC will therefore ask the teams affiliated to its members to analyse the appropriate mechanisms available to them, to ensure that changes are not implemented, or precedents set, that will cause problems for Formula One, the teams and the drivers in the future."

It's speculated that the manufacturers involved in F1 that comprise the GPWC may even boycott the first race in Melbourne, only seven weeks away. The group feels the regulations changes that apply to the 2003 championship have come too late to be put into practice: "If the teams are unable to implement these rule changes, there will be a major problem come Melbourne," Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug was quoted as saying by the Swiss press.

If the GPWC do boycott the Australian Grand Prix, only BAR, Sauber, Toyota, Minardi and Jordan would be on the gird, a scenario that appears highly unlikely.

FIA president Max Mosley is not about to be bullied by the manufacturers complaints: "If a manufacturer doesn't like the changes, then that is OK," he told the Guardian newspaper. "And if a big manufacturer aims at retreating from Formula One for this reason, then that is OK too. We gain more through the change of the rules, than what we lose through the retreat of the manufacturers."

Meanwhile, the Technical Working Group that met on Friday to discuss the FIA changes apparently could not come to any agreement as another meeting is scheduled for Monday. Team technical directors argued financial and safety reasons against the latest batch of new rules -- it appears McLaren is most unhappy about the banning of electronic devices as the new MP4-18, due to debut at Imola, is being heralded as a major technological advancement.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Norbert Haug
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Minardi , Jordan