Another 25% has to be cut from F1 teams' budget next year, says FIA Vice President

Dubai, UAE, 17th December, 2008: Mohammed Ben Sulayem says more major cost cutting is essential to safeguard the future of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Sulayem, the newly elected Vice President of the FIA for Sport, fully backed the series of measures agreed in Monaco last week by the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) to cut the budgets of F1 teams by at least 30%.

Big savings will be made on engine costs, in-season testing and staff numbers, following a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Monaco.

FIA President Max Mosley had wanted all teams to use a "one size fits all" standardised Cosworth engine. The teams rejected that proposal but have agreed to use lower-cost, longer-lasting engines from 2009.

From 2010 there will be a ban on refuelling and, subject to market research, Grand Prix distances could be shortened.

Giving a press briefing in Dubai today after attending last Friday's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Monaco, Sulayem, President of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, the official representative of the FIA in the Emirates, said: "The measures agreed so far will cut around 30% off the budget spent of F1 teams, but we'll need to reduce this by another 25% next year."

Sulayem, the first Arab ever to gain a place on the World Motor Sport Council, says it is essential that more detailed research is carried out before a final decision is reached on proposals by Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula 1 Management, for Olympic style medals, rather than points, to decide the Formula One driver's title

Using this system, Ferrari's Felipe Massa would have been the 2008 F1 champion rather than McLaren's Lewis Hamilton because he scored six wins last year compared with Hamilton's five victories.

If Ecclestone's proposal is adopted, the top three drivers will receive gold, silver and bronze medals instead of ten, eight and six points.

Fourth placed finishers would not earn points towards the drivers' championship although their placings would count for the overall rankings. Points would continue to be awarded for the constructors' championship.

"We're going to study this in much greater detail before a decision is reached at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in March," said Sulayem.