Cautious reaction to FIA proposals

Formula One team personnel have so far reacted cautiously but optimistically to the FIA's proposed regulation changes, due to come into effect in 2008. The sport's governing body is aiming to cut costs and improve the spectacle of F1 with ...

Formula One team personnel have so far reacted cautiously but optimistically to the FIA's proposed regulation changes, due to come into effect in 2008. The sport's governing body is aiming to cut costs and improve the spectacle of F1 with suggestions such as banning driver aids, having only one tyre supplier and reducing private testing.

Minardi principal Paul Stoddart was naturally enthusiastic for any changes that help the smaller teams. "Max (Mosely, FIA president) has been championing changes and cost saving for some time," he commented. "It will lay down the gauntlet for the shape of F1 to come, offering more competition and opportunity for teams."

Engine power could be cut to 2.4 litres, reducing the speed of the cars, which has been a subject of much discussion recently. This proposal has been met with some approval, but the teams don't want restrictions in technical and design areas.

"Generally, I think the gist of the proposals was to slow the cars down and we at Honda are in favour of having a very safe formula but at the same time, allowing the design freedom and technical challenges that Formula One poses today," said Honda vice president Otmar Szafnauer. "In general, we would be against any changes that take away the technical challenges from our engineers."

Ferrari could have a lot to lose with the new regulations, as it is the team that tests most extensively and certainly has the edge on the rest of the field in the performance stakes at the moment. However, as far as the engine proposals are concerned, Paolo Martinelli was optimistic.

"We think the aim of the proposals is very positive," said the head of Ferrari's engine department. "We have to consider what we can do for the future of the sport. We have to give priority to safety, to maintain or improve the spectacle and to design a formula that still allows for the peak of technology but at reasonable cost. I think we are pleased at the approach."

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said he supported the objectives of the proposals but the solutions needed discussion. "Main objectives are safety and cost reduction and in my view the cost reduction is the most urgent one," he said. "If we think we need to do something about it I think we should try and get it done before 2008 and not as late as that."

The option of having only one tyre supplier was met with reserve from Michelin's Pierre Dupasquier. "We will think about the one tyre Formula One but it is not the case of a decision today," he commented. "We have until 2008 so a long way to go."

That aside, the Frenchman was supportive of the need for change in F1. He is respectful of Ferrari's achievements but thinks the competition has disappeared. "For Formula One to exist they have to think about changes," said Dupasquier. "At the moment Formula One doesn't exist anymore -- it is just ridiculous but we have to accept what Ferrari are doing."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Mario Theissen , Paolo Martinelli
Teams Ferrari , Minardi