FIA interview with Mosley and Goschel (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1 Q: What about the teams that don't have a big car manufacturer as a partner, how do they fit into the picture? Burkhard Göschel: They are mostly a group with engines coming from a big car manufacturer, or drivetrains,...

Continued from Part 1

Q: What about the teams that don't have a big car manufacturer as a partner, how do they fit into the picture?

Burkhard Göschel: They are mostly a group with engines coming from a big car manufacturer, or drivetrains, and in future they might take other technologies such as the engine recovery items. We are selling engines for example to other teams. This will continue, especially if technology is going in different areas. As a manufacturer we want to have a field where not only manufacturers are racing against each other. We want to have the smaller teams on the grid. That is our target also.

Max Mosley: It's also true to say that there is a complete understanding from the manufacturers that we need to keep the independent teams going. For example, in 2009 anyone who wants can fit the device which recovers the energy from braking and uses it again for acceleration. But an independent team, or indeed a manufacturer, does not have to develop that technology. There will be a set price for which those who have developed the technology are obliged to sell it to another team. So manufacturer 'A' might decide not to spend the money on developing the device. But they will have to buy it from Manufacturer 'B'. That happens in the real world between manufacturers anyway. But if I've got an independent team, I can go along to whichever manufacturer has developed the most successful system and buy it ready made. The manufacturer is actually pleased to sell it because it shows his technology is the best.

So it is a win-win situation in contrast to where we were previously where there was this great race to get more and more power out of the engines, which was so hideously expensive, hundreds of millions of Euros, that manufacturers couldn't afford to sell engines very cheaply to the teams.

Q: Could that principle extend to other areas of the car?

Max Mosley: I'd like it to but it has to be business-like. For example, if the 2009 device is very small, very light, very efficient, it will revolutionise the way hybrid cars are made. That's very interesting for the manufacturer who develops it. But also it has to be a device that the manufacturer can put on a road car. So it can't be a multi-million dollar device, it's got to be cost efficient.

Burkhard Göschel: This business of selling components is usual within the car industry and you will see this in F1. There will be different solutions for different manufacturers.

Q: Mr Mosley, you have always said you can't trust the manufacturers in F1, they come and go as they like...

Max Mosley: That was certainly not meant in the sense that they are not honest but rather recognising that when it suits a manufacturer to come into F1 they will come in and when it suits them to leave they will leave. This is absolutely true but the whole purpose of this agreement is not to put them in a position where it suits them to leave. That means that the value they get from F1 is not just marketing but marketing and technology. That will make it much less likely for a manufacturer to want to leave. In fact, if we do a good enough job, if there is enough technology, if it is relevant enough, and the rate of research is quick enough, and the training of the young engineers is good enough it will be extremely difficult for a manufacturer to leave.

Q: The more F1 copes with future technologies in the car industry, the more F1 is the perfect marketing tool for the manufacturers. So this new philosophy, this new deal, is a good gift for the manufacturers...

Burkhard Göschel: Yes. But we should not forget that we have a common interest to keep F1 alive. Going down this route is where the manufacturers want to be in the future and we are spending money to stabilise F1 in the future. The manufacturers are a major part of F1 and we want to make it much more stable in the future.

Max Mosley: There's an element here where the tide of world opinion has just turned, and you'll see this particularly with regard to global warming. There is a distinct movement of public opinion everywhere. I think with the changes we're making we've just caught that tide. But if we hadn't done it now we'd have missed the tide, F1 would have been left behind and eventually it would die because it would become less and less relevant.

By embracing these technologies and making these changes with the manufacturers I think we catch the tide and we can swim with it. It is absolutely fundamental because there is a huge change of opinion now. That's why when Burkhard says the key issue for the industry is CO2 you see this in every area. Now suddenly F1 can help make a contribution.

Q: Bearing that in mind, is the 'fuel-burning' stage of F1 qualifying something we are likely to look at in future?

Max Mosley: Absolutely. I think together with the teams -- if we want to change that for 2007 we need unanimity -- one of the suggestions is that we take 5 minutes off and allow an extra set of tyres. Then you are going to see non-stop action. Then whether you run with fuel or without fuel is a discussion again. But I think everyone is conscious of that.

Q: What do you both feel will be a competitive budget for a team in F1 under the new regulations?

Max Mosley: What we feel would be reasonable would be an F1 team with not more than 200 employees and able to run at the front for a budget in the order of Euros 100m. That is the objective. Now I'm not saying we have yet done the things that allow that objective to be achieved but that is the objective.

Burkhard Göschel: I agree. Our numbers are a little bit higher but we have to reduce costs to avoid a 2005 situation and in my opinion it is possible to do that. We have to find regulations which restrict areas that are not so interesting for the future of the car industry. For every car manufacturer reducing costs in F1 is an issue. Even with the biggest car manufacturer in F1 they are discussing reducing costs. Because you can make a lot of cars with that money. It has to be of equivalent value with your marketing experience and spending you have.

Q: Tomorrow morning we will read about CO2 emissions, energy reduction, and maybe some headlines will be that F1 is going to be part of a new 'eco-system', is this the message you want to give us?

Burkhard Göschel: It should be but you don't want to forget the emotions. You have to have a very exciting show and you also have to follow the idea of reducing fuel consumption. But the excitement should stay with F1. This excitement level in my opinion could be improved.

Q: Is it an important sign for society that you as a car manufacturer feel a certain responsibility for the environment?

Burkhard Göschel: We as a manufacturer are very conscious about the subject and I can tell you so is the FIA. The biggest spending we have in the car industry at the moment is on reducing CO2. Combining it in F1 is new. But we both feel that is the right way to step forward. It's the modern way of F1. There might be some traditionalists that are a little bit surprised, but changes are positive.

Max Mosley: If you think about it in a very simple way, whether you have a three litre engine, for example, that just burns the fuel and does the best it can and gives you, say, 800 horsepower or whether you have a 2 litre engine that gives you 650hp but the other 150 horsepower comes because you've found a clever way of re-using the heat from the engines and turning it into propulsive energy and if that technology is also CO2 saving and of direct relevance to the car industry then you have really achieved something. You have the best of both worlds. You've got exactly the same excitement, sound and feel of F1 but a proportion of the energy is generated with some very clever cutting edge technology.

Burkhard Göschel: To give you an idea, if you are braking in an F1 car from 320kph to 80kph this creates around 2500 kilowatts. 3000 horsepower, in just a few seconds.

Q: OK, I'm convinced this type of car you are talking about is the type I might want to buy for my family, but is it the car I want to see racing?

Max Mosley: If you sit in the grandstand watching a 2010 F1 car, you will not be able to tell the difference between that car and today's car. But you will know if you are someone who follows the technology that it has technology which makes that car extremely efficient. When you go into the showroom to buy your BMW, you'll be amazed to hear that this car has the same or similar technology and has the same or better performance than the car of 5 years ago but only uses 60 per cent of the fuel.

Q. Isn't it a contradiction on the one hand to speak about developing cutting edge technology and on the other to talk about cost-cutting?

Max Mosley: The first cost-cutting is to eliminate the hunt for more expenditure, which was the hunt for more revs from the engine, costing millions of Euros. Collectively the car manufacturers were spending more than a billion Euros a year on that. Research on the energy recovery and regenerative braking is already happening in the car industry. So there will only be a marginal difference between that and what will be needed in F1. Plus those components are inherently less expensive than engines, which have around 2000 components. All in all you don't have to make enormous changes, there will be less expenditure and it will be industry relevant.

Burkhard Göschel: The main point is that this kind of development is not a waste. It is in our main research budget anyway. It translates into the normal car business much easier than the technology we are using in F1 today.

Q: One of the sticky areas has been the FIA's manner of regulating the sport, the way the rules are created and applied. You've always given the impression that you don't think the teams are the right people to come up with the rules and to have any major say. Has the attitude now shifted?

Max Mosley: In a sense yes because the big change is we now have a mechanism for sitting down with the manufacturers at board level to agree on objectives. Once you have agreed on the objectives then doing the rules becomes a relatively straightforward task. Not straightforward technically because there are a lot of aspects but politically it becomes easier.

Burkhard Göschel: That is the most important point, that discussion takes place at board level and not at team level.

Q: So just to be clear on that, the Ron Dennis's of this world would be completely bypassed and it would be people at the board level of Mercedes that would be talking about rules, is that right?

Max Mosley: I do not think this means we bypass Ron Dennis. It would be a three-stage process. One, you would get a decision at board level on what we are trying to do, for example, are we going to have a completely new engine in 2011 and if so what will that engine be? Then you have the technical experts from the major manufacturers who will flesh that policy out. Then you would have input from the technical experts at the teams on the details of the rules. They would work out how to achieve the predefined objectives.

That's a completely different process from what we've had. The row used to be between the teams about what the objective was and it would be complicated by the fact that everyone in the room would have a vested interest in some particular technology or device. On top of which they are all enormously conservative.

Q: Are the likes of Ron Dennis and Jean Todt going to accept that?

Burkhard Göschel: I think so. The main technology has to be defined at board level. Then it is fixed and realised at team level. If this means we bypass Ron Dennis then so be it.

Q: How will this be structured? Will you have regular meetings?

Burkhard Göschel: We will have regular meetings because we need to be thinking about the next steps. So we decided this morning that we would have a meeting to define the next areas we should look to introduce into F1 which are relevant to the car industry. Some new areas will have something to do with software technology and also chassis development. But it has to be driven from manufacturer level alongside the FIA, not from the teams. It will be a common working group made up of GPMA and FIA members.

Max Mosley: We are completely dependent on the manufacturers because they know what will come in four, five or ten years time. So it is a case of sitting down with them and discussing which of these developments can we use in F1. Obviously there are whole areas of technology which you can't use in F1 for one reason or another. But there are areas you can. So we have to decide which technologies to bring in, when to bring them in and how. You may find, for instance, we free up a lot of areas to do with the chassis and chassis dynamics, allow more electronics. On the other hand, in the short term we will be putting a stop to massive research into F1 aerodynamics because that is something that is manifestly irrelevant to road cars. It is a complete waste. At the moment every team has at least one windtunnel, some have two, they are running 24 hour shifts and this is research into something which outside F1 is completely irrelevant. Yet hundreds of very clever people are employed doing it.

That's an area that in a rational world you would slowly reduce and then shut down. Whereas things to do with chassis dynamics, a lot of that is the future, the interactions between the different systems on the car and the most efficient way of running the drivetrain, all of these are relevant to the car industry.

Continued in Part 3

-credit: fia

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jean Todt
Teams Mercedes