Teams agree on less testing and 19 races

Nine team bosses and Bernie Ecclestone met in London on November 9th and have struck a deal for a 19-race calendar in 2005, and to reduce in-season testing. The test limit originally proposed at a previous meeting in Brazil was for 10 days during...

Nine team bosses and Bernie Ecclestone met in London on November 9th and have struck a deal for a 19-race calendar in 2005, and to reduce in-season testing. The test limit originally proposed at a previous meeting in Brazil was for 10 days during the season, but that has reportedly been extended to 24 days -- still a 50% reduction. The 10-day limit is still hoped to come into practice in 2006.

With the cost-cutting measures in place, the nine teams have agreed on a commercial deal that will see France and Britain included on the 2005 calendar. "We believe agreement was reached today that removes any obvious obstacle for the British and French GPs to take place," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis, according to Autosport.

However, the British GP still depends on Ecclestone and the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) signing a deal. "We haven't got a contract with Silverstone yet, but I would be shattered and disappointed if we didn't get a deal," said Ecclestone.

A statement issued by the BRDC this afternoon said: "The BRDC have not yet been officially informed of any proposal by FOM, but if there is a new proposal to safeguard the British Grand Prix in 2005 which makes financial sense for the sport, the industry, the Club and especially the local economy, it will be seriously considered by the Board of the BRDC."

Ecclestone had no complaints to make about what was a productive meeting. "I've never been to a meeting that was so positive," he commented. "We are a long way to making it a better world championship. We have not done a good enough job in the last few years."

The tyre issue appears to be unresolved: the idea of just one tyre manufacturer in the sport has been shelved for the foreseeable future. The teams want to see a 'control tyre' bought in and will need the ratification of the F1 Commission for that to go ahead in 2006.

Ferrari was not present at the meeting and it's yet to be seen how the Scuderia will react to the revised testing cut. The team does not have to agree to reduce its own testing activities but will be cast in an unfavourable light if it doesn't and the rest of the teams do. "I think they will come along," said Ecclestone. "It's positive news for a change."

Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart believes the matter should be straightforward. "The 10 teams will get paid an equal amount and each and every team will lose money on this but we did it for the interests of the sport," he told Reuters. "All Ferrari have to do is accept the same amount of money and turn up and all Max (Mosley) has to do is agree (to the extra races)."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Minardi