Teams unite to cut costs, except Ferrari

Nine of the ten Formula One teams have united to propose cost-cutting measures for the future, with the notable exception of Ferrari. The team bosses have for once managed to agree on something and have issued proposals that they claim will not...

Nine of the ten Formula One teams have united to propose cost-cutting measures for the future, with the notable exception of Ferrari. The team bosses have for once managed to agree on something and have issued proposals that they claim will not only reduce financial overheads but also improve the spectacle of the sport.

The teams, including Ferrari, met with Bernie Ecclestone at Interlagos on Friday but the Scuderia was absent from Saturday's meeting where bosses agreed to a 19 race calendar to include France and Britain, if their cost-cutting measures were implemented for 2005.

"Mr Ecclestone proposed a 19 race calendar, which included the French and British Grands Prix as the 18th and 19th races respectively," the statement said. "The attending teams agreed that if the significant cost-saving measures outlined could be instituted by 2005, this would allow the French and British Grands Prix to proceed."

Tyres and testing were the main points of the teams' proposals. They want to see extensive tyre testing drastically reduced, if not eliminated completely. General testing would also be cut back, to 10 days during the season but have two two-hour sessions on Fridays of race weekends.

However, all the teams must agree for the proposals to be accepted. "In order to bring these measures into force for the 2005 season, unanimous agreement is required," the statement concluded. "This is something it is hoped can be achieved over the coming weeks."

Minardi team principal Paul Stoddart stressed that this was a very important move by the teams. "This is a major, major step," he said, according to Reuters. "Don't underestimate the seriousness of the teams involved here to doing something finally to address the problems of Formula One."

"The next step obviously is to see if we can get Ferrari to agree to this, see if we can have a British and French Grand Prix and see if we can start saving money."

"If they (Ferrari) don't sign then I would imagine that the rest of us are committed to this, the rest of us may well start implementing some of this without Ferrari," he added.

"It's up to them then to decide whether to join us or not. I can't at the moment think of another issue where nine teams went with something and one didn't. There are measures to bring this in. What non-unanimity would mean is only a delay of the inevitable..."

Ferrari is the team that tests most extensively, often at two tracks simultaneously, and no doubt will not be keen to reduce its testing activities. Sauber, which Ferrari supplies with engines and runs the same Bridgestone tyres, usually supports the Scuderia but Peter Sauber was reportedly the last to sign the agreement.

With the nine other teams united, Ferrari is under a lot of pressure to add its signature, or be blamed for helping the demise the British and French Grands Prix. A difficult situation for team principal Jean Todt, a Frenchman, who claims he was not invited to the Saturday meeting.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Peter Sauber , Jean Todt , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Minardi