Williams & McLaren take FIA to arbitration

The Williams and McLaren Formula One teams are to take the FIA to arbitration in regard to the new rule changes. The two teams believe the regulations will be a threat to safety and will also contribute to the 'dumbing down' of the sport. Williams...

The Williams and McLaren Formula One teams are to take the FIA to arbitration in regard to the new rule changes. The two teams believe the regulations will be a threat to safety and will also contribute to the 'dumbing down' of the sport. Williams and McLaren said that the FIA is in breach of the Concorde Agreement that covers the running of the World Championship intend to challenge the new rules.

The Technical Working Group believes the reduction of time available to teams to carry out checks on the cars between qualifying and the race, along with the banning of two-way telemetry, is a serious threat to safety.

"Led by Frank Williams and Ron Dennis, WilliamsF1 and McLaren are deeply concerned that FIA President Max Mosley is seeking to introduce changes the combined effect of which would undermine the fundamental values of Formula One as the pinnacle of motorsport and a technological showcase," it said in a statement released by the two teams. "Furthermore, both teams have deep concerns that the F1 Technical Working Group, which is made up of the technical directors from each of the Teams, believes that the changes could increase the safety risk for drivers."

"The FIA is trying to 'dumb down' Formula One," said Ron Dennis. "It has introduced sweeping new regulations for the 2003 season without proper consultation with the Teams. We want Formula One to be stable, well run and professionally administered to ensure the continued success of the sport."

"There is no doubt that Formula One needs to change and evolve and McLaren and WilliamsF1 have always played a constructive role in initiating and supporting positive measures to improve our sport. Sensible proposals are already on the table. At a meeting on 4th December 2002, the Formula One Teams agreed to introduce a range of measures that would have reduced costs and given the smaller teams the necessary support to ensure their participation for the whole of the 2003 season. These measures included the prohibition of qualifying cars, an acceptance of standard materials and equipment and an arrangement with a number of manufacturers to supply low cost engines to the independent teams."

Sir Frank Williams concurred: "Some of these changes are against the spirit of Formula One, its restless drive for excellence and its need to live on the technological cutting edge. We believe that the FIA are taking an unnecessarily pessimistic view of the future of Formula One. The FIA's proposals will remove and destroy many aspects and facets of our sport that have helped it prosper and thrive in the last 20 years. They are damaging to the very nature of Formula One and limit its differentiation from other forms of motor sport."

"It is misleading to suggest that Formula One is in crisis - it remains a uniquely popular and highly successful sport. Unfortunately, only a fraction of those revenues generated by Formula One remain in the sport and go to the teams. Addressing this issue is the surest way of delivering stable and successful independent teams."

Williams and McLaren have set out their opinions in a letter to FIA president Max Mosely and state that they intend to go to arbitration. They believe the FIA is being overly pessimistic in its view of the future of F1 and the new rules destroy many aspects of the sport that have kept it thriving for the last thirty years. The two teams think the removal of technology will damage F1 and make it less the pinnacle of motorsport and more like other racing series', which would lessen F1's appeal.

"To reiterate, in our judgement, and we understand that this is a view shared by the vast majority of the teams and manufacturers, some of the measures you have imposed are seriously damaging to the future of Formula One, as are your proposed changes for 2004 and beyond," the letter summed up. "Together, in the opinion of the Technical Working Group, they run the risk of reducing safety, damaging the fundamental values of Formula One through the dumbing down of the sport and of driving the automotive manufacturers out of the series."

With only two weeks to go before the season opener at Melbourne, it seems that the new rules are currently creating more problems in F1 rather than making the sport better. It's well known that McLaren invested a great deal of money on technology for its new car and is unhappy about the scrapping of driver aids, although Williams remained non-committal about the recent changes until now.

The FIA appears unconcerned, its offcial comment on the situation was: "Any Formula One team is entitled to seek arbitration under the terms of the Concorde Agreement. The FIA is confident that its position will be upheld."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Frank Williams
Teams McLaren , Williams