FIA president Jean Todt determined to ensure costs remain under control in F1
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, June 14th 2012, 16:33 GMT|
FIA president Jean Todt says the governing body is intent on ensuring that costs are kept under control in Formula 1, amid concerns from some teams about a ramp up in expenditure for 2014.
With outfits bracing themselves for a likely increase in the money needed for customer engine deals for the new V6 turbos from 2014, there have been some suggestions that the less well-financed outfits may struggle to find more money amid the current worldwide financial turmoil.
Adding his voice to the worries earlier this week, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo called for urgent action to help save F1 from the economic situation in Europe.
Now, ahead of a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council on Friday, Todt has confirmed that the governing body is keen to undertake a co-operative stance with teams and engine manufacturers to try and help the situation.
"It is true that the  package will be more expensive, but it is also true that the FIA has been in consultation with the engine suppliers in order to reduce the cost increase," he told AUTOSPORT in an exclusive interview.
"For example we have already agreed to a reduction in the number of power units. From eight per driver per season in 2012, we will reduce this to five per driver in 2014 and to four per driver per season in 2015."
Todt called a meeting with F1 teams on the Monday after the Monaco GP to address the general costs situation in the sport, and has said that efforts to finalise the implementation of a Resource Restriction Agreement are ongoing behind closed doors.
"We are discussing this as we have been asked by 10 of our 12 teams to control costs," he said.
"The FIA's Chief Administrative Officer Damien Clermont is talking to the financial heads of all the 12 teams in F1 concerning the chassis costs and with all engine manufacturer for the engine costs. This follows the meeting with all the teams I called on the Monday after the Monaco GP."
One rule change that has been suggested by Renault to help reduce engine costs for 2014 is to free up the limit of supply deals that manufacturers are allowed to provide.
Currently, no manufacturer can provide more than three teams without express permission of the FIA - while Renault believes fallowing it to increase the number of its partners could help make deals cheaper.
Todt has indicated he is reluctant to embrace such a move, however, but would not rule it out if it was decided that it would be best for the sport.
"At the moment the plan is to continue to apply the existing rules, but of course if we need to adapt to a specific situation, we will look into it," he said. "It is up to the President of the FIA to make a proposal to the WMSC."
One thing Todt has ruled out completely is to make any imposition of radical rule changes without having gone through the normal channels of approval by the F1 Commission prior to any WMSC vote.
When asked if he believed the lack of a Concorde Agreement for 2014 meant the FIA was free to implement cost-saving rule changes that had the support of a majority of teams, Todt said: "In the first place, the FIA is responsible for the safety, and for all sporting and technical matters relating to the FIA F1 Championship.
"As such, the federation is in discussions regarding the conditions of a new Concorde Agreement with the Commercial Right Holders and the teams, and this will define the F1 Commission.
"As these talks are ongoing, and until they are resolved, any changes to the 2013 Championship Regulations should comply with the relevant provisions of the International Sporting Code."
* For a full analysis on the 2014 engine situation - including what the costs for teams are likely to be and what manufacturers are doing to help the situation – see this week's AUTOSPORT and Dieter Rencken's Weekly Grapevine.