'Engine fund' talks continue
|By Jonathan Noble||Sunday, July 16th 2006, 08:18 GMT|
Formula One's engine manufacturers are still trying to put together a deal for an 'Engine Fund' for the independent teams, despite their earlier offer being rejected by rival teams and the FIA on Saturday afternoon.
The carmakers have until 4pm on Sunday to reach a unanimous agreement on engine rules if they are to head off the threat of a full engine freeze from 2008.
The unanimous agreement rests on the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association (GPMA) forming a £48 million (70 million Euro) fund that will ensure a supply of customer engines for a five-year period.
That deal would require a contribution of around 15 million Euros each from the manufacturers - but so far they have only offered 10 million Euros. FIA president Max Mosley made it clear in an hour-long meeting with the teams on Saturday afternoon that there would be no compromise on the original figure.
The collapse of talks on Saturday has been followed by further meetings in the paddock, and talks are likely to continue on Sunday morning to try and find a deal that will be accepted by the independent teams and the FIA.
Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug has said that he hopes a solution can be found.
"We want to help try and build a safety net but whether it works I don't know," he said. "This is not financing a competitor, it is building a fund just in case somebody drops out and helping the independent teams. I think it is a good gesture.
"Having said that, you are aware of what the V8 engines are costing currently and what is on the table at the moment is a 30 percent cost cut, which is a quite impressive figure.
"We really have worked day and night to find solutions and, believe me, the manufacturers are strong and committed, but it is not so easy to bring your various ideas together.
"At the beginning, a few years ago, you could not even mention rev limits, I would still have loved to have a V10 engine with 750bhp and an over-rev button with an additional 200bhp because this would have given excitement, but no one was listening at the time.
"That is the past. Now, we have 20,000rpm with the V8 but it is not a cheap issue. So, we need to further improve and there are positive talks and I hope we find a common solution."