FOTA set to reveal plans for F1 revamp
|By Jonathan Noble||Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 15:35 GMT|
Plans to revise the qualifying format, adjustments to the points structure, mandatory tyre changes and more availability of team data for fans are believed to be some of the proposals due to unveiled by the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) in Geneva on Thursday.
The teams' body is holding its first official press conference since its formation last year. The event has been billed as a chance for the sport's competitors to outline their vision for a better F1, and will be graced by each team principal.
The original FOTA invitation said: "These plans are the result of a series of meetings held over the past few weeks and months, all of them with a common goal: to make Formula One commercially sustainable, environmentally friendly and compellingly attractive for spectators, TV viewers and internet consumers alike for years to come."
The final touches to the top secret proposals were put together on Wednesday when senior management from FOTA's teams met in Geneva to discuss the findings of a global market research survey conducted with fans.
Although FOTA has kept quiet about the plans for the press conference, autosport.com understands that it will take the shape of a main address from chairman Luca di Montezemolo before presentations from Ross Brawn on technical aspects, Martin Whitmarsh on sporting matters and Flavio Briatore on commercial points.
The three men are expected to unveil ideas that FOTA has come up and would like to see implemented in F1.
Sources suggest they will outline plans for some immediate changes to benefit fans - which will include the distribution of refueling and tyre data before the race, plus more widespread access to radio transmissions. They could also outline ideas to revamp the points system for 2009 – although it is not thought they will accept Bernie Ecclestone's suggestion for a medal system.
Longer term it is understood that FOTA is looking at more testing restrictions, a revised qualifying format and the introduction of mandatory pit stops even though refueling will be banned.
It is understood that FOTA will also announce plans to look into future track designs to help overtaking, plus implement further cost cutting measures for 2010 including the standardisation of KERS, limitations on materials that can be used and bodywork homologation.
Di Montezemolo said earlier this year that he felt F1's future would be best served if the sport's stakeholders worked together.
"I think the fundamental thing for F1 is to have a stable governance that doesn't create fights and constant changes every year, and that looks to the future with a strong unity of goals," he said.
"This is a sport with great potential that must however increase and maintain its characteristics, by putting together who goes to the circuits, the technological innovations offered by TV, starting from high-definition and everything else that innovates the show, like Internet and whatnot.
"We need to work all together on this: no one has a monopoly in F1. We need respect of the roles, but also a push towards the future."