FOTA says crisis can be good for F1
|By Jonathan Noble and Matt Beer||Thursday, March 5th 2009, 16:09 GMT|
The Formula One Teams' Association believes that it can turn the global ecnomic into an opportunity to give Formula One a stronger future for all parties involved.
FOTA unveiled its full proposals for F1 in a press conference in Geneva today, calling for a raft of changes to dramatically reduce budgets over the coming years, and to enhance both the level of entertainment in F1 and its presentation on television and in the media.
The plans include the immediate introduction of a new points system to increase the rewards for race winners, further substantial cost cuts through development restrictions and standardised parts, including KERS, and making additional data available to fans and television viewers.
The changes relating to the sporting regulations, such as the revised points, must be ratified by the FIA before they can be adopted.
McLaren chairman Ron Dennis said from a starting point of seeking to reduce costs, FOTA had put in place a framework that would allow F1 to not just survive, but grow.
"The initial objective was to address the issue of costs," he said. "We represent probably over 100 people who have been focused on this objective and we want to communicate to everybody that we are about going forward, taking this very difficult crisis as an opportunity and a challenge, and making F1 better for everybody.
"We have no enemies, nobody who is in F1 constitutes for us anything other than a player and a contributor. We are here to make F1 better and that is our clear intention."
FOTA chairman and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo believes that such sweeping changes, particularly in regards to cost cuts, could never have been achieved without the formation of the teams' body.
"In 2009 we have achieved the reduction of engine price, an important reduction of engine price, a reduction of testing, limitations in aerodynamic development activity, savings in a critical, critical year, so this year was the most important year to be approached in terms of strong cost reduction," he said.
"This would simply not have happened without FOTA and we are quite proud of this - again with unanimous agreement between the teams.
"Our goal is that we can have a budget saving from 2008 to 2010 of up to 50 percent. A 50 percent overall reduction in only two years. And we will work also on 2011 and 2012."
He said that along with the progress on cutting expenditure, increasing F1's profile had become an equally important priority for FOTA.
"We have done a lot of work, even in commitment to engage the audience, this is looking ahead," said di Montezemolo.
"The triangle is crucial, the collaboration is crucial with FIA and FOM to introduce current and future ideas to improve the sport, the show and the spectacle; to engage the audience through improved coverage in the sport, and, this is extremely important, to expand the use of new media. We see a lot of room to improve in that area and this is something we want to work very hard."
But he added that FOTA also needed to address the issue of how F1 revenues are shared now that the teams had delivered on their commitment to cut budgets.
"We have been extremely busy and determined to cut costs and now we have to work on the revenues for the future," di Montezemolo said.
"This is automatic in every company - the balance between cost and revenue to sustain the future for current teams, but also to give room and be attractive for new entrants."