FOTA in new cost-cutting push
|By Jonathan Noble||Sunday, April 10th 2011, 04:11 GMT|
Formula 1 teams are hoping to close in on a fresh cost-cutting deal to help secure the future of the sport during a meeting ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix, AUTOSPORT can reveal.
Members of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) are to gather pre-race at Sepang to go through a number of topics - including work on amendments to the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA), discussions about the organisation's chief officers and ongoing talks about the Concorde Agreement.
Although the teams have already agreed a basic framework for the RRA based on a deal signed at last year's Singapore Grand Prix, there remain differences of opinion about further changes that it is hoped will help add stability to the whole grid.
Sources suggest that there are a number of issues that need resolving – including the use of outside suppliers, how spending on future KERS/power train development should be ring-fenced and also how breaches of RRA spending limits should be dealt with.
FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh believes that finding an updated RRA that all the teams are happy with is vital for the sport going forward.
"It is important," he told AUTOSPORT. "There is a desire to extend it into the powertrain which I think is eminently sensible, but we have to continue to grow and develop it. People have expressed different opinions, but we have to go forward.
"F1 needs it. You don't have to go too far down the pitlane to know that unless we can continue to go down the path of controlling and reducing costs in F1 there will be problems.
"It is okay for some of us at this end to say that it doesn't feel like a real and immediate priority – but if we don't do it then we won't have people to race against. It is as simple as that.
"I believe that I represent the interests of McLaren and the teams to say that we have to bring down the costs for all of us of being competitive in F1."
Although it is understood that Red Bull's two teams are standing out alone for a number of revisions to the RRA, Whitmarsh said it would be wrong of him to talk about whether a compromise on the issues at stake can be found.
"I don't think it is helpful for me as chairman of FOTA to talk about different opinions of teams," he said. "I think it is inevitable there will be differences on any subject, as we are a competitive bunch of people in the F1 paddock.
"I think ultimately there has been a tremendous amount of goodwill to get to where we are. There has been a lot of pain, and let's not forget that there are a lot of teams, and we are certainly one, who have had to reduce our staff and that is not an easy process to go through.
"It is the bigger teams that have in effect born the brunt of it and worked hard. But it is never enough. It is an increasingly tough competitive world out there, but we have to make sure that the restrictions that we have placed upon ourselves cover a broader spectrum of our activity."