Ecclestone: F1 in Good Shape After Changes

Bernie Ecclestone says Formula One has a healthy future after the sport's ruling body threw a lifeline to struggling teams on Wednesday with a tough package of cost-cutting measures.

Ecclestone: F1 in Good Shape After Changes

Bernie Ecclestone says Formula One has a healthy future after the sport's ruling body threw a lifeline to struggling teams on Wednesday with a tough package of cost-cutting measures.

"We are in good shape," F1 supremo Ecclestone told reporters after a meeting of team bosses and the International Automobile Federation (FIA).

"The trouble is that for the last few months the reporting of Formula One should have been in the financial columns rather than the sports columns because everyone wants to talk about money.

"Formula One is in good shape. We've lost less television audience percentage than any sport."

FIA president Max Mosley told reporters he was confident that no more of the 10 teams would follow Prost and Arrows into financial failure after announcing a tightening of the existing sporting regulations.

But an explanatory note issued by the governing body after the meeting painted a bleak view of the future faced by the sport without the technical changes.

"Two Formula One teams have disappeared in the past 12 months," it said.

"Now that only 10 teams are left, those remaining are obliged by the Concorde Agreement to finance and run two extra cars for each additional team which fails to attend an event.

"By no means all of the teams would be able to do this.

"There is an obvious danger that unless something is done, the FIA Formula One World Championship will start to collapse during the next 12 months into a spiral of law suits and recrimination."

Serious Problems

Prost and Arrows have both folded in the last year and Minardi and Jordan are both still seeking to complete their budgets after losing title sponsors.

The starting grid for the opening Australian Grand Prix on March 9 will have just 20 cars on it, assuming that all entrants qualify successfully.

The FIA said it would not normally become involved in the commercial difficulties of Formula One but the teams themselves had failed to find a solution.

"The FIA must act because serious problems with the Formula One World Championship would affect motor sport at all levels throughout the world."

The FIA said much of the money spent by teams was wasted because it added nothing to the enjoyment of spectators who ultimately pay the bills.

"Vast sums are being spent on things which do not interest the public. Whether an engine runs to 12,000, 16,000 or 20,000 rpm means nothing to the television audience.

"Neither do they know, or care, who makes the electronic control unit or the rear wishbone.

"The army of technicians using sophisticated and very expensive telemetry to follow every quirk of the car on computer screens are hidden at the back of the pits," said the FIA.

"They are concealed from the public who neither know nor care that they are there."

The FIA said the measures to eliminate the electronic 'driver aids' and abolish the spare race car would have the added benefit of reducing air freight costs because fewer cars, fewer parts and less equipment would need to be transported around the world.

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