FIA Counters Accusation of Ferrari Favouritism

Formula One's governing body, countering accusations of Ferrari favouritism, says it still wants a single tyre supplier and restricted testing.

FIA Counters Accusation of Ferrari Favouritism

Formula One's governing body, countering accusations of Ferrari favouritism, says it still wants a single tyre supplier and restricted testing.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) published a blizzard of documents on Wednesday that included detailed correspondence between president Max Mosley and the 10 teams over possible future rule changes to cut costs.

They also made available the minutes of a meeting between Mosley and representatives of World Champions Ferrari in London last week which the other nine teams decided not to attend.

"The minutes of the meeting...make clear that, amongst other proposals, the FIA is strongly in favour of a single tyre supplier and an FIA regulated restriction on testing (based on mileage rather than days)," the FIA said in a statement.

A move towards a single supplier could see a return to the spectacular slicks of old as well as slashing costs, with teams no longer spending a fortune on testing tyres at deserted circuits.

An FIA spokesman said the governing body would meet the sport's two tyre makers, Bridgestone and Michelin, for discussions before a scheduled meeting with the teams in Paris on April 15.

Although Ferrari's rivals are pushing for the move towards a single tyre supplier, possibly for next year, the Italians have opposed it although the minutes showed that the meeting was suggested by Ferrari boss Jean Todt.

Ferrari have a special relationship with Japan's Bridgestone, while top teams BAR, Renault, Williams and McLaren are all with their French rivals.

Big Savings

Williams, in a list of suggestions they put forward to the FIA on January 20, calculated that a single tyre supplier and return to hard compound slick tyres would bring an estimated saving of eight percent of their total budget.

Ferrari have also refused to join the other nine teams in an agreement to limit testing during the season to 30 days, saying they prefer instead to have a restriction based on mileage - a view endorsed by the FIA.

Among the documents on the FIA website was a lengthy letter from Minardi owner Paul Stoddart, who met Mosley privately in London on January 19.

In it, he said the teams shared an "ever-increasing view that the FIA only exists to protect Ferrari and Ferrari's interests".

He pointed to Ferrari's "distaste" of the single tyre and of a serious reduction in testing and feared that the FIA was no longer committed to either.

"Now it appears that you are not concerned about a single tyre, not concerned about testing, but are in favour of a 2.4 litre engine that surprisingly Ferrari stated they would need in 2006 for them to remain competitive," he wrote.

The Australian concluded with an emotional appeal to Mosley saying he felt "empty and dismayed".

"I implore you not to take this personally and to see it as what it is, a genuine attempt by a friend to help avert a disaster. Please don't shoot the messenger," he wrote.

The documents also revealed that it was Renault boss Flavio Briatore who suggested the teams discuss the introduction of a salary cap for drivers and an age limit on second drivers as a means of cutting costs.

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