FIA Plan to Allow Cameras into Drivers' Meeting

Armchair Formula One fans may soon see the drivers in a new light under plans to allow television cameras into their pre-race meeting to fill the void left by Sunday's cancelled warm-up.

FIA Plan to Allow Cameras into Drivers' Meeting

Armchair Formula One fans may soon see the drivers in a new light under plans to allow television cameras into their pre-race meeting to fill the void left by Sunday's cancelled warm-up.

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley told a news conference on Tuesday that the governing body was looking into allowing television cameras into the hitherto private gathering.

The warm-up has been axed from the start of the season on March 9 as a result of rule changes outlawing refuelling between Saturday qualifying and the Grand Prix start, leaving broadcasters with just the race on Sunday.

"One of the downsides of stopping the teams refuelling between qualifying and the race is that they wouldn't want to go out in the warm-up on Sunday morning," said Mosley. "People have got in the habit of watching the warm-up so we need to replace it with something.

"The idea we are working on at this very moment is replacing it with the drivers' meeting and allowing the television in there to cover it."

Mosley said the meeting would be less formal than the old drivers' briefing.

"With the television cameras there, the drivers could discuss perhaps the incident that happened in the last race when one of them ran into the other, or something that happened in practice. There's always something to discuss.

"We feel that this would bring the television viewer more into personal, intimate contact with the drivers and see them as they are when they are really talking genuinely and not just giving an interview."

Mosley said drivers would still have a private off-camera briefing with FIA officials during the race weekend so that television would not prevent them from airing any concerns they might have.

Percent Rule

The FIA president also said that the new single lap qualifying format meant that the old '107 percent rule', whereby a driver was excluded from the starting grid if he failed to set a time close enough to pole, was set to disappear.

"Teams have been saying that it's pointless so we are going to invite the teams to cross it off," he said. "It's not important but it's probably going to be tidier to get rid of it."

The FIA has also issued further clarification about conditions at race weekends involving the use of screens and covers, the spare car and qualifying procedures.

An FIA statement said that no screens or covers that obscured any part of a car would be allowed at any time in the garages, pitlane or grid from scrutineering onwards unless teams could prove they were needed for reasons such as protection against fire.

It said covers could be used to protect cars from the rain on the pitlane or grid. The use of screens and covers has long been an issue in Formula One, with teams using them to prevent others from spying on costly developments.

The move to ban them is designed to reduce the secrecy surrounding the sport, cut costs and giving fans more to look at in race weekends.

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