FIA reveals radical cost-cutting measures

A total ban on in-season testing, major revisions to engine regulations and dramatic cuts in aerodynamic development have formed the cornerstone of a radical rules overhaul that will cut costs in Formula One

FIA reveals radical cost-cutting measures

Following a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in Monaco on Friday, the FIA announced a host of measures that have been agreed with the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) and will be put in place over the next few years that will cut budgets by at least one third from next year.

All in-season testing, apart from that conducted during scheduled practice on a grand prix weekend, has been banned.

Teams have also been outlawed from using any tunnel that exceeds 60 percent scale and 50 metres per second after January 1, 2009. Factories will also have to be closed for six weeks per year.

Engine life is to be doubled, with drivers limited to a maximum of eight power-units over the course of the season - plus four for testing. However, the three-race rule voted through on November 5 remains in place.

This extra life will be achieved through a rev reduction to 18,000rpm, with no internal re-tuning allowed. Adjustment to trumpets and injectors will only be allowed.

The reduction to 20 engines per team for the season means engine budgets for independent teams should be cut in half compared to this season.

Teams will also have their manpower reduced at race weekends through a number of measures, including the sharing of information about tyres and fuel that will eliminate the need for spotters.

The FIA is hoping that the above measure will ensure a big enough cut in team budgets for next year. In a statement issued on Friday it said: "It is estimated that these changes for 2009 will save the manufacturer teams approximately 30% of their budgets compared to 2008, while the savings for independent teams will be even greater."

For 2010, the regulation changes get even more dramatic.

The door has been left open on the FIA's offer of a standard specification engine, with it being made clear engines will be made available to independent teams for 5 million Euros per season.

This will either come from an independent supplier like Cosworth, who won the FIA's tender for a standard engine, or from manufacturer teams providing they give guarantees. These engine specifications will also be used in 2011 and 2012 as well.

It is hoped that a standard transmission can be used, and work will be conducted on using as many standard parts on a chassis as possible - where teams agree that these bits should not be performance differentiators.

On race weekends there will be standardised radio and telemetry systems, a ban on tyre warmers, a ban on the mechanical purging of tyres and a ban on refuelling. This will come alongside further restrictions on aerodynamic research and other possible limits on factory facilities.

The FIA is also to conduct a market research programme to work out whether there should be changes to qualifying, the use of a medal system instead of points or a reduction in race distances.

There is also the possibility of a standard KERS being used in 2010, but this depends on a proposal being put forward by FOTA. A number of teams may decide not to run the devices next year amid fears about mounting costs.

Regarding the longer term future, the FIA statement added: "The FIA and FOTA will study the possibility of an entirely new power train for 2013 based on energy efficiency (obtaining more work from less energy consumed). Rules to be framed so as to ensure that research and development of such a power train would make a real contribution to energy-efficient road transport."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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