FIA to act on tyres and testing

Motor racing's governing body is set to act on making dramatic changes to Formula 1's tyre and testing regulations in a bid to improve the sport, autosport.com can exclusively reveal, in a move that could result in the return of slicks to grand prix racing

FIA to act on tyres and testing

Autosport.com has seen the minutes of the meeting held between FIA president Max Mosley and Ferrari at Heathrow in London last week, which were distributed to the teams on Wednesday, and it appears that the green light has been given for the FIA to act over several controversial areas.

Chief amongst the minutes are that Ferrari has agreed for the FIA to summon F1's current tyre suppliers Bridgestone and Michelin to make plans for a single tyre supplier, and that the FIA intends to impose its own restrictions on testing.

Referring to the possibility of a single tyre supplier, the minutes of the meeting declared: "The FIA was strongly in favour of this. Jean Todt (Ferrari sporting director) proposed that the FIA invite the tyre manufacturers to a meeting to discuss this in further detail. This was agreed."

The planned meeting with the tyre manufacturers will also include discussions about the possibility of a return of slick tyres, with three fixed compounds for the entire season, plus a banning of tyre warmers and other tyre warming devices.

On testing, the FIA has indicated that it now believes the way to resolve current differences of opinions between Ferrari and its rivals over the current voluntary set-up would be to impose its own restrictions again.

According to the minutes of the meeting: "The FIA said that the only way to regulate testing effectively would be to introduce a rule rather than attempt a voluntary agreement between the teams.

"The following restrictions were seen to be the most feasible in order to reduce costs: that testing should be regulated by the FIA, that it should be based on mileage rather than days, that there should be no testing on Grand Prix circuits other than Barcelona, Monza and Silverstone; and that testing should be split into in-season and out-of-season."

Ferrari has always indicated that it believes a mileage limitation is more effective in reducing costs than a day-limit, which is why it has so far rejected calls by other teams to join their agreed 30-day limit.

An implementation date for the FIA to introduce its own testing rules would be made after the meeting with the tyre manufacturers.

Although the FIA would not comment about the specifics of the minutes, a spokesman confirmed to autosport.com that tyres and testing were key areas of interest.

"The minutes of the meeting of January 28 make it clear that amongst other proposals the FIA is strongly in favour of a single tyre supplier and an FIA-regulated restriction on testing," said a spokesman.

Beyond tyres and testing, Ferrari and the FIA agreed that there were areas of change that could be introduced as early as 2006 to help reduce costs. These included the homologation of car designs, longer-life components, standard transmission and drive-trains, material limitations, the banning of spare cars and the banning on the use of third cars except for smaller teams who obtain revenue streams from pay drivers or sponsors.

The FIA has also agreed to set-up a working group with some of the sport's key representatives, including television companies, race promoters and the media, to discuss ways to improve the sport.

Resistance to other proposals, including standard ECUs, standard brakes, minimum weight and extension of engine life, has meant that changes in these areas are now unlikely to take place until 2008.

The much hyped proposals of salary caps and age limits for a team's second driver were rejected outright.

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