FIA Unhappy with Teams' 2008 Proposals

Motor racing's governing body looks set to make major modifications to draft rules proposals put forward by Formula One teams for 2008, because they do not go far enough in reducing costs

FIA Unhappy with Teams' 2008 Proposals

The FIA and the teams seemed to be edging towards complete agreement on the rules package for the sport after 2007, but it now appears that there remain major differences of opinion between the two parties about cost-cutting in Formula One.

In a statement issued by the FIA on Tuesday, it claimed that proposals put forward by the teams after a meeting they held in Milan prior to the Italian Grand Prix had done nothing to reduce costs - a factor that FIA president Max Mosley has long campaigned for.

High level sources within the FIA have expressed major disappointment about what the teams have put forward this week, claiming the original proposals put forward earlier this year by individual teams went much further in terms of reducing costs.

"On Monday, the FIA received a response from a number of teams present at the meeting in Milan on August 31," said the statement. "Although constructive in tone, it contains nothing new. In particular it makes no proposal for reducing costs.

"New teams intending to apply to enter the Championship in 2008 have all made it clear that they can do so only if costs are greatly reduced. Current teams that are already committed for 2008 fully agree.

"Accordingly, the FIA is now reviewing the draft 2008 regulations with a view to eliminating unnecessary and excessive expenditure while continuing to allow technology which is road-relevant and interesting to the public."

Sources claim that the FIA has been contacted by three new teams expressing a serious interest in joining F1 from the start of 2008 - providing that current levels of expenditure are cut.

It means that with Ferrari, Jordan and Red Bull - having committed themselves, with Red Bull's junior team now almost certain to sign-up as well - there could already be seven teams guaranteed to join F1. There are also suggestions that two manufacturers could be on the verge of joining up as well - leaving just three vacant spaces for 2008.

The level of interest, allied to tweaking of the rules to reduce costs, has left the FIA confident of a strong Formula One Championship from 2008 - irrespective of manufacturers' plans for a breakaway series.

"The FIA is now confident that it will shortly be able to publish rules for the 2008 Formula One World Championship which give realistic (but still high) budgets, close racing (including much easier overtaking) and interesting but relevant technology. The result will be a 2008 Formula One World Championship with 12 teams, 24 cars and greater public interest than ever."

The FIA statement made it clear that the governing body wants costs reduced by two-thirds.

"The target is to reduce the budget of a top team from the current €300m+ ($360m+) to around €100m ($120m). A budget of €100m ($120m) for two cars for one season is still a vast amount of money when compared to any other form of motor racing.

"The FIA Formula One World Championship has always relied on independent teams. Its rules must allow them to survive and prosper. If major manufacturers wish to participate (and at least three are expected in 2008), so much the better.

"However the duty of the FIA is clear: it must ensure that the Formula One World Championship continues with a mixture of independent teams and manufacturers, all competing on an equal footing in the traditional way.

"If some of the manufacturers wish to run a private series with unlimited expenditure, the FIA will give them every assistance. It would be an interesting experiment, but too risky for the Formula One World Championship.

"Costs would almost certainly rise above even current Formula One levels and all teams would require full manufacturer support. Such support is unlikely to continue indefinitely."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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