Rules debate rumbles on

While leading lights in the Formula 1 Technical Working Group are confident they know what the 2005 technical regulations will be, bosses of F1's poorer teams are urging firm action in Hungary this weekend

Rules debate rumbles on

Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn confirmed that, as exclusively revealed by Autosport a fortnight ago, six of F1's 10 teams are in agreement with the chassis, engine and tyre proposals laid down in advance by the FIA in anticipation that the TWG would nor reach 80 percent agreement on any acceptable alternatives.

Brawn's point is that, although a counter-proposal could have been put forward by the TWG, the fact that six of the 10 teams are prepared to put their names to the FIA proposals, renders any alternative with sufficient support, impossible.

Minardi team principal Paul Stoddart, however, argued that in team principals meetings, as opposed to the TWG, nothing is clear and that the poorer teams simply cannot afford to risk building cars to a set of rules that are subsequently overturned.

"I think it's pretty clear what is going to happen," said Brawn. "On Sunday morning we have a TWG meeting to just go through some details and I think most people are now building their cars for next year."

Stoddart, however, countered with: "We are nowhere near agreeing on any of this. We are not agreed on an engine for next year for two races and we've got one team principal saying he's not going to turn up if that's the case. We have another manufacturer saying they are going to pull out if that's the case."

Perhaps the most valid point, however, came from Renault's Pat Symonds, who pointed out that although he was in agreement with Brawn's opinion on the direction of the technical regulations, the sporting regulations also have a strong bearing on car design.

"Depending on what happens with the qualifying procedure will determine how we go racing and hence what our cars are like," he said.

The sporting regs do not need to be finalised until October 31 and, Stoddart suspects, the whole '05 format will arrive as a package at that time.

There were a number of interesting exchanges between the technical men and the team principals in Hungary...

Jaguar's Tony Purnell said: "I think Ross [Brawn] is the probable clairvoyant here."

Stoddart: "That's the whole point. We don't need a clairvoyant, we need a regulator that makes rules."

Eddie Jordan: "Please, you guys [the TWG men], we should all get together [including the team principals] and be in that meeting on Sunday morning. We should all be there and get it finished and signed off. It's simple. It's not difficult."

Brawn: "I've been to some team principal meetings and if we started that on Sunday morning we wouldn't have a race on Sunday afternoon."

EJ: "Are you excluding your own boss?"

And on it went like that. The smart money, though, is that the FIA proposals will prevail, whether sooner or later, and any manufacturer not in agreement will ultimately have to swallow it or go and play elsewhere.

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