Teams meet for more talks

World champion Ferrari has given F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone its F1 cost-cutting proposals which will be discussed at a meeting of team bosses at Heathrow in London today - as behind-the-scenes political pressure grows on finding unanimous agreement for change

Teams meet for more talks

World champion Ferrari is due to reveal its proposals to cut costs in Formula 1 at a meeting of team bosses at Heathrow in London today - as behind-the-scenes political pressure grows on finding unanimous agreement for change.

Following the continued success of recent meetings between all the teams other than Ferrari about a reduction in testing and a single tyre rule, secret moves are now being made to ensure that even without unanimous support some of the ideas on the table can become reality as soon as possible.

Sources claim that Ferrari will not support the proposed limit of 24 days testing during the season - in part because it fears that its tyre supplier Bridgestone will be at a massive disadvantage because it only supplies one major team while rival Michelin can call on the likes of Williams, McLaren, BAR and Sauber for its running.

Insiders close to the Maranello-based outfit have calculated that even if the team does not sign up for the agreement, tyre supplier Bridgestone will conduct only one quarter of the mileage of Michelin in testing during the course of the year - giving the team a fairly hefty disadvantage.

Instead, Ferrari is likely to propose cost cuts in other areas - including a reduction in electronics and a decrease in the minimum weight limit. Such ideas, however, are not likely to garner much support from those team bosses who have worked hard on the 'Cost Saving Initiative.'

The slim chance of unanimous agreement mean that it is highly likely every team other than Ferrari will now go it alone and voluntarily limit themselves to 24 days - and they may also push for a vote to be taken before the end of the year to agree on there being a control tyre formula from 2006.

That vote was scheduled to be taken at a meeting of the Formula 1 Commission in Monaco later this week but after that was cancelled by the FIA, the teams now have until December 31 to vote on tyre regulations for 2006 or the earliest that a single tyre formula could come in - without the support of Ferrari - would be 2007.

Sources have suggested that the teams may well try and rush through a vote
before Christmas - and they may even find a way of actually getting Ferrari to change its mind on the situation.

Although Ferrari is strongly against the move to a single tyre manufacturer, high level insiders have told autosport.com that the Italian team could be forced into accepting such a move because some legal experts now believe the new 2005 car, engine and tyre regulations are not legal.

It is suggested that at least one team has instructed its lawyers to check on whether the way in which FIA president Max Mosley forced through new technical rules aimed at cutting speeds was legitimate - and there is a suggestion that under English law it was not done correctly.

That theoretically means that the rules could be challenged in court - a scenario that may force Ferrari to soften its opposition to the proposals on the table rather than stand firm and risk the chance of having to scrap all its work on the 2005 car.

The majority of teams will not want any challenge to the rules, however, because they have spent a vast amount of money on changing their cars to suit the new regulations - a factor that may be used against Ferrari when it comes to voting for new testing restrictions and the move to a single tyre manufacturer.

All of this political movement is taking place against the backdrop of Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone trying to put in place a new Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is run, to shore up his long-term grip on the sport.

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