Teams optimistic on swift cost cuts deal

Leading Formula One team bosses are optimistic that a package of cost cuts can be agreed with the FIA soon, despite the ongoing controversy over plans to implement standard engines from 2010

Teams optimistic on swift cost cuts deal

The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) is conducting a series of meetings over the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend to try and finalise a package of rule changes that will help reduce costs in the sport.

It is understood that a move to limit teams to using just 25 engines per season was provisionally agreed in the Sporting Working Group meeting on Thursday. Such a regulation will automatically reduce testing to below 20,000 kilometres - a one third cut on the current limit.

Further talks are due to take place about the use of standard parts and the possibility of customer cars, as well as longer term plans for totally new engine regulations.

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh said he was upbeat that FOTA would be able to put together a comprehensive package of changes.

"I am an optimist," he explained. "It is a great sport, but clearly we can make it better. Every year brings new challenges, and within the sport at the moment there is some realistic and sensible discussion about the governance and the way we have to work together in the sport.

"Clearly all the teams, the FIA and FOM (Formula One Management) have to work together to make sure that the small teams survive, and that they have a chance to be competitive as well. There were some good discussions in Shanghai and I am sure there will be some good discussions here this weekend."

The focus on rule changes increased this week when Ferrari and Toyota both publicly stated that they would consider their future in F1 if a standard engine was implemented.

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen said his German car manufacturer echoed such feelings.

"Our position is similar," he told autosport.com. "To us, there is an English word that I don't really like which is 'commodity'. And some people nowadays talk about the engine being a commodity, and that is absolutely not our understanding. The engine is not just any part of the car, it is the heart of the car and we want to see a BMW engine in our F1 car."

Theissen said, however, that he felt FOTA would be able to agree on rules changes that would be enough to convince the FIA there was no need to implement a standard engine.

"I don't know what makes Max really happy, but I am very confident we will come to a reasonable joint proposal," he explained.

Although the FIA reiterated this week that one way for manufacturers to avert the implementation of standard engines was for them to offer customer deals to independent teams for 5 million Euros per season, Theissen felt such a price was impossible with current power units.

However, FOTA is hoping that a new concept for engines would allow manufacturers to reach the 5 million figure.

"If we come to a three race engine then the cost is 10 million," said Theissen. "If we try to go beyond three races we have to redevelop the engine, and that is cost we should not spend on an existing engine.

"FOTA is working on a proposal to supply a next generation engine to the independent teams at (5 million) as well."

Whitmarsh added: "The standard engine is something that we do not support. I can understand if you are an independent team it has an immediate attraction, but I think there was a good compromise put forward by all of the teams, by FOTA, which will significantly reduce engine costs for the independent teams next year.

"Thereafter it (the price) will be scaled down again. There are some good initiatives and people are working together to improve the sport."

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