Radical reduction in F1 technology - now!

The FIA has invoked an existing 'catch-all' regulation to renew the ban on F1 'driver-aids' - with immediate effect. These include telemetry and pit-car radio systems, and (probably later in the season) traction control, launch control and fully automatic gearboxes. And this is just the start of a process towards a reduction in permitted technology that has massive implications for F1 engineering staff and suppliers, and the wider motorsport industry

Radical reduction in F1 technology - now!

The current F1 Sporting Regulation that has been invoked states simply: "The driver must drive the car alone and unaided" [our italics].

In addition in 2003, the FIA will alter the Sporting Regulations to prohibit the use of spare cars. Furthermore, after all qualifying sessions, the cars will be placed in parc fermé until shortly before the start of the races. This means that no work can be carried out on them, except under close supervision by FIA inspectors, and will effectively eliminate 'qualifying specials'.

The teams will now be permitted to share components they have manufactured.

Much more fundamental changes are also being contentiously introduced during the following three seasons (2004-05-06) under the guise of Sporting Regulations, which can be altered without the unanimous agreement of the teams.

Before the 2004 season, the FIA will invite tenders from single suppliers to provide F1 with standard braking systems and engine electronic control units. There will also be a 'control' rear wing (and endplates), rendering much of the current aerodynamic research obsolete overnight. In addition, certain 'long-life' components will be mandatory. The engine suppliers must be willing to supply any number of teams from 2004.

In 2005, there will be a further extension to the 'life' of major components, and the engine 'life' requirement will be extended from one to two races. New penalties will be applied to teams replacing engines or other specified components outside the permitted times.

In 2006, engine 'life' will be further extended to six races, and a new Technical Regulation will prohibit the use of 'exotic' materials in any part of the racecar, including the engine.

The team principals at yesterday's meeting at a London Heathrow hotel were simply told that all these changes will happen. Clearly FIA president Max Mosley and his staff have lost patience with the inability of the teams to reach any concensus on saving costs and improving the spectacle. An FIA statement said: "Despite the disappearance of two teams in the past 12 months, nothing has been done to save money. Last October, the teams rejected all the FIA's cost-saving proposals. The teams themselves have had several meetings, but produced nothing."

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