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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FIA going to extremes to avoid financial crunch?

The FIA is proposing radical cost-cutting measures for F1 ahead of next week's meeting in Geneva, hoping to stave off the financial crisis hitting the world economy.

Reuters got a hold of a letter sent to the 10 teams outlining a five-year plan to address the "unsustainable" costs of F1.


"Even before current global financial problems, teams were spending far more than their incomes," Reuters quotes from the letter. "As a result, the independent teams are now dependent on the goodwill of rich individuals, while the manufacturers' teams depend on massive hand-outs from their parent companies. There is now a real danger that in some cases these subsidies will cease. This could result in a reduction in the number of competitors, adding to the two team vacancies we already have and reducing the grid to an unacceptable level."


Already this year Super Aguri folded and Prodrive's effort abandoned. Williams, it was revealed earlier this month, is operating at a loss. But it is feared even the big guys, like Toyota, will soon feel the pinch.
The FIA's aim is to bring spending in line with the revenues provided by the commercial rights holder.

FIA Proposals
  • Standardised engines, with current engine makers free to build their own to the same design
  • Alternatively, spec engines from one manufacturer
  • A third, Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) alternative, proposes a standardized powertrain (engine and gearbox) for independent teams priced at less than 5 million euros ($6.83 million) along with a testing and assistance package

plus,

  • Common chassis parts, including standard suspension and wheels and other expensive parts which don't add to the "spectacle"
  • By 2013 a "modern high-technology" powertrain -- a more compact engine and more energy recovery systems
The FIA is due to meet FOTA in China after the Chinese Grand Prix, where it is believed the teams' association will propose it's own measures, including possibly a ban on refuelling, shorter races and testing restrictions, but it is believed the FIA would rather make changes to less visable elements.

Of course, the FIA makes no mention of the enormous cost of developing energy recovery systems and high tech engines, nor the fact that creating a spec engine would directly effect the "spectacle."
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Outstanding summary. Spec engines, spec design, etc., will certainly drive out the manufacturers. Making Formula 1 just another open wheel series is the surest way to destroy it. This group of 'managers', Mosley, Eccelstone, Whiting and all the rest are starting to sound as though they're out of ideas. This series needs some changes. Joining the IRL is not one of them.
Chris

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