The Formula One Teams' Association will make public its proposals for further cost-cutting and spectacle-enhancing measures within the sport at a news conference in Geneva next month, it has been revealed.
The conference will take place in the Swiss city on 5 March, and will be chaired by Ferrari and FOTA President Luca di Montezemolo, with all team principals present. Though a raft of drastic measures has already been brought into force for 2009 in an effort to reduce escalating expenditure within the top flight – something that in recent years has threatened to spiral right out of control – further steps remain in the pipeline for the years to come, to be determined jointly by FOTA and governing body the FIA.
'These plans are the result of meetings held over the past few weeks and months,' read a statement by FOTA, which was formed last summer, 'all with a common goal – to make Formula 1 commercially sustainable, environmentally friendly and compellingly attractive for spectators, TV viewers and internet consumers alike for years to come.'
The aim is to bring down costs to the level whereby independent outfits such as Williams and Force India can participate competitively for an annual budget of around €50 million, with the global credit crunch and Honda's shock withdrawal late last year – and a number of significant sponsors since following suit – having spurred all concerned into rapid and serious action to prevent F1 from imploding.
“For 2010 we want to see the [team] budgets come right down,” explained FIA President Max Mosley, who has described the economic downturn as the biggest crisis to hit the sport in four decades, “to the point where the FOM money (television revenues and prize money from Ecclestone's Formula One Management company) plus very modest sponsorship equals the cost of going racing.
“The teams, as I understand it, agree with the principle but they don't want to do it that quickly. I think we are going to have to do it that quickly.”
BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen is also adamant that in addition to reducing spending, a large part of FOTA's remit must be to improve the on-track spectacle for the sport's fans.
“We have three targets at the moment,” the German is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters
. “Number one, the most urgent one, has been cost-cutting.
“Number two has been to maintain Formula 1 as the technologically most advanced racing category, and now once we have an agreement on the technical and sporting regulations, the next thing we will talk about is the 'show'.
“We know that we could, and should, do a lot more for the fans, and there are a lot of ideas on the table [that] we will turn into reality. This is the next big task of FOTA; we are in co-operation with the FIA and Bernie and his people, and I'm sure we will make progress there as well.”