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FOTA approaching F1 crisis 'with positive attitude'

The current financial 'crisis' prevailing in Formula 1 can be overcome as long as all involved maintain a 'positive approach' to tackling it, underlines Formula One Teams' Association President Luca di Montezemolo, after presiding over FOTA's 'hugely important' and 'unprecedented' meeting in Geneva earlier this week.

With almost all members of the teams' body in attendance in the Swiss city to discuss the future direction the top flight should take in terms of further reining in costs and spicing up the show both on and off-track, a number of key resolutions were reached.

These range from significantly cheaper, longer-lasting engines and gearboxes to reduced wind tunnel use, standardised KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) units and telemetry and radio systems, limited testing mileage, less aerodynamic innovation, shorter grands prix, a new points system and greater fan interaction – amongst a number of other measures [see separate story – click here].

The suggestions should see teams able to halve their annual operating budgets by next year, to between £50 million and £150 million, considerably less than was spent in 2008. What's more, Ferrari President di Montezemolo confirmed that all teams are now willing to sign a new, commercial rights-governing Concorde Agreement with Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, committing them to the sport until at least the end of 2012 [see separate story – click here].

“We are looking at this crisis with a positive attitude,” underlined the Italian, quoted by the Financial Times. “We want to preserve the DNA of the sport; we want a stable F1, a positive F1, so international brands can be present – and we want to increase the audience.”

Those sentiments were shared unanimously by fellow team chiefs, with all hailing a reunion that was something of a watershed in F1 history, as individual rivalries were put aside to focus upon the collective future of the sport – one that, until the new changes were agreed to, FIA President Max Mosley had warned risked becoming 'unsustainable'.

“The FIA and FOTA are pursuing the same aims – to increase the sporting value of Formula 1 and to cut the expenditure required to do so,” stated BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen. “Reducing costs is definitely the way to go.

“The members of FOTA have made great efforts to this end over recent months, and have set out a whole series of measures which will already allow substantial cost savings in 2009. Further savings for the coming years will follow in due course.”

“Since FOTA was established in the summer of 2008, the organisation has already made strides, in conjunction with the FIA, towards achieving significant cost savings for the 2009 season,” agreed Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner.

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