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Theissen: F1 will emerge stronger from recession

BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen has claimed that the formation of the Formula One Teams' Association, and the unity it has shown, will only help to make the sport a stronger force once it emerges from the current economic downturn.

Admitting that drastic measures had to be taken to shore up the F1 ship as costs spiralled and sponsorship income became threatened by the credit crisis, Theissen believes that the enforced reduction in spending will achieve the long-term stability that could see new blood introduced to the sport once the worst of the financial storm has been weathered.

''There has never been such unity between the Formula One teams as we are seeing now,'' he insisted, ''At the first FOTA press conference in Geneva at the start of March, chairman Luca di Montezemolo spoke - with good reason - of an historic event.

''The teams have come together within FOTA to provide an equal partner for the FIA and FOM, and our common aim is to reduce costs without taking away the ingredients that make Formula One so captivating and so attractive. For example, we have cut the amount of testing allowed by half for 2009, and placed restrictions on the use of wind tunnels and supercomputers, and these steps will be followed by a much more extensive package of measures in 2010.

''The top category of motor racing remains a unique mixture of cutting edge technology, sport, business and glamour, but times have changed and Formula One has to adapt accordingly.

''I think our sport is heading in the right direction, but we have the opportunity - in the critical phase in which we now find ourselves - to exert a positive influence over the future of Formula One - and I am in no doubt that Formula One will emerge stronger from the current situation. Once the cost-cutting measures have taken full effect, I expect further independent teams to come into Formula One and be able to compete on a sound financial footing. Added to which, the technical regulations are now geared towards the F1 machines playing an important role in the development of series production cars. This allows Formula One to serve as a pioneer with regard to future technologies.''

With Honda gone, and the futures of Toyota and Renault constantly being queried as F1 becomes an unwanted expense for the manufacturers so keen to buy into the sport in 'boom time', the link between the technology being developed on track and everyday use in road cars is a vital one for BMW, and Theissen insists that he sees no reason for the German marque to pull the plug on a programme only now shifting into top gear.

''The investment in the Formula One project is most definitely justifiable for BMW in the current economic climate,'' he claimed, ''Alongside the savings I've already mentioned, which will be backed up by further economising in the future, we have started to enjoy success on the track, so it's not only our marketing experts who are saying that Formula One is a valuable tool for BMW.

''F1 remains the core of our motorsport programme - nowhere else will you find such charisma exuded on a global level on such a frequent basis. And nothing else offers a technical challenge so fruitful that it benefits the research activities of an entire company. From a cost-benefit point of view, Formula One is very positive for us.''

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