Jarno Trulli has angrily claimed that 'it seems Formula 1 wants to die' and says he is 'very, very worried' about the category's future in the wake of the FIA's controversial new sporting and technical regulations unveiled earlier this week.
The rules – announced following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris – include most notably an optional £30 million budget cap for teams to be introduced from the 2010 campaign onwards, and a new system for determining the destination of the world championship laurels, with the crown henceforth to go to the driver with the greatest number of race victories at season's end, not necessarily the most points.
Many, however – multiple world champions Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher amongst them – have questioned the wisdom of the changes and the 'confusing' and alienating effect that they are likely to have on the sport's fans, and Trulli argues that should the new 'winner-takes-all' approach have the effect of settling the title fight several races early as happened in 2002 and 2004, the initiative would produce 'many negative factors and no positive [ones]'.
“It seems to be that Formula 1 wants to die,” the Toyota star told Italian newspaper La Stampa
, “and we will all have to go and race in some other championship.
“It is right to try to give the public more, to improve the show, but it shouldn't distort the spirit of Formula 1. I am very, very worried.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Red Bull Racing rival Mark Webber, who contended that the voluntary budget cap goes against F1's ethos and DNA in creating what is in effect a two-tiered system. Whilst FIA President Max Mosley has stated that the cap will help to produce a more level playing field by allowing the have-nots to benefit from greater technical freedom, the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) counters that the initiative could have the result of 'turning on its head the very essence' of the sport – and Webber clearly agrees.
“It's like saying Coventry can play with 30 players against Manchester United with eleven,” the Aussie told the BBC
. “Or in tennis, we'll lower the net for you because you don't have as good a racquet, and we'll put it back up again for the other guy.
“Sometimes it's hard to see where we are going [in F1]. Rewarding yourself for doing well is about knowing other people have had the same opportunity to do well and you've done a better job than them.”
The 32-year-old did, by contrast, have some words of praise for the change in the way the championship will be decided – with a hint of caution, though, in suggesting that it would likely lead to a situation where no more than two drivers are battling it out for honours. Last year, aside from Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, no other competitor triumphed in more than two races.