Ahead of its meeting with team principals in the guise of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) in Geneva tomorrow (Tuesday), the FIA has revealed, 'in the interests of complete transparency', what will be on the agenda regarding cost-cutting and efficiency-boosting measures in the top flight from next year.
The crux of the ideas being forwarded by FIA President Max Mosley centres upon a standardised engine [see separate story – click here
], a move that some feel will remove the very raison d'être
of the car manufacturers currently involved in the sport, but one that F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone argues will not only significantly reduce expenditure, but just as importantly create a more level playing field [see separate story – click here
'The FIA believes that Formula One costs are unsustainable,' a statement from the governing body read. 'Even before current global financial problems, teams were spending far more than their incomes, insofar as these consist of sponsorship plus FOM (Ecclestone's company Formula One Management) money.
'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 than 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.
'The FIA's view is that Formula One can only be healthy if a team can race competitively for a budget at or very close to what it gets from FOM. We should like to hear the teams' views on this, together with comments on the FIA's proposals and other suggestions for the measures which will be necessary if major reductions in cost are to be achieved.'
Also on the list of items to be discussed and evaluated during the FIA-FOTA reunion is the possible introduction of a high-technology yet low-cost power train (engine and gearbox) incorporating heat recovery as of 2013. In the interim period, the governing body states, three options are available:
- A homologated engine produced by a single supplier after an invitation to tender, with the current suppliers free to build an identical engine themselves (but not the gearbox), subject to rigorous controls
- A consortium of teams obtains an engine to current rules but at much lower cost from a single supplier. Engines from other sources to be subject to rigorous controls to eliminate differences in performance