Max Mosley has confessed that the economic problems plaguing Formula 1 are 'the FIA's fault', adding in the wake of Honda's shock withdrawal at the end of last week that the current regulations are 'slowly destroying' the sport.
The announcement by the big-budget Japanese manufacturer – which poured a record £147 million into its F1 team in 2008, for the meagre return of just 14 points and ninth position in the constructors standings, significantly the lowest-placed of any of the six manufacturer-owned outfits – has plunged the top flight into a climate of fear and concern, with questions being asked about who is most likely to fold next.
Mosley has admitted that it is quite feasible that another team will disappear before the start of the 2009 campaign in Melbourne next March, and the FIA and FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) held crisis talks in Monaco yesterday in an effort to dramatically rein in costs by as much as 50 per cent over the next couple of years – before the sport implodes.
Whilst both sides have expressed a positive outcome to the landmark reunion in terms of cost-cutting [see separate story – click here
], Mosley maintains that the situation should never have been allowed to get to its current state – blaming teams' insistence on refinement over innovation and the spending of inordinate sums of money on 'utterly pointless' components that add nothing to the spectacle and of whose existence fans are barely even aware.
The FIA President pointed to one of the teams' usage of a thousand wheel nuts during the course of a single season, shipped in from California and thrown away after just one use – and at an annual cost of a staggering £800,000.
“What is wrong with Formula 1 today was wrong before any of the present economic problems cropped up,” Mosley is quoted as having said by British newspaper The Independent
during the Motor Sport Business Forum in the Principality this week, “and essentially it is because of the rules. You might well say that the rules are made by the FIA, so it is the FIA's fault.
“In a sense that is true because the rules in Formula 1 are ever-more restrictive, compressing the work of the engineers into an ever-smaller area – but we had to do that otherwise the speeds of the cars would have risen to a point where the safety precautions on the circuit, and the cars themselves, would have become inadequate.
“Now these huge teams, with between 700 and 1,000 employees, are constantly searching for tiny incremental gains on their car. Success in Formula 1 today consists of optimising every single tiny detail on the chassis to the absolute, ultimate degree, and that is extremely expensive, but also utterly pointless.
“One example is that the wheels in one of the teams are made so light that they regularly fail when the tyres are put on them, but that team, like all the others, is looking for every tiny increment of performance.