The FIA and new association FOTA met on Tuesday in Geneva to discuss proposed changes to Formula One’s future direction. The talks came about after FIA president Max Mosley continued to whittle on about saving money and making the motor racing series more single-spec, notably the engines. FOTA sent Luca di Montezemolo and John Howett to represent the association and the response is said to have been positive.
Although the two parties wouldn’t discuss any details with the press, it is believed that both FIA and FOTA have agreed in principal on a few measures to reduce costs for 2009 and 2010. The organisations are hoping to continue talks over the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend and also meet up post-Interlagos. So far, the following has been suggested as strong possibilities for future seasons:
- Increasing engine life from 2 races to 3.
- Manufacturers must be prepared to sell up to 25 engine units to customer teams for €10m/year.
- Possibility of reducing the testing mileage.
- Introduction of mandatory-KERS from 2010 onwards (it is currently optional for 2009).
- Possibility of allowing customer chassis to remain. This would improve STR’s and Force India’s chances of survival.
Increasing engine life is a no-brainer. When it went from 1 to two 2 races, everybody gasped in horror. But the teams soon found ways of making their engines much more reliable, so much so that an engine failure during a racing weekend is quite rare in comparison to the situation just a few years back.
The provision of cheap customer engines from the big manufacturers is also an obvious way of saving money. Currently Ferrari, Renault and Toyota supply other teams, Williams getting the Japanese plant, Red Bull Racing the French motor and Force India and Scuderia Toro Rosso each receiving an Italian-stallion to use.
Testing mileage is also another good way of cutting costs. Although race-weekend Fridays are meant for improving set-up, most teams are using the two 90-minute practice sessions as a test. If FOTA get their way and the race weekend is re-organised, Friday’s could take on a different form, and with a reduction in testing between races, I think the actual on-track competition could improve.
Next year we will lengthen the life of engines to three races. This will translate into a total of 25 engines that for the smaller teams will cost 10 million Euros a season.
We have decided with president Mosley that we will meet again after Brazil to talk again about limits to the chassis and engines in the future. Luca di Montezemolo.
So it seems FOTA are really pressing ahead with various measures to counter the FIA’s crazy notions, which if course is a very good thing. To change the sport in small steps is infinitely better than potentially destroying it in one fell swoop, which if Mosley had his way, would be done by making the engines single-spec, thus removing (half of) the idea of a constructors championship.