Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Historic and fundamental change in F1

In what is being described as historic changes to Formula One, the FIA and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) have announced sweeping changes in the name in cost reduction. It is understood that this radical agreement was reached between FIA president Max Mosley and FOTA leaders Luca di Montezemolo and John Howett to introduce dramatic cost reductions starting in 2009. There are additional cuts in the works for 2010 and beyond.

According to autosport.com some of the changes are:

- Engine life will be increased from two to three races from 2009.

- Manufacturers must be prepared to make 25 engine units available, at a cost of 10 million Euros, to customer teams.

- There will be a further meeting between FOTA members in Brazil to determine testing kilometre limits for 2009, and an agreement in principal on the introduction of a standard Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) unit for 2010 or 2011. KERS is believed to remain open for teams to use next season.

- The sport's governing body and FOTA will meet again after the Brazilian Grand Prix to discuss measures to reduce costs related to chassis development and the continuation of the use of customer chassis in the future.

In an letter penned to the FOTA by Max Mosley yesterday, Mosley laid out the financial concerns and asked for teams' input to help make the sport sustainable. Moreover, he laid out the FIA vision of the future in which he discussed standard engines, custom and customer gearboxes, standard components of the chassis, and solicitated suggestions regarding race procedures or "the show".

It would appear that Max Mosley has cunningly struck at the moment when teams and manufacturers were most vulnerable (losing money in an economic downturn) to essentially bring Formula One back to the 1970's or to some "the Golden Era"; something Mosley made no secret of over the years. With the specifics of the radical changes to come out shortly, F1 will enter a new, old era racing. Honestly, I am not sure where this puts Formula One. On the surface, I would simply say these agreements just makes them a global open wheel NASCAR series. I am sure if F1 fans wanted NASCAR or a complete standardization of the series, they would have just watched NASCAR or the Indy Racing League (IRL). Given what fan surveys called for, I do not see this move as keeping Formula One fans interested. However, fans are a fickle bunch and it just might be the solution in making F1 more popular. I just as you, will be watching what the specifics will be.

Nevertheless, feel free to check out opinions and information on the financial crisis that led to today's announcement:

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