MAY 31, 1999
F1 bosses call off brain storm meeting
THE Grand Prix team chiefs were due to meet this week for a two-day session of brain-storming as to how to improve the spectacle of Formula 1 racing by changes to the technical and sporting regulations. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone had invited the 11 team owners to a meeting at the famous Manoir des Quatres Saisons hotel near Oxford but the meeting had to be cancelled when six of the 11 said they would not be able to attend the meeting because of prior commitments.
Ecclestone wants the meeting to take place quickly because the current regulations have made it increasingly difficult for drivers to execute overtaking manoeuvres. The FIA cannot change the technical regulations - except on the grounds of safety or to alter the sporting regulations over an issue such as tires and in order for changes to be made they must be approved by the F1 Commission. Since June last year this body has had 26 members - including 11 team chiefs. Eighteen votes are needed for a motion to be carried and so the agreement of team owners is essential if things are to change. A meeting needs to be held soon so that the F1 Commission can prepare a plan before the FIA World Council next meets in June to vote through changes for the future. If this deadline is not met, rule changes might be delayed for several years.
Pressure is growing in F1 to change the current technical rules to improve the show and attract new companies. At the Spanish Grand Prix several drivers and engineers spoke out about the problems created by the current regulations - notably the aerodynamic sensitivity of the cars and the lack of grip from the tires and have suggested that the rules should be changed to make the racing more exciting. Damon Hill called the current grooved-tire regulations "a blind alley" and Williams technical director Patrick head was also highly critical of the tire situation which, he said, forced Bridgestone to make "lousy tires".
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