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FEBRUARY 20, 2001

Major Formula One changes to be introduced next year

FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L'AUTOMOBILE (FIA) President Max Mosley on Tuesday revealed that Formula One will feature dramatic changes next year - with speed limits being put in place to increase safety.

Mosley, speaking at a media lunch in London, revealed that the yellow flag system currently in operation to slow drivers following Grand Prix accidents will be ditched from 2002 and replaced with speed limits.

The move comes after the multi-car pile-up at Monza which cost race marshal Paolo Gislimberti his life and Formula One cars will, from next year, have a device to slow their speed.

"From 2002 the normal yellow flag system will be replaced by the imposition of variable speed limits," Mosley said. "These limits will depend on the layout of circuits at the accident site and the degree of risk to track workers.

"It will be decided by the race director and communicated electronically to every driver in the area of the accident. Cars will be equipped to run just under the speed limit. Cars exceeding the speed limit will be detected and given a stop-go penalty."

Mosley also revealed that power steering and brake balance assistance will also be removed for next season. Brake balance is currently assisted electronically, but the impending arrival of traction control has prompted the FIA to reduce the number of driver aids.

Mosley also said that the safety car will be removed from Formula One and replaced with a speed profile system in 2003.

The new system will keep all cars competing at the same speed, with the gap between them remaining constant. A collision avoidance system will also be introduced to avoid accidents in thick spray and poor conditions.

Meanwhile, Mosley said that several teams have yet to pass vital crash tests for the 2001 season, but added that he expects all 11 teams to have satisfied the FIA before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix on March 4.

He revealed that some teams have failed the crucial side impact tests, but added that other teams had failed less stringent tests.

"By no means have all the teams passed the safety tests," Mosley said. "The biggest problem has been the side impact tests.

"But some people have failed that and other tests as well. But I feel they are likely to have that sorted by Melbourne."