MAY 24, 2002
A major revamp for the F1 rules coming?
THERE was much talk in the paddock at Monaco about suggestions of how the sport should react to the current problems with the recession. Bernie Ecclestone let it be known that he is keen for the manufacturers to agree to supply more than one team with engines - and even with cars.
"Once Ferrari and Mercedes, for example, have spent all the money in research and development, testing and building their cars, it is not much more expensive to produce extra cars," Ecclestone said. "That would allow some people to make a financial arrangement to run those cars and the advantages to them are obvious."
Ecclestone also suggested that he was in support of a Manufacturers' Championship which would count the scores of four cars rather than the current two. This would provide the automobile companies with the incentive to expand their engine supply.
The proposal was part of a package which was circulated to the teams last week by FIA President Max Mosley. This is a closely-guarded secret but we believe that it also included a scheme to cut testing. We suggested some weeks ago that there was a plan for teams that do not test to be given extra testing at races and we believe that this is the basis of the proposal with teams which agree not to test during the season being given the right to two hours of extra running on Fridays. We hear that this would be unrestricted with T-cars and reserve drivers allowed (thus meaning that the teams could run three or even four cars if they wished to do so).
Controversially, we hear that the plan is to allow the teams that do not test to have one engine for only Saturday and Sunday. Other teams would have to use one engine for the whole weekend.
The danger of the ideas are that the smaller teams would in effect lose their political voice as they would become dependent on the bigger teams for the supply of machinery. However as several teams say they are in danger of going out of business they are happy to agree to the new ideas. The big question now is whether the proposals can be put into a form which will be acceptable to enough teams for the issue to be put to the Formula 1 Commission. If there are six teams in agreement it is possible for the changes to be accepted.
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