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MARCH 14, 2003

Mosley and Ecclestone disagree over rule changes

While the FIA President Max Mosley has been saying that the revised Formula 1 regulations helped produce a better race in Melbourne, the man in charge of the F1 commercial rights, Bernie Ecclestone is arguing the opposite.

"I don't think that Schumacher knocking bits off his car, Montoya spinning when he was in the lead, Raikkonen speeding in the pit lane, or the Safety Cars were to do with the rules," Ecclestone told the BBC. "The grid looked like last year, with the Ferraris at the front."

While there is something in the argument about what happened in the race, Ecclestone's comments about qualifying do not ring true. The Ferraris were on the front row but behind them the grid was considerably shaken up with Olivier Panis, Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen all up at the front and the McLarens in trouble. This inevitbaly had an effect on the race in the early laps although the drying conditions perhaps played a bigger role.

The question raised by Ecclestone's comments is why he is talking down the changes.

Mosley, incidentally, told ITV that he is optimistic that the changes that are coming in F1 in the next few years will draw in new teams. Mosley said that if the FIA is able to get through the rules it wants to reduce engine costs it is "virtually a certainty in 2005-2006."