MAY 4, 2003
The new regulations - what does it all mean?
On January 15 the FIA Max Mosley delivered a series of reforms to the Formula 1 teams - which left them in shock: third cars were banned, cars were to be left sealed in parc ferme between the end of qualifying and the race, telemetry, radios, traction-control, launch-control and fully automatic gearboxes were all banned. At the time Max Mosley said that if the teams could produce "convincing evidence that immediate strict enforcement will add to costs in a particular area" the changes would be delayed.
This led to a legal challenge from McLaren and Williams which, in theory at least, will eventually go to the International Chamber of Commerce, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Since then, however, the FIA has gradually fallen back from its initial position and many of the rule changes announced have been discarded or modified. Spare cars are allowed again, car-to-pit telemetry and radios are back, traction-control is to be allowed, but the most important thing is that the teams have all agreed to running with one engine per event in 2004 and beyond. We believe that this was always Mosley's aim and that some of the other measures were merely a diversionary tactic to take the focus away from the engine plan. It would not be the first time that Mosley has adopted such tactics. Last year for example Mosley proposed two very radical and controversial suggestions: switching drivers between teams and adding weight for every World Championship point that a driver scores while trying to push through a number of cost-cutting measures and rules which were felt would improve the show. These were later dropped but the F1 Commission did agree to changing qualifying and altering the tire regulations so that the tire companies could make specific tires for specific cars.
The single engine rule will mean a big reduction in the number of engines which need to be built and this means that manufacturers will be able to supply other engines to customer teams at sensible prices. This means that, in theory at least, the smaller teams in F1 should be able to survive and new teams can once again consider entering F1.
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