OCTOBER 11, 2003
More on the new timetable
More and more details are now emerging about the new Formula 1 timetable being proposed for next season although the plans have yet to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which meets in Paris on Wednesday next week. The most significant new item to come to light is the decision to allow the bottom six teams in the World Championship to run three cars on Fridays. This was designed as a means of helping the small teams to get more testing but in fact offers little help because, as this is an official session, drivers will have to have a superlicence. In order to get this they will have to have completed the necessary 300km of testing and that effectively means that young drivers will need to spend $300,000 to get a superlicence and then more money to take part in the events. This will mean that the number of drivers able to compete will drop and so the smaller teams will have access to fewer sponsorship deals.
The big teams will not be allowed to run third cars because it is assumed that they will be doing enough testing already. The restriction on testing of 48 days is also irrelevant as it does not mean car-days but rather days on which a team might run as many as four cars if they have the capacity to do so, in other words there is effectively no limit on testing. This has come about because Ferrari has refused to accept any limitations.
"Ferrari is extremely influential in this business," said Patrick Head, "and they are the people that have said that they are not willing to accept a limitation on testing. When something has to be agreed unanimously and one team says 'I am not even prepared to discuss it' there isn't much point in talking a lot further, is there?"
"We are all in favor of reducing the testing to try to save money," said Toyota's Ove Andersson, "but there isn't the possibility to get a unanimous agreement on this issue so that is why we have the situation we have."
"It doesn't help. It doesn't save money and it destroys the advantage the small teams had," said Paul Stoddart.
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