OCTOBER 23, 2004
The game begins
The Formula 1 team principals have been going from meeting to meeting all weekend but on Saturday afternoon the future of the sport suddenly began to look rosy again as the majority of the teams decided that enough is enough and that things need to change for the good of the sport. For most of the day the discussion had been about a deal to switch the sport to a control tyre and to restrict testing. Gradually the teams have signed one by one. The deal is for there to be free testing in the winter months but then only 10 days during the F1 season plus four hours on Friday after each Grand Prix. The teams agreed that his would have an important effect on the costs involved in the sport. But they agreed that if the testing and tyres could be restricted they would be willing to do an18th and a 19th race in 2005.
The problem remains Ferrari and its client team Sauber, which seemed to be keen on the initiative but was stuck having to support Ferrari. But now its seems the games are getting serious with the other teams agreeing to announce that they have eight out of 10 teams committed to control tyres and a cut in testing and that the block by Ferrari would result in the demise of the British and French Grands Prix, the 18th and 19th races of the 2005 calendar. Suddenly the blame for the disappearance of two of the oldest races in the World Championship has landed at Ferrari's door and although the team does not want to budge, the pressure is on to do so.
We will watch developments with interest in the hours ahead but the signs are that F1 has turned a corner and is looking at doing things for the right reasons.
The additional benefit of the control tyre is that it will help to improve the safety of the sport.
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