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NOVEMBER 24, 2004

F1 Commission called off!

The FIA has just cancelled the planned Formula 1 Commission meeting on December 9 saying that there was unlikely to be a quorum at the meeting and that none of the teams had volunteered any items for the agenda. This is an unusual explanation for the situation given that the FIA President sent out an agenda early in November which was then circulated amongst the F1 teams. This included items such as a discussion on testing and on the need for control tyres; the issues which were raised by the nine teams when they signed their Cost Saving Initiative in Brazil last month.

That move was an attempt to get Ferrari to agree to reduce testing and to accept a control tyre arrangement. That was fought off by Ferrari refusing to agree before November 1 and so the other teams went ahead to get the tyre issue discussed by the F1 Commission. The December 9 meeting was to do that before the FIA World Council meeting the following day. There is an element of urgency in all this because teams have to get the tyre question sorted out before December 31 if they want it to come into effect on January 1 2006. If they do not make it, they will have to wait until the start of 2007 as there is an agreement that the tyre companies get a year of warning before a change in the rules.

The FIA says that it was the first organization to champion the idea of a control tyre and that the teams rejected the idea. The federation says that it is still in support of the idea although Max Mosley said in Brazil that he delayed a move on tyres because he wanted to get a change done to the engine regulations before moving on tyres, his argument being that getting change in the engine rules was more difficult than getting an agreement on tyres.

The issue of control tyres could be sorted out with a fax vote of the F1 Commission before the end of the year (presumably followed by a fax vote of the FIA World Council as well). It is hard to see why this would be necessary as traditionally team bosses, FIA politicians and race promoters are all in Monaco each year at the FIA prizegiving and there has never been a problem with a quorum before. The agenda issue is just curious.

Some team bosses are angry, others are bemused.

"I don't understand it," said one. "Everybody has made it clear in public that they think there needs to be a control tyre in Formula 1."

Others whisper that the whole business has got nothing to do with the control tyre rules nor anything to with whether or not Ferrari agrees with a restriction on testing but is part of a bigger game. We have heard suggestions that there were move afoot to try to unstitch the engine regulations which were agreed by a fax vote of the F1 Commission back in October. It is not clear how this would be done nor whether it is actually a good idea because there are quite a few in F1 who think the engine rules are not a bad idea.

However the angry team bosses are not happy and so we will see how things develop in the days ahead.