DECEMBER 9, 2005
The Formula 1 world may have been very lovey-dovey in recent months (at least in public) but the FIA World Council gave a reminder that chaos is still standing in the wings, waiting to leap in if either the FIA or the manufacturers throw their toys out of the pram. The World Council ruled that detailed regulations for the 2008 World Championship will be finalised during Christmas week, an odd time given that no-one is really attention at that point. their aim remains to reduce drastically the cost of competing and to change the aerodynamic characteristics of the cars so as to make it easier to overtake without increasing cornering speeds.
The rules, so the federation says, will include a standard electronic control unit, long-life engines, long-life gearboxes, a single tyre supplier, restrictions on the ability of the teams to change their aerodynamics during the season, rev-limited engines and other measures. A lot of these are not believed to be acceptable to the car manufacturers but they may simply be the FIA rattling its sword as it has often done in the past in the hope that it will get some of the things listed. Trying to railroad these through as a package is pretty much guaranteed to drive the manufacturers away from a deal and then all will be a mess again.
The big teams, including Williams, which just signed the Concorde Agreement, are unlikely to be happy with such rules and regulations particularly when they have all invested tens of millions of dollars in windtunnels and will not take kindly to not being allowed to use them to their advantage.
The thing that is hard to understand is why an intelligent man like FIA President Max Mosley goes on and on about cost-cutting when it is quite obvious to everyone else that the only way to cut costs in F1 is to reduce the money supply. That is impossible. The FIA goes on with the stated belief that if they do let manufacturers spend their money on advanced technology, they will not spend it on other technologies. The reality, which we have seen time and again in the history of F1, is that they will spend it on the next best thing, whatever that may be.
Arguing for cost-cutting is also rather a strange concept when the federation not long ago insisted that all the engine manufacturers switch to new V8 engines. According to the engine men this has cost them a collective $2bn in development costs.
As we know that Mosley is anything but stupid one must, therefore, ask what are the real motives behind these measures. And that, fundamentally, is the crux of the remaining problems in F1 now that Formula One Management has come up with a better offer to keep the teams happy from a financial point of view.
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