JULY 16, 2006
A day at the races?
Most people in Formula 1 go to motor races to watch the action on the race track but at Magny-Cours it seemed that more action was going on in the paddock as the team principals, Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA tried to find a compromise over engines in 2007 and 2008. If the teams cannot agree on a package the FIA says it will impose a full freeze in 2008. The decision must be made before the race today as Max Mosley has imposed a deadline of 4pm.
The technical aspects of a potential package have been agreed by everyone but the problem is that the small teams will not sign up unless they are guaranteed a cheap supply of engines. Thus far it has been impossible for the manufacturers to agree on this and much of the talk over the Magny-Cours weekend about an engine fund that would be paid by the manufacturers and used to subsidise an independent engine supplier chosen by tender. The FIA says that this is legal but others involved believe that there would be competition issues involved.
The talking goes on but at the moment it is hard to see a solution being found by the deadline and we would thus expect the FIA to announce tomorrow that it will impose the 2008 freeze. We then expect the federation to follow-up with an imposition of the 2008 rules in 2007 on the grounds of safety as cornering speeds are judged to be too high.
When all is said and done, the FIA will emerge with what it wants and the manufacturers will once again be left to stew in their own juices. Whether this will result in anyone walking away from the sport remains to be seen. There is also the chance that things will go legal if those involved feel they have a decent case.
In the meantime there is a motor race this afternoon and fans around the world hope it will be more interesting than the recent Grands Prix.
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