JULY 18, 2006
FIA invokes safety to slow the cars
As we suggested would happen a couple of days ago, the FIA has invoked Article 7.5 of the Concorde Agreement and has instructed the Technical Working Group to examine ways in which the increased cornering speeds can be reduced next year. The FIA will now propose three alternative packages and the TWG must decide on one of them within 45 days. If that does not happen the FIA World Council will be able to decide on its own and this can be introduced three months later. This means that the rules can be changed for 2007. The last time Article 7.5 was invoked was relating to switching from V10 to V8 engines and the packages on offer were such that the FIA got what it wanted.
The news that this is happening must be viewed not as an independent measure but rather as part of the ongoing tussle between the FIA and the manufacturers over the rules. The two parties are edging slowly (and not very gracefully) towards a deal for 2008 and beyond but the FIA clearly wants the same thing in 2007 as well and is not moving to achieve that.Whether restricting engine and having control tyres will make the racing better is an entirely different question and there is no sensible indication that this is the case. In order for there to be more differentiation between the cars, based on the drivers, there still need to be changes to the aerodynamics in order to allow one car to run closely behind another. There is some hope that the opportunities for overtaking will improve in the longer term with this and with hybrid systems which may allow drivers to get extra power when they need it.
The theory is that if the cars are very close in terms of performance and hybrid technology can be used to make the difference, it will be a big bonus for F1 in the future.
One can only hope that this is the case because at the moment the races are dull and interest in the sport - and the all-important TV viewing figures - are on the wane.
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