OCTOBER 7, 2006
The rules so far
There is a certain amount of confusion in Formula 1 circles about some of the plans for next season with particular fogginess in relation to testing, third cars and so on. Our understanding is that the following will be happening: Teams will be allowed to run 30,000km of tests in the calendar year. At the same time there will be a restriction of 300 sets of tyres. There are not going to be any third cars allowed but on Fridays at Grands Prix (Thursday in the case of Monaco) teams will be allowed to run their cars free of engine restrictions and using any drivers they want to run, on the understanding that the driver in question has a superlicence. These tests will be in addition to the 30,000km limit.
At the moment Bridgestone is busy negotiating to try to make sure that the teams all attend the same tests to avoid the need to send tyres here and there for different tests. This is obviously made rather less easy by the fact that Ferrari has its own test tracks in Italy and Paul Ricard has a contractual arrangement with Toyota.
In the longer term, the F1 Technical Working Group will soon start work discussing the aerodynamic rules for 2009 as it is now clear that the 2007 rules will be carried through into 2008 after the much-vaunted CDG wing was rejected by all concerned. Work will also begin next week on the new energy-saving ideas that the FIA wants in 2009.
There is also some discussion about the rules of engine supply in 2008 as the GPMA teams have apparently agreed that they will supply only their own teams plus one customer. This however does not cover Ferrari and one must presume that if push comes to shove Renault will circumvent the situation by arguing that Mecachrome is also not a manufacturer. There are also questions over restriction on the supply of chassis in 2007 - in addition to the ongoing arguments about 2008 and beyond - as both Red Bull and Honda are apparently planning to circumvent the Concorde Agreement which restricts a team to using only chassis to which it holds the intellectual property rights. The way to achieve this is to have the intellectual property rights to a chassis owned by an umbrella organisation as the Concorde Agreement does not say that companies cannot own more than one team. Thus if Red Bull owns the IPR to a chassis it can supply that chassis to both its teams as long as they manufacture the chassis themselves.
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