MARCH 31, 2007
FIA uses stealth PR
The FIA does not like to be seen to be backing down on anything and thus the press release after the recent FIA World Council meeting mentioned nothing about letting the Turkish racing federation off its fine from last year nor any details about "a number of amendments" that had been agreed for 2008. This obviously meant that there were changes that the FIA did not wish to publicise and close study of the new regulations reveals that many of the rules voted through for 2008 have now been abandoned. The plans were originally voted through - without the agreement of the teams - to improve the racing, in theory at least. Now that conflict between the teams and the federation has eased somewhat and everyone is looking towards agreeing a new Concorde Agreement, the FIA is backing down. It had been planned to increase the width of the cars to 2000mm but they will now stay at the current 1800mm. In addition the plan to reduce the minimum weight to 550kg has also been dropped and the weight limit will remain 605kg. Also gone are slick tyres which means that the current grooved tyres will remain.
The freeze on engines has been relaxed somewhat as well with teams now being allowed to make modifications to many of the auxiliary parts of the engine, including pumps, injection systems, exhausts, and ignition systems. The basic architecture of the engines will have to remain the same but much will now be modifiable.
The one area in which the rules will not change is the banning of traction-control as the FIA will be supplying common electronic control units this will now be possible to police.
The policy of proposing massive change and then backing down to a point at which the federation gets some of what it wants is not new.
It is just part of the game.
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