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JUNE 24, 2008

FIA wants $755,000 fees from each F1 team

The FIA World Council will consider a proposal to make teams pay for various "services and equipment at every F1 race" and intends to add the cost to the entry fee.

The costs include the marshalling and positioning System (F1MS), which provides race control with accurate real time information about each car's position on the track and enables light signals to be sent to the cars from race control. The annual cost per team is reckoned to be $160,000. In addition there are fees for "light flags", light panels around the track which will supplement flag signals which give race control an accurate record of what signals are shown and when. This will cost each team $190,000. The accident data recorders on the cars are being charged at $20,000 per year, with the costs of a pitlane and garage communication network to replace paper messages and the need for runners is being charged at $110,000 per team and weather forecasting services at $75,000, in addition to $110,000 for the pitwall intercom systems.

All this will hike the entry fee from $466,000 to $1.1m, more than double the cost last year.

At the moment these costs are being met by the FIA but obviously under the current deal with the Formula One group, this is more than the federation can afford to pay. The FIA receives around $650,000 from the commercial rights holder for each Grand Prix, as part of the commercial agreements signed in 2000. Given that FOM is getting around $35m per event this is is not much and the FIA's solution is to get the teams to pay.

Given that the FIA is apparently campaigning for much more money for the teams this is not a great imposition - as long as there are new commercial arrangements put in place. However, there is a clear question as to whether or not the players should be asked to pay for the playing field or whether this should be the responsibility of the federation. Given that so much money is being generated by the sport it seems sensible that some of this should be used, but obviously with the ongoing fight between FOM and the FIA there is little chance of this happening.

It will be interesting to see what the teams think.