MAY 12, 1997
Mosley says "No change"
MAX MOSLEY, the president of the international automobile federation, says that the F1 rules are not going to be changed because teams and drivers say they do not like the cars which are being planned.
"There is no prospect that this will be changed for 1998. We have been through all the procedures," said Mosley. "Talk around the paddock can be ignored."
Mosley also dismissed criticism from Jacques Villeneuve about the grooved tires which will appear next year. "It is our responsibility to worry about safety, not his," Mosley said. "Jacques should say he wants a faster car, more grip and more power. He should not be concerned about safety.
"It's my job to be concerned about safety, because I want to try and make sure that if I am still here when Jacques is 50 he can say to me: `You were right, because I am still around'.
"It's all right living life at the edge until someone gets killed. That is unacceptable. Motor racing is dangerous, but we have to make it as safe as we can. If racing drivers say the sport will become boring, then I'm sorry. They are paid millions - they can get their fun elsewhere."
Mosley added that the FIA safety specialists are very proud of what has been achieved. He said that statistically the likelihood of an F1 driver getting killed in a crash was now 300:1 while in the 1960s there was one death for every 10 accidents.
Mosley added that the FIA Advisory Expert Group had concluded that without the padding around the cockpits of F1 cars that Jos Verstappen would have been killed at Spa last year.
Asked what he thought about Mosley's comments, Villeneuve said that he still thinks "Max is wrong".
Damon Hill was also critical of Villeneuve's comments about the new regulations. "It is total nonsense to talk about the car being impossible to drive," said Damon. "It is just slower. There is less grip so it goes slower it's a bit like driving in the wet.
"It should still be a thrill to drive a F1 car. It should still be difficult to drive a F1 car. It should still be the pinnacle of single seater racing. I was not as dismayed by the grooved tires as I thought I was going to be, but by the same token when I put the slicks back on I thoroughly enjoyed myself because I went faster.
"If you reduce grip then it suddenly becomes more of a challenge to put that power on the road and the cars become more interesting to watch on the circuit as they slide around a lot more. People want to see cars driven on the edge. The wet is the ultimate example of less grip watching cars being driven in the wet is more entertaining and quite often produces better racing.
"With grooved tires, it is much easier to go off line so the track is wider too and that encourages more overtaking. I think it puts the onus back on the drivers to show what they can do with an unwieldy beast out on a track with more horsepower than grip."