OCTOBER 24, 2007

The FIA World Council

The FIA World Council met in Paris and announced its plans to have a total freeze on engine development for a period of 10 years, starting in 2008. The federation says that a change can be made after five years but only with the unanimous agreement of all stakeholders and following a further two-year notice period. There had been alternative proposals put forward by the engine manufacturers but these were rejected by the FIA. Whether sticking with a 2.4-litre V8 engine for the next year is a good idea remains to be seen. The FIA says this will enable the manufacturers to concentrate on developing systems such as regenerative braking systems and so on. Some of the engine makers are less than happy about the situation and argue that it is not in keeping with the technological image that F1 should be presenting but it will be cheaper than changing the rules again. Having said that 10 years is a very long time in the future and there are probably some people who are looking at the situation and accepting it in the knowledge that at some point along the way the FIA will probably change its president and then there may be new ideas coming in. Max Mosley is now 67 years old and even if he does stand for election again in 2009 - which most people in F1 are taking as read - he will be not be able to go on after a second four year term - unless of course he has the rules changed again. Given the unerring support of the World Council in recent years, Mosley seems able to do pretty much as he pleases.

The World Council says it has also agreed to Spyker's request to change its name to Force India. This would normally be something covered by the Concorde Agreement - and needing unanimous support of the signatories - but the FIA says that there is no Concorde Agreement after December 31 and so it can do as it pleases.

The council has also announced that it is to establish the FIA Development Fund, which will assist the work of National Sporting Authorities (ASNs) in promoting the development of safer motor sport worldwide, especially in countries where the motor sport infrastructure is in need of support. Representatives from Mercedes and Ferrari will be invited to join the Fund™s board. The money is coming from the fine that McLaren is due to pay in December and will provide the FIA with an important source of funding for the clubs. One can only hope that the distribution of these funds does not become politicised.

The World Council has also confirmed the F1 calendar for next year with Singapore now confirmed as a night race and the questions mark removed from Canada.