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Mosley threatens to scrap cost-cutting
Alan Baldwin | February 09, 2005 12:44 IST
FIA head Max Mosley has warned that Formula One's governing body could abandon moves to cut costs in the sport because he says most teams no longer seem concerned about saving money.
The International Automobile Federation president, in a letter to Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart on Tuesday, suggested the nine teams who shunned a meeting with him last month had done so to avoid discussing future cost reductions with the FIA.
"That is perhaps understandable," he wrote.
"The two teams whose future appeared most under threat at the end of last season have fortunately both been taken over by organisations which are reputed to have available very significant financial resources.
"This may be the reason why most of the teams seem unconcerned either by current costs or even probable future costs.
"There are now those in the FIA who question whether further time and effort should be expended in seeking cost reduction in Formula One," added Mosley.
"The matter will be discussed by the World Motor Sport Council next month and may well result in the abandonment of these efforts unless or until there is a financial crisis in Formula One of the kind which appeared imminent last Autumn."
Jaguar and Jordan have both changed ownership since the end of last season, with Red Bull buying the former team from Ford and renaming it while the Midland Group has taken over Jordan.
Stoddart's Minardi are the smallest and most cash-strapped of all the 10 teams, operating on a fraction of their manufacturer-backed rivals' budgets.
Mosley has made cost-cutting the cornerstone of his presidency in recent years, warning teams only last month that current levels of spending in the glamour sport were unsustainable and urgent measures were needed. It would be extraordinary for him to turn his back on that.
"If we do nothing, we will lose the independent teams and end up with a money-spending contest between an ever-smaller number of major manufacturers," he said in an agenda sent to all teams for the January 28 meeting that only Ferrari attended.
"As with all unstable financial systems, if action is delayed, the final crisis will be all the greater."
Formula One is going through a power struggle, with the existing commercial agreement expiring at the end of 2007 when the carmakers have threatened to set up a rival series.
Champions Ferrari have broken ranks with the carmakers, signing up with the FIA and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone to extend the Concorde Agreement to 2012.
Stoddart told Reuters he was not worried by Mosley's comments, suggesting it was more a sign of capitulation by the FIA president and that it should now be left to the teams and relevant commissions to agree measures.
"We'll cut the costs ourselves, we're serious enough to do it," he said of the nine teams who have already signed a voluntary agreement to limit testing during the season.
"I don't think we'd hear any argument if the FIA decided not to get involved."
Stoddart suggested recent cost-cutting measures had not worked for his team.
"I'm sure the thought process behind it all was a good intention," he said. "But nobody asked me what they could do to help me save money. It would not have been any of the things they have done."
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