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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report


Busy week ahead for Formula One

Alan Baldwin | October 22, 2005 12:10 IST

Formula One has a busy week ahead with key players meeting on Monday to discuss a new qualifying system and a return to tyre changes next season.

The draft 2006 calendar is due out on Wednesday while Max Mosley seems certain to be re-elected president of the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) at a general assembly in Rome on Friday.

With the season ending in China last weekend, crowning Renault as double world champions with Spaniard Fernando Alonso, there is no let up for the team heads.

The teams, Mosley, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and representatives of the sponsors and promoters will meet in London on Monday for a long-overdue gathering of the FIA's Formula One commission.

Qualifying is high on the agenda, with a proposal pushed by Ecclestone for the current one-lap format to be replaced by three separate sessions on Saturday.

The first two 15 minute sessions would be knockout, with the slowest five cars in each dropping out and taking positions 16-20 and 11-15 on the starting grid respectively.

The remaining 10 then fight for pole in a final 20 minute stint, with those cars having to start the race with whatever fuel is left over. The 10 knocked out earlier would be allowed to refuel before the start.

Not all back the proposal, with some wary of playing around yet again with a troubled format that has been changed as often as it has been criticised in the last couple of years.

LESS EXCITING

"If you make it a qualifying format that reinstates the concept of having the fastest car at the front and the slowest at the back, you are going to have less exciting races. There's nothing more certain," says McLaren's Ron Dennis.

"I think you should leave it alone through until 2008 and then we need a lot of change, not tinkering change."

The mooted abandonment of the one-race tyre is also controversial, with Bridgestone and Ferrari clearly suffering from its introduction this year.

Such tyres were introduced this season to help cut speeds but, with engines being reduced from 3.0 litre V10s to 2.4 litre V8s, there is an argument for allowing tyre changes to return.

Mercedes motorsport chief Norbert Haug has made clear his opposition, however.

"I completely do not understand why this is in discussion," he said last weekend. "If the background is that the guys who did the best job are penalised, then we are on the wrong path aren't we? Why should we change that rule?"

Other proposals include banning spare cars and the use of third cars in Friday practice by those teams ranked outside the top four.

The FIA's world motor sport council will then meet in Rome, as part of the Italian federation's centenary, on Wednesday to rule on the changes and review the 2006 calendar.

The calendar is another sore point, with Ecclestone reserving 20 slots after an unprecedented 19 this year but the teams reluctant to go above 18.

"I hope I'm not on my own in having a view that we should have a balanced calendar," says Dennis. "I think, I don't know, that there's more likely to be 18 races than 19 next year."

The FIA's general assembly will meet on Friday for a presidential election that sees Mosley, first elected in 1991, as sole candidate for another four-year term.

© Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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