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Mosley wants more Formula One cuts

January 09, 2009 11:03 IST

Formula One's governing body has urged teams to build on cost-cutting measures for this year by taking further steps for the future, including possible voluntary budget caps.

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley, in a letter to the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) before a meeting on Thursday, said a package agreed last month would help considerably but more could yet be done for 2009.

He added that "the really big changes," with much of the detail yet to be hammered out, must come in 2010 for the sport to be put on a sound footing in the face of the global financial crisis.

"We had a championship dependent on the willingness of the world's car industry to continue spending vast sums on Formula One racing and the few remaining independent teams (with one exception) entirely reliant on the generosity of their billionaire owners," said Mosley.

"In current circumstances, it would be crazy to assume this can continue," wrote the Briton.

"Costs must be reduced to a point where a well-run independent team can operate profitably with just the FOM (Formula One Management) money and very moderate sponsorship. This is the only way to safeguard the championship and allow new teams to enter to fill the gaps as well as replace those leaving."

Formula One lost the struggling Honda-backed Super Aguri team during the course of last season and was then rocked last month when Honda announced they were also pulling out.

Honda have yet to find a buyer, leaving just nine teams and 18 cars on a starting grid with space for 12 teams and 24 cars.

With the world car industry in crisis, fears remain that another of the manufacturers that dominate Formula One could also decide to withdraw.

BUDGET CAPS

Mosley said budget capping, in a sport where teams can burn through more than $300 million (197.4 million pounds) a year, had its attractions.

"The idea that each team should have the same amount of money, so that success is simply a function of intellectual ability, has great appeal," he said.

"If properly enforced, it would be a very fair system. Indeed, one view is that having much more money than a rival team is just as unfair as having a bigger engine. We should like to discuss this further with FOTA."

Mosley said a voluntary cap might work given that "no manufacturer whose board has signed off the agreed amount would be likely to allow secret additional expenditure, while independent teams would probably not have access to the necessary cash."

The FIA president asked FOTA to make proposals to reduce further the cost of race weekends and to draw up a list of standard chassis parts.

FOTA, led by Ferrari [Images] president Luca di Montezemolo, said they had taken various steps at their meeting, including formally signing an agreement to restrict aerodynamic testing.

"Furthermore, the teams agreed that they would develop and freeze low cost transmissions for the 2010/12 seasons which would have a six race life, priced at 1.5 million euros (987,257 pounds) per season per team.

"FOTA also reaffirmed its commitment to a 5 million euro engine supply from 2010 for independent teams," it added.

The teams said they would work to eliminate the use of expensive materials and "identify further opportunities to reduce the cost of components and systems which do not deliver performance differentiation."

© Copyright 2008 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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