F1 teams agree to cost-cutting measures

Formula One teams unanimously agreed to a series of cost-cutting measures.

updated: January 09, 2009 17:54 IST
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Formula One teams unanimously agreed to a series of cost-cutting measures, including limits on expensive testing and an off-the-shelf cheaper engine for smaller teams from 2010.

They also vowed to continue slashing costs of the sport.

The Formula One Teams Association agreed to the proposals - first announced by governing body FIA in December - at a meeting of its executive committee in London. According to a FOTA statement, "all of the teams are committed to working together in a rational and systematic manner ... to effectively reduce the costs inherent to Formula One."

The sweeping steps were adopted as the sport's automakers are reeling from the global financial crisis. Honda announced in December that it is pulling out of F1 and Super Aguri quit in April.

FOTA also agreed to develop low-cost transmissions starting in 2010 that would be used for six races, and to supply low-cost engines to independent teams for less than euro5 million ($6.6 million) per team per season.

The most immediate change will be the imposition of a limit on the use of wind tunnels for aerodynamic testing in the 2009 season.

Further changes being considered for introduction after next season may be more radical, as FIA seeks to ensure the sport's long-term survival. Races could even be shortened to save money, and refueling may be banned from 2010 _ which could dramatically alter the spectacle for fans.

Although details have yet to be worked out, the measure was prompted by the heavy cost of transporting bulky equipment such as refueling rigs.

"The FOTA Technical Regulations Working Group will now conclude the elimination of expensive materials and identify further opportunities to reduce the cost of components and systems which do not deliver performance differentiation," the release said.

The teams also agreed to use market research to improve Formula One's appeal with the possibility that races will be shortened.

Earlier Thursday, FIA president Max Mosley floated the possibility of imposing a budget cap on all Formula One teams in a letter to FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo.

"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 wrote.

Mosley said he wants the budgets to be reduced to a level where the teams can operate profitably.