FIA lays out cost cutting measures for Formula One

Friday, December 12, 2008

Logo of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)
Image: Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has revealed the details of the cost-cutting measures for Formula One that were agreed on Wednesday in talks with the teams. The new measures are expected to save the manufacturer teams at least 30 percent of their budgets next season, with the savings increasing as more of the measures are introduced in the future. The raft of agreements has saved the teams from the threat of standardised engines until at least 2013 and savings for independent teams are predicted by the FIA to be even higher.

For next season the engines will now have to last 3 races, rather than thee current 2 race requirement, and each driver is allowed up to 8 engines throughout the year and the team is allowed a further 4 for testing. Engines will now be rev limited to 18,000 rpm and Renault managed to obtain agreement from the other teams for modifications of its engine to bring it into line with the other engines in the sport. Testing will be affected, with in season testing banned and wind tunnels not to exceed 6:10 scale or 50 metres per second. Teams will be expected to share fuel and tyre data at grand prix in an effort to save on the manpower requirement at the race weekends. The teams will also have to close their factories for 6 weeks a year. The FIA will also be conducting research into the possibility of using a medal system for F1 next season, an idea championed by Bernie Ecclestone, the boss of Formula One Management.

Starting in 2010 more changes will come into force, with the introduction of the cheaper engines being made available to independent teams, costing less than €5 million per season. Any contracts for the cheaper 2010 engines will have to be signed by the 20th of December, 2008. Another engine freeze will occur at the start of the 2010 season, with the engines from 2010 continuing through to the end of 2012. The FIA also intends to try to introduce standardised transmission systems in 2010 and will look at chassis design to determine which aerodynamic parts will be standardised or allowed to be competitive differentiators. Races will see more changes in 2010 with the use of tyre warmers and refuelling banned, and the possibility of shorter race distances has been put forward pending market research. What work the teams can engage in at the factories will also be further limited this season to reduce the manpower and other running costs.

The FIA has raised the possibility of a new power train entirely to be developed for the 2013 season, in consultation with the Formula One Teams Association, and will also discuss making Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) compulsory from 2010. KERS, which is being introduced as a voluntary measure in 2009, has divided the teams with some embracing the technology while others, such as Ferrari, have criticised it.

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