The Formula One Teams Association held its first press conference today here in Geneva and the show of strength from the teams underlined how united they are.
The headlines are that they have agreed to measures for 2010 which will cut budgets by 50% compared to the 2008 season. This will mean teams like Force India needing a budget of around £50 million and a top team like Ferrari and McLaren operating on £150 million. It’s impressive progress, but still some way short of what FIA president Max Mosley is looking for. I think the FIA will probably accept these proposals when they are put to them in the next couple of days. Montezemolo told me afterwards that he thinks they will go further in 2011 and 2012 reducing costs, but also looking to increase revenues, particularly from the internet.
They have achieved the 50% saving for 2010 by going through the costs and making savings they are all comfortable with like a 50% cut in aerodynamics work, more savings on gearboxes, a reduction in the number of updates allowed on the car in a season and a further cut in testing. They will also cut the cost of engine supply for small teams by another 37.5% (ie from £5 million per season to £3.2m, so engine and gearbox will be under £5 million total. They also agreed unanimously to standardise the KERS systems and a tender will go out shortly to that effect. It will be very interesting to see what Max Mosley thinks of that…
They have also called for two significant changes to the racing for this season – they want races to be shortened to 150 miles from the current 200 (so Felipe Massa gets his way, see post yesterday!) and for the winner to be better rewarded with a points system which goes 12-9-7-5-4-3-2-1.
The manufacturer teams will make gearboxes available to privateers for £1.5 million per season.
FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo also confirmed that all the manufacturers in F1 have committed to stay in the sport until 2012, putting to bed any suggestion that Renault or Toyota might pull out and it was confirmed that the former Honda team will be on the grid in 2009, (see separate post).
It is quite clear that without the FOTA initiatives of the last few months, Honda would have been dead and maybe one or tow more teams would have followed.
All the teams will now sign the Concorde Agreement by March 18th and that will provide a lot of stability to the sport.
They have also committed to provide more information for viewers this season to make the races more entertaining to watch, such as all the fuel data after qualifying, the radio conversations will be totally open and they want to make a graphic showing which cars are fuelled to the finish. Whether Bernie Ecclestone chooses to use these graphics on his TV feed is another question….
I’ll post later on the mood here, the details of the proposals etc, but these are the headlines.