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FOTA cuts budgets by 50% and changes points
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FOTA cuts budgets by 50% and changes points
Posted By:   |  05 Mar 2009   |  12:54 pm GMT  |  0 comments

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.

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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.

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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.

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  1. Moog says:

    By my reckoning, if you apply that points system to last year’s results you’d have:
    #1 LH & FM (113 pts)
    #3 KR (86pts)
    #4 RK (80pts)
    #5 FA (66pts)
    #6 NH (64pts)
    #7HK (60pts)
    #8 SV (37pts)
    #9 JT (32pts)
    #10 TG (26pts)
    #11 MW (21pts)
    #12 NP (20pts)
    #13 NR (19pts)
    #14 RB (12pts)
    #15 KN (9pts)
    #16 DC (9pts)
    #17 SB (4pts)
    #18 JB (3pts)
    #19 GF (0pts)
    #20 AS (0pts)

    #1 Ferrari (199pts)
    #2 Mclaren (179pts)
    #3 BMW (117pts)
    #4 Toro Rosa (85pts)
    #5 Renault (63pts)
    #6 Willians (58pts)
    #7 Red Bull (28pts)
    #8 Toyota (24pts)
    #9 Honda (21pts)
    #10 Force India (0pts)

    Ok, so people would have driven differently etc, but for comparison.

  2. john g says:

    hopefully the revised points kicks the medals idea into touch, although i can’t see why it cannot be applied to this season.

    another thing i read about the FOTA proposals was a standardised KERS system from 2010…!?

  3. RJ says:

    It’s good to see the FOTA pushing the rule changes instead of ‘wondering max’, not to sure about the aero work cut by 50%, 08 cars where beautiful and looked the part in what they call the principal of motor sport, think the points awarded is much better and hope we dont have to see the medal system. Keep us up to date james on what is going on. Apart from that i cant wait for the season to get under way…….!!!!!

  4. Glen D says:

    I like the points changes to reward finishing in the top 3. Also the idea to give 1 constructor point for the fastest pit stop could be good.
    Maybe they could have gone a little further by suggesting a point for the fastest lap and maybe for pole position too.

    Good to see the teams united with a commen goal to improve the show, save money and give more to the fans

  5. guy says:

    Great stuff James, thank you. Look forward to hearing more about the cost cuts. Can anyone be bothered to recalculate the effect on the proposed new points system over the last few years?

  6. Tom says:

    Brilliant news, and the immediate changes are very welcome: open radio and fuel data.

    Does the fuel data apply to only the top 10? When does the rest of the grid decide on their fuel loads?

    If they don’t have to declare them, 11th will be the most sought-after spot on the grid!

  7. Ben G says:

    Great to see the teams taking a stand together. With luck, it won’t be long before they show Bernie the door.

  8. Finn says:

    I don’t want shorter races.

  9. James says:

    The thing which I find really concerning here is that us, the fans, may lose out if the FOTA have their way here. If races are cut from 200 to 150 miles, we’re losing 25% of a grand prix! If that were to happen, surely race day tickets should drop by 25% to reflect that. Otherwise, to me, it would appear that the FOTA (and FOM?) are trying to make a cheap buck out of the fans on this one.

    Instead, I would suggest that perhaps a sprint race could be bought in (like in GP2) with a reversed grid. Not sure how they would award points for this, but that would help to improve the spectacle for the drivers.

    Otherwise, I agree with the proposals that the FOTA have made.

  10. Lokksley says:

    Cost cuts, re-jigged points system, reduced influence from Bernie-Max (wasn’t he in Charlie’s Angels?), even reduced aero (as long as the cars don’t all end up looking like Renault’s 09 contender which I’m sure they’ve borrowed from Lego Land)- all jolly good, I’d say.

    But shorter races?!? Which bright spark came up with that idea? Poor, very, very poor…

  11. Kenny Carwash says:

    Some very interesting ideas coming from FOTA already, they could be of huge benefit to the sport as long as they don’t get on the wrong side of Bernie and Max.

    So far FOM have almmost completely failed to tap into the potential of the internet and it would be of huge benefit if they used their coverage to promote the sport instead of issuing takedown notices to anyone who dares post it, presumably so they can hoard it for their expensive end-of-season DVDs that hardly anybody buys. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve tried to show a friend an interesting F1 clip only to fall foul of Bernie’s internet elves.

    Cutting the cost of engine and gearbox supply is a sensible move, as privateers may provide more stable teamsat a time when the manufacturers are coming under increasing pressure to draw a big red line through their F1 budgets. I’m not convinced standardising KERS is a good idea at this point though. I think you need to maintain competition between a few different manufacturers until something of a plateau is reached, at which point the only avenue for further development is in the materials used. That’s when things start getting really expensive and that’s when you want to standardise. FOTA risk curtailing the potential of KERS if they standardise too early and two or three seasons may not be long enough.

  12. Sébastien F. says:

    Shorter races? Wouldn’t they have to cut the price of the tickets? Who would pay the same price to see the cars go by 25% less?

  13. Jon says:

    I hope they don’t shorten the races. I hope Bernie veto’s it, saying that contracts are for x amount of airing time, which includes the opportunity for advertising/commercials to pay for the rights to the coverage. And by shortening the races it jips the broadcasters of their contracted time.

    Usually I dislike Bernie’s money hungry justifications but this time might be the exception.

  14. Thomas says:

    I really really hate the idea of publishing fuel data after qualifying. Why would they agree to that? Some of the coolest races I’ve seen came from not knowing that – most recently the surprise in Tyrkey when Lewis was on a three-stopper. It would change so much in strategy.

    Can we have more of the info the teams get instead? Give us pretty much the same data they get in the “command centre” (the pitbox) via the internet like we do with live timing now.

  15. Andy Fov says:

    Shorter races haven’t been suggested for our benefit. We’re using a F1 forum out of season, it’s fairly safe to assume we’re all true F1 enthusiasts in here. James may have the odd stalker, but I doubt it somehow. ;-)

    The idea of shorter races is to give F1 appeal to new audience, never mind what us die-hard fans who have made Bernie rich want, it’s now all serving the Xbox generation, folk with poor attention spans craving more immediate thrills.

    Having said all that, I’ve found the closing stages of some races desperately dull.

  16. F1 Boston Fan says:

    - Do the shorter races have something to do with making the engines last longer?

  17. Andrew Halliday says:

    Some of the changes announced are pretty good such as the amendments to the points system but there are two things I take issue with: Firstly, if races are to be shortened (not a good idea) does this mean that I will pay less for my tickets when attending Grands Prix? Seeing as I’m effectively paying to see a ‘budget show’ with teams spending less and the race itself will be quicker I think this saving should be passed on to the customer. Secondly, if we are to have race fuel loads publicised, doesn’t this defeat the idea of qualifying with race fuel? I’d much prefer a return to good old qualifying with a lap worth of fuel on board – that way we’d really see which car is the fastest and as everyone will be on the same fuel, the fastest cars/drivers will be rewarded.

  18. LoudHoward says:

    Shorter races is such a horrible idea. I’ve yet to hear one fan go “Yes! Best idea ever!” – who did they survey to get these results? Or did they just ignore the fans?

  19. David says:

    Instead of tinkering with points, race distances and fuel information why not simply ban refuelling and tyre changes this season? Lets have the overtaking done on the track and not in pit lane!

  20. Darren M says:

    Most big F1 fans like us will be really disapointed by the shorter races, but apparently FOTA are still planning to change qualifying, by 2010 I think. If they use the 15 lap qualifying knockout system proposed in late 2008, there would effectively be a mini race on Saturday’s, which would hopefully be better than one 200 mile race on Sunday. Mabye they could even give points to the top 3 in qualifying as an extra incentive.

  21. Moog says:

    Potentially less ad breaks too as the coverage would in theory be shorter.

    A shorter race would tactically alter a lot too, a 1 stop race would possibly become more of an option. I can’t remember if refuelling is banned or not in forthcoming years, but a shorter race will have design implications regarding tank size too.

  22. Kenny Carwash says:

    Refuelling is to be banned from 2010 onwards and I think this is the reason FOTA have suggested shorter races. In recent years there would really have been very little to talk about during the middle portion of a race if not for fuel strategies, so maybe it would be better to trim the race distance to compensate for that.

  23. Stephen Kellett says:

    “and it would be of huge benefit if they used their coverage to promote the sport instead of issuing takedown notices to anyone who dares post it …”

    Indeed. Monty Python clips on YouTube have popularised Monty Python no end. The quality is poor, but the content is free and importantly, short.

    The result – rocketing DVD sales of Monty Python shows.

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