Press briefing with FIA President Max Mosley 05 May 2004
Following Tuesdays meeting with the Formula One team bosses in Monaco, FIA Max Mosley talked to the media about the progress made on the proposed introduction of new sporting and technical regulations. Below is a transcript of that press briefing.
Thank you very much for being here. It was a very good meeting. Where I had expected very significant dispute and debate, there wasnt any. It was very constructive. In a nutshell the proposals for 2008 we simply announced. We went through them all with the teams and discussed them all in some detail.
As far as doing things sooner than 2008, there was a wide measure of agreement that we need to bring in changes much sooner. I think we are going to see a new engine formula in 2006. The engine manufacturers are going to make proposals in addition to those that we have made to reduce the engine costs by 50 percent. It was pointed out by one of the major manufacturers that we are currently spending one thousand million Euros a year to provide engines to 14 of the 20 cars and it therefore should not be too difficult to reduce that by 50 percent. That will make a big difference. Conversely, a thousand million Euros is simply not sustainable, it is not sustainable by any calculation. The only discussion on the engine was whether it was more economic to extend the engine life of a V10 rather than to have a 2.4. That's to say a V10 three-litre doing three races, four, five and eventually six races, rather than a 2-4 V8 doing at least two races and possibly more races later on. But the multi-race engine principle is completely accepted; the need to reduce the power is completely accepted. Even the standard ECU may come in before 2008, that is part of the package of cost measures they will be discussing and of course a standard ECU means standardizing all of the electronics on the cars. The other engine proposals I think will go through as a matter of course and come in before 2006.
On the transmission, braking and steering, the only discussion there was whether it would be more economic, given the current state of knowledge, to stay with an electronically controlled differential but with the electronics completely under the control of the FIA, so that there were no traction control or anything of that kind. And whether we would be better staying with modern gearboxes rather than purely manual gearboxes, it was pointed out that we would never go back to the old 'H' and missed gears and all of that. That is in the past. But on the transmission, braking and steering, complete agreement that we would simply go for the least expensive solution and perhaps most importantly complete agreement that there will be no traction control, no electronic driver aids, they are going to go.
We also had agreement on standard brake discs, pads and calipers and agreement on reducing the weight limit. The weight limit may come down even more than we had thought because eliminating a lot of the electronics and the technology from the cars will in turn make the cars much lighter, so the final reduction in weight may be very significant, and therefore the energy going into a crash. But with that comes the need for very substantial reductions in aerodynamic downforce and changes to the tyres, and also an increase in the drag of the car.
On the sporting aspects, again agreement that we would not have a spare car as it is currently known, they would have a spare chassis (a spare monocoque rather) ready in a box, like the Formula 3000 teams, but there would be no third car in the pits. The cars would certainly be in parc ferme overnight, you would be able to adjust the car but not rebuild it. There was complete agreement for the need of a single tyre supplier. There was just one question about current contractual commitments, which we think could be resolved. But there was no question that all of the teams recognised that if we had a single tyre supplier it would be far less expensive, because of testing, it would be fairer, because everybody would be on the same basis, and there would also be a very important safety aspect in that with a single tyre we would be able to control the degree of grip and therefore preventing excessive cornering speeds. We might even be able to give up the grooves and go back to ordinary slick tyres. The wheels will be wider at the back and narrower at the front, that results from the abolition of the ballast.
There is agreement that we need a new qualifying system. I reminded them all that the current qualifying system was proposed by the teams. The suggestion now is that they should come forward with new proposals for qualifying, but these must take into account the needs for television for people like me, who watch most of the races on television.
There was a lot of discussion about the scoring of points, whether we should have a constructors championship with more than two cars scoring, or another suggestion that has come forward is whether there should be an engine manufacturers championship and this is something that we are going to consider carefully. But everyone is agreed on the need to strongly encourage the major manufacturers to supply engines to the independent teams and I think we will have no difficultly in coming up with a good solution there.
There was a lot of discussion also on allowing the sale of chassis to encourage smaller teams to enter the Championship, but reservations in that there are fears that if we allow the free selling of chassis, Formula One might become like other racing series with one or two or three makes and lots of people in the same cars. There was a feeling we would come up with solutions to these problems and I think that will certainly prove to be the case. But there is a strong desire to encourage new teams to come in, but understandably the existing teams do not want to give up any money or privileges as a result of that. But we will now see a much easier entry route for new teams, it is recognised that we do need 12 teams to take part.
The idea of guaranteed entries for teams that contract for a long time, agreed by everybody. The idea that we should have majority voting on rule changes but only those teams voting that were contracted to take part in the season in which the rule change applies was agreed. We may have to introduce some sort of reserve there because it is reasonable that the people who make the engines should have a vote on the engines, and the people who don't make the engines should perhaps not dictate what they should be, but to be discussed. The basic principle will be that the person who has an interest in something has a vote but if you have no interest in it, either because you are not in the championship or because it is something you don't do - you're not an engine manufacturer or whatever, those with no interest would have no vote. What that comes down to is a much more open and flexible system for changing the rules than we have at present. It would be much more, actually, under the control of the FIA, as perhaps it should be.
The idea of technical rule changes being made before July 1 to come in not the following year but the year after, and the sporting changes before July 1 to come in the following year was generally accepted. What it all comes down to I think is that, except for minor details, virtually complete acceptance of these very revolutionary proposals, agreement on the objectives and agreement that the engine manufacturers - the seven companies concerned with engines - are going to sit down together to reduce the costs of the engines by 50 percent. I think really I couldn't have asked for more from the meeting.