Ecclestone downplays single-engine fears
October 18, 2008 - 8:07PM
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has played down fears that major car manufacturers will pull out of the sport over the introduction of a standard engine.
Ecclestone said he "can't see any reason" why car-makers might leave over the plans, which he said would help them save money as the global economy stalls.
"I don't see why they should leave. We are saving them an awful lot of money, I hope. I don't see why they should," he said.
"Why should someone pull out because they are going to save a lot of money? All the technical things will still be there so they can show all their talents.
"What we want is to reduce the necessity to spend to be competitive. That is the simplest thing."
The International Motoring Federation (FIA) ruling body this week announced plans to cut costs and standardise engines, following warnings from president Max Mosley that the sport would go bust in a year without drastic change.
FIA said it will be open to tenders for the standardised engine and transmission to be used from 2010.
"There is nothing surprising in this at all. Everyone knew it was coming and it is what we were all expecting," Ecclestone said of the plans.
"They want to get everyone to use homologated engines and I can't see any reason why they (manufacturers) would want to leave."
Formula One has seen many teams taken over by car-makers in recent years with Renault, BMW, Toyota and Honda joining Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz in using the sport as a showcase for their brands and cars.
This has also meant that there are very few of the traditional, independent 'privateer' racing teams left among the 11 teams in F1 as rising costs and the manufacturers' arrival has changed the face of the sport.
Sideburns are going to make a come back! Although this time they'll be called monster-chops! I have a bad feeling thou that, somehow, for some reason, someone worse than Mosley is going to take over, someone who brings in standardised 3 pot engines with a standard chassis and makes the teams use standard road tyres!Yeah, bring back turbos and ridiculous sideburns!
FIA to discuss engine plan alternatives
Monday, 20 October 2008 00:00
The FIA has revealed that it is willing to consider alternatives to standard engines for 2010-2012, provided the other options are sufficiently cost-effective.
On Friday the governing body opened a tender for the supply of single engines and gearboxes from 2010, prompting speculation that the FIA had decided to impose engine standardisation before the Formula One Teams' Association had submitted its own proposals.
But the FIA has now released more details of the meeting it will have with FOTA tomorrow, where introducing standard engines will be just one of three options presented to the teams.
The other suggestions on the table are restricting existing engines to equalise performance with a new low-cost single engine, or massively reducing the cost of customer engine deals.
The FIA document lists the following possibilities:
"Option 1: A homologated engine produced by a single supplier after an invitation to tender, with the current suppliers free to build an identical engine themselves (but not the gearbox), subject to rigorous controls.
"Option 2: A consortium of teams obtains an engine to current rules but at much lower cost from a single supplier. Engines from other sources to be subject to rigorous controls to eliminate differences in performance.
"Option 3: A proposal from FOTA, backed by solid guarantees, for the supply of complete power trains to independent teams for less than ?5 million per team per season to include 30,000 km of testing and all on-track assistance."
The FIA's explanatory notes also reveal that all such proposals are intended as interim measures prior to a total change in the engine rules for 2013.
"The FIA would like to see a modern high technology power train in 2013," said the FIA document.
"We envisage a down-sized DI engine with exhaust energy and heat recovery, coupled to an electrically actuated gearbox.
"However, we are completely open to new ideas.
"The only preconditions are (i) that the costs of development, maintenance and unit production for the power train must be an order of magnitude lower than is currently the case and (ii) power trains must be available to independent teams at minimal cost."
The governing body is also asking FOTA to suggest other areas on the car that could be standardised to save costs - including suspension, underbodies and wheels.
The document reiterated the FIA's desire to urgently reduce the cost of participating in F1, suggesting that it wants costs to come down sufficiently that the 'television money' provided by Formula One Management can cover the majority of teams' annual expenditure.
"The FIA?s view is that Formula 1 can only be healthy if a team can race competitively for a budget at or very close to what it gets from FOM," it said.
Alonso against standard engines
Monday, 20 October 2008 12:21
Double world champion Fernando Alonso is concerned about the possible introduction of standard engines, and believes it would be a bad move for Formula 1.
Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone had both hinted recently that introducing a single identical engine for all the teams to use was their preferred solution to escalating costs, and just after practice in China the FIA sent shockwaves through the paddock by opening a tender for the supply of standard engines and gearboxes from 2010.
The governing body is presenting the potential rule change as an extension of the single tyre brand and standard ECU rules that already apply.
Alonso felt for much of this season that Renault was being held back by its engine, and admitted that total engine parity could be a good thing for drivers currently in underpowered cars.
But he argued that it would lead to manufacturers withdrawing, and was contrary to F1's technological spirit.
"I think with unified engines and tyres it comes down more to the driver qualities, but I don?t think it is good for Formula 1 to be honest," Alonso told the official F1 website.
"We have big brands here in the paddock: Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Ferrari, and it would seem strange that we all race with the same engine.
"A Toyota car, a Renault car, a Mercedes car (powered by standard engines) - this would no longer be Formula 1."
The Formula One Teams' Association is sending Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and Toyota team president John Howett to a meeting with Mosley tomorrow, at which cost cutting proposals and the standard engine - which the teams largely oppose - will be discussed further.
Canadian GP hits back at Ecclestone
Monday, 20 October 2008 11:35
The Canadian Grand Prix organisers have accused Bernie Ecclestone of making false claims about the commercial disagreements that have cost the race its place on the Formula 1 calendar.
Reports over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend suggested that Ecclestone had informed the F1 teams that the Canadian GP owed Formula One Management significant sums of money from the past three years.
But the Montreal authorities have vigorously hit back, insisting that while there were financial issues over the 2008 race, there were no sums outstanding from earlier events.
"It is totally untrue to suggest that our organisation has defaulted on payments owed for the past three years," said the Canadian GP's vice-president of marketing Paul Wilson.
"It is true that we have a commercial disagreement regarding our monetary obligations, but only for 2008.
"This is the result of an historical difference within the contractual understanding between the two parties."
Wilson added that the Canadian GP organisers had no warning that their race would be dropped, and were now keen to defend its reputation ahead of potential government-backed efforts to revive the event.
"We were working hard to resolved the matter in order to meet our 2008 obligations when Mr. Ecclestone, without notice, surprised everyone by unilaterally dropping the Canadian Grand Prix from the 2009 FIA schedule.
"We believe that it is important to shed the light on this matter and to clarify any allegations that could tarnish the reputation of our organisation.
"We do not accept that the integrity of the Grand Prix du Canada should be called into question, when it is evident that the table is being set for new negotiations with different levels of the Canadian government."
Right! I'm going to dig out that old Auto Express with the picture of how the wings should already have been, as I mentioned above. Then you'll see the real meaning of "hit with the ugly stick".
Meeting produces 'significant' cost cuts
Tuesday, 21 October 2008 16:31
The FIA has said that its meeting with the Formula One Teams? Association (FOTA) has paved the way for ?significant cost savings? for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Max Mosley met with the new teams? body in Geneva on Tuesday for crunch talks over how urgent cost-cuts in the sport could be made in light of the current global financial crisis.
A brief joint statement was issued following the meeting, although it did not include details of any specific agreements or plans for how the cuts would be made.
The statement simply read: ?Today?s meeting in Geneva has produced significant cost savings for 2009 and 2010.
?FOTA are working urgently on further proposals for 2010 and thereafter.?
While little detail from the meeting has emerged, the FIA did reveal on Monday the points that would be up for discussion.
It is keen to see the introduction of standardised engines for 2010-2012, with three proposals for their implementation set to have been discussed in Tuesday's meeting.
Mosley has also advocated an increase in the use of standardised chassis parts, such as suspension and wheels, along with moves to drastically reduce the cost of competing in Formula 1.
Canadian GP bail-out plan gathers pace
Wednesday 22nd October 2008
High-level officials from Montreal are due to hold an urgent meeting with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in an attempt to save the Canadian Grand Prix.
The race was earlier this month axed from the 2009 F1 calendar amid claims that organisers owe Ecclestone money dating back three years.
Race officials have rejected the reports and they are ready to unveil an "action plan to save the Canadian Grand Prix".
Montreal Mayor G?rald Tremblay, Raymond Bachand, the Quebec minister for economic development, and Michael Fortier, the federal minister of international trade are set to meet with Ecclestone in London on Thursday.
The Quebec government has already indicated that it is willing to help with the bail out.
Bachand told the Montreal Gazzette: "If we are able to reasonably and responsibly save this event, we will do it.
"The Grand Prix is a big event, it's the biggest tourism event, but how much does it bring in concretely, not only in spinoffs but in cash in our pockets as citizens, as taxpayers?
"I am starting to get some pretty reliable numbers. I am going to negotiate with Mr Ecclestone, so we will keep our cards to ourselves."