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  Monday, 7 October, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
F1 bids to slow Ferrari
Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello celebrate on the podium of the US Grand Prix
Ferrari's team tactics have caused controversy
Formula One bosses are considering major rule changes for next season in an attempt to prevent Ferrari's domination of the sport.

F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone has said that he will find ways of slowing Ferrari down if they are as superior in the first few races of 2003 as they have been this season.

And the sport's governing body is investigating changes to the rules for 2003 that would stop any one team dominating in the way Ferrari have done this season.

Michael Schumacher won the world championship in record time and he and team-mate Rubens Barrichello have won all but two of this season's races.


We have to improve the show and reduce costs if the sport is going to survive as we know it now
Max Mosley
FIA president

Ecclestone said: "After what has happened with Ferrari this year, we have to put a cap on it.

"We have to do something to keep the sponsors and the viewers happy.

"If Michael runs away with it in the first two or three races next year we have to be prepared to do something to protect the sport," he told The Times.

Ecclestone suggested Schumacher's car could be made to carry an extra kilogram in weight for every point he held over the field.

He said an idea would be that "for each world championship point that a driver holds in advantage, to add a kilogram in weight (to his car).

"If Schumacher were 20 points ahead of Rubens Barrichello, then he would have to drive a car 20kg heavier," he told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

"I promise, there won't be another season like this. Next year it's going to be a good show again," added Ecclestone.

Max Mosley - the president of motorsport's governing body, the FIA - also believes something needs to be done to improve F1's spectacle.

He said: "We are at a crossroads, there is no doubt about that.

"We have to improve the show and reduce costs if the teams, and eventually the sport, are going to survive as we know it now," he told The Times.

He added: "There is widespread agreement that we need to do something.

Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone thinks Ferrari's domination is ruining F1

"There is no doubt that handicapping runs counter to the traditions of F1.

"But sometimes you find yourself in a position where you can keep your traditions but no one cares because they are not watching."

A series of dramatic changes to the F1 rules will be discussed at a meeting of the F1 Commission - a rule-making body - on 28 October.

A simple majority of those present will be enough to bring the changes in for 2003 - as long as they are classed as sporting regulations and not technical.

That means that the weight penalty idea could be introduced - it could be classed as a sporting handicap.

As could a change to the format of qualifying away from a single one-hour session.

But restrictions on electronic control systems, which Ecclestone would also like to introduce, would likely not be passed.

Unanimity among the teams is required to change rules if there is less than a calendar year before the start of the season in which they will be introduced.

The FIA said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on what was in the dossier that would be discussed at the F1 Commission.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"It sounds outrageous but is sure to cause debate"
F1 team owner Eddie Jordan
"I think it's an excellent idea"
See also:

02 Sep 02 | Funny Old Game
04 Oct 02 | Formula One
01 Oct 02 | Formula One
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