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Teams unite in cost-cutting plan

Luca di Montezemelo
Fota president Di Montezemelo is willing to work with FIA to find new ways to cut costs

Formula One's teams reinforced their commitment to cutting costs at a meeting of the Formula One Teams Association (Fota) at Heathrow.

All teams, with the exception of Force India, were present as they demonstrated their united front in safeguarding the future of F1.

The teams ratified plans to cut testing in 2009 and to supply independent teams with engines costing 4.5m from 2010.

Fota pledged to develop low-cost transmissions for the 2010-12 seasons.

The teams also intend to eliminate the use of expensive materials, components and systems that offer little in terms of performance differentiation.

In a statement Fota said: "All the teams are committed to working together in a rational and systematic manner within the framework of Fota to effectively reduce the costs inherent in Formula One.

"The same approach will now be used to improve the spectacle of the sport."

Fota's unified response comes after Max Mosley, president of the sport's governing body, the FIA, urged the teams to find new ways to cut spending in response to the global economic crisis.

At a meeting in Monte Carlo in December, Fota and the FIA agreed a raft of measures to protect the sport's future in the wake of the economic downturn and Honda's shock withdrawal from the sport.

The changes include plans to double engine life in 2009, to limit engine revs and to cut the cost of engines supplied to independent teams by approximately 50% of 2008 prices.

But in a letter to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo, who chairs Fota, Mosley urged the teams to focus on radical ways to reduce their multi-million pound budgets.

"Even before the current crisis, F1 was not viable," he said.

"It is impossible to cut costs without change. Cherished projects, facilities and sadly even people have to go.

"We had a championship dependent on the willingness of the world's car industry to continue spending vast sums on Formula One racing and the few remaining independent teams (with one exception) entirely reliant on the generosity of their billionaire owners.

"In current circumstances, it would be crazy to assume this can continue.

"Costs must be reduced to a point where a well-run independent team can operate profitably with just Formula One Management money and very moderate sponsorship."

Mosley has also mooted the controversial idea of introducing a budget cap to reduce spending across the board.

FIA president Max Mosley
Mosley wants the teams to continue cutting costs to secure the future of F1

"The idea that each team should have the same amount of money, so that success is simply a function of intellectual ability, has great appeal," he added.

"If properly enforced, it would be a very fair system. Indeed one view is that having much more money than a rival team is just as unfair as having a bigger engine.

"We should like to discuss this further with FOTA."

Fota willingly agreed to cut costs over the next two seasons with more measures, such as increased limits on testing and additional engine restrictions, to follow in the coming campaigns.

But Mosley warned that if the teams were not open to further change then Formula One in its current form would be at risk.

"The FIA itself would not be financially disadvantaged by a collapse of Formula One," he said. "We are therefore prepared to act radically.

"We hope that, notwithstanding the changes which must now be made, all teams which are still in business in 2010 will enter.

"But as already stated, we will be ready to recognise an independent series should some teams prefer to go their own way."

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see also
F1 boss faces battle with teams
20 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Toyota commits to F1 despite loss
23 Dec 08 |  Formula One
F1 unveils cost-cutting blueprint
12 Dec 08 |  Formula One
The battle to save Formula One
12 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Cost-cutting plan agreed for F1
10 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Big teams pledge to remain in F1
06 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Harsh reality catches up with F1
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One
Global crisis ends Honda F1 era
05 Dec 08 |  Formula One

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