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F1 teams unveil vision of future

Fota president Luca di Montezemelo
Fota president Di Montezemelo is leading the bid for a greater say

Proposals for major changes to Formula One's future have been unveiled by the body which represents the teams.

The Formula One Teams' Association (Fota) wants to introduce a new qualifying format and "radical new points-scoring opportunities".

Fota wants to bring in the changes, which also include reducing the duration of Grands Prix, by 2010.

But any changes must first be approved by the World Motorsport Council of the sport's governing body, the FIA.

Ways to improve F1's spectacle for trackside fans and TV viewers and extra cost-cutting plans were also outlined at Fota's meeting in Geneva.

Senior management figures from all 10 current F1 teams attended the organisation's first official news conference since it formed last year as they set out the proposed agenda for the evolution of the sport.

"This is an unprecedented moment in Formula One history," said Fota chairman Luca di Montezemolo, who is also president of Ferrari.

"Above all else, for the first time the teams are unified and steadfast - with a clear, collective vision."

Fota says its proposals - categorised either as technical, sporting or commercial - are aimed at increasing F1's "stability, sustainability, substance and show".

While we will continue to compete vigorously on track, we all share one common goal: to work together to improve F1

Fota chairman Luca di Montezemolo

They come at a time when the sport is implementing a significant raft of cost-cutting measures, on the back of the global economic crisis.

The move represents the most significant action taken in the growing collective movement from teams to have a greater say in F1.

Technical proposals for 2009 include a reduction in wind tunnel and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) usage.

For 2010, Fota proposes that Kers (kinetic energy recovery system) is standardised, engines are available at 4.5m per team per season, and that telemetry and radio systems are standardised.

In sporting terms, it suggests a further reduction in testing - which is already significantly reduced this season - and wants race-starting fuel loads and associated data to be made public.

Commercially, it wants to "dramatically improve engagement with the public" and proposes mandatory driver autograph sessions during Grand Prix weekends.

The proposals were developed as a result of Fota-commissioned survey of F1 fans and infrequent followers of the sport across 17 countries as it seeks to "broaden as well as to deepen" F1's appeal.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh was keen to highlight that Fota is looking to extend F1's appeal beyond its traditional supporter base.

"The teams have conducted a unique global survey of audience," he said. "Traditionally there have been many surveys of F1 devotees, the avid fans who to some extent constitute the captive audience.

"But we've gone out there and spoken to people who have only expressed a vague or passing interest in F1 to understand what it is they wanted, what would encourage them to watch the show more.

"We are absolutely convinced that F1 has the potential to grow in many more markets.

"The sport has been a very combative environment between the teams, but this is a new era."

Di Montezemolo also stressed the benefits being reaped by the collective standpoint being taken by the 10 teams.

"Thanks to our unity, all the teams have already managed to make a significant reduction to their costs for 2009," he said.

"And, while we will continue to compete vigorously on track, we all share one common goal: to work together to improve F1 by ensuring its stability, sustainability, substance and show for the benefit of our most important stakeholder, namely the consumer.

"It is with this mindset that we now intend to work hard, with our partners at the FIA and Formula One Management [commercial rights holders], our shared goal being to optimise the future of F1."

In January, Fota gave the green light to plans to cut costs as FIA president Max Mosley urged a further reduction in spending.

They ratified plans to cut testing in 2009 and to supply independent teams with engines costing 4.5m from 2010, and also pledged to develop low-cost transmissions for the 2010-12 seasons.

Despite agreeing on new ways to cut spending, Fota is known to oppose the FIA's proposal to introduce a budget cap for each team.

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see also
Ex-Honda team 'seal F1 survival'
05 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
Teams unite in cost-cutting plan
08 Jan 09 |  Formula 1
F1 boss faces battle with teams
20 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Toyota commits to F1 despite loss
23 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
F1 unveils cost-cutting blueprint
12 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
The battle to save Formula One
12 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Cost-cutting plan agreed for F1
10 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Big teams pledge to remain in F1
06 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Harsh reality catches up with F1
05 Dec 08 |  Formula 1
Global crisis ends Honda F1 era
05 Dec 08 |  Formula 1

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