FIA Don't Get Their Way in FIA-FOTA Talks - Engine Arrangement Comes to Light

Adam PooleAnalyst IOctober 24, 2008

Last week's meeting between the FIA and the newly formed "Formula One Teams Association" became a huge talking point in the F1 world, focusing on the clear intent of the FIA to begin the standardization of engines in F1 cars in 2009 or 2010 at the latest.

Both parties released brief press statements, none of which mentioned the engine standardization, suggesting that the outcome of the talk did not go FIA president, Max Mosely's, way.

As indicated by ITV AnalystMark Hughes, the more likely case is that instead of the standardization policy, engines will be used for three races starting next season instead of the current two. Furthermore, a maximum supply price for engines to an individual team of 400,000 Euros per engine will be set. Additionally, there is possibility for the standardized KERS system to occur starting in 2010 or 2011 at the latest.

This outcome marks an historic change in F1. For once, the sport's governing body (the FIA) didn't have the final call, instead it was the teams calling the shots something the FIA may not be too pleased about.

Another thing to come to light this week is the cost of the KERS system research, funded by the teams, and subsidized by the FIA.  First estimates but the cost at about $15million to $20million for each system, and this has lead to the FIA and even FOTA agreeing that the standardization of the KERS system would be an advantageous move for the sport financially. If the systems were standardized, this would free up some cash for the less financially stable team, such as Force Indiaand Toro Rosso. This money could then be better spent on further reducing the cost to the teams or improving performance on the track.

The meeting draws into contention the shift of power from that of the governing body to the teams in the paddock. I feel this is a key change however; I wouldn't put money on it staying like this for too long, as we all know the FIA get their way on far too many occasions.

The sport is caught in a financial and eco-friendly spiral at the moment, and it seems that spending less time talking about one aspect is causing a see-saw effect with the other.  Cut costs, but produce a less eco-friendly machine, or do the opposite.

It has long been a fact of F1, that Mosley and F1's Commercial Chief, Bernie Ecclestone, have used the "divide and conquer" method with the teams to get the results that they want.  In light of this meeting and the newly formed FOTA that tactic will not work any more, something again, the top-dogs won’t like.

The developments that occur over the next couple of season could make or break the sport and the sport could find itself in a very sticky situation when it comes to the fans.  In my opinion, I think if FOTA are included in more of the decision making we will see a much brighter horizon in the sport we have all come to love.