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At the beginning of 2005 the FIA began a consultation on the regulations for the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship. All the sport's stakeholders were given the opportunity to participate in the process including more than 90,000 fans from 180 countries worldwide.
The FIA's objective in drafting the 2008 regulations has been to reduce significantly the cost of competing in Formula One. The rules must discourage financial profligacy and ensure than an independent team with ordinary commercial sponsorship (ie a budget in the order of $100 million - still a vast sum of money in the real world) can compete with a car manufacturer prepared to spend in excess of US$300 million. The FIA believes current manufacturers' budgets are unsustainable and are putting the whole of Formula One at risk.
Max Mosley, FIA President said:
"The real argument in Formula One is not about sports governance or even about how much money FOM gives the teams. It's all about costs.
"The World Championship must remain financially viable for independent teams. Against this, two (possibly three) manufacturers want to win by spending unlimited amounts of money. This approach has caused great damage to motor sport, most recently to IRL in America. We don't want it in F1.
"One manufacturer is spending a sum greater than half its total annual dividend. This is unsustainable and sooner or later the shareholders will notice."
Part of the attempt to reduce costs involves rules which allow independent suppliers to provide competitive engines at reasonable cost. The alternative approach - that car manufacturers should supply engines to independent teams - has failed. A written promise to do so was given by a manufacturer in 2003. It was not kept. Nor was a subsequent undertaking to make affordable engines available in return for concessions on traction control.
It must not be forgotten that the new engine rules (introduced by the FIA to cut power) were originally drawn up and proposed by the car manufacturers to reduce costs. Although some of these manufacturers now claim that costs have risen, it has become clear that for a properly managed engine supplier, costs have fallen substantially.
As previously explained the FIA is required to publish the 2008 Technical Regulations before December 31, 2005. These regulations are now available for download from www.fia.com. The following is a summary of the main changes:
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