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FIA denies move to single fuel supplier

NEWS STORY
03/10/2013

The FIA has denied that it has the intention of tendering for a sole fuel supplier for F1.

Following its meeting in Croatia last week, along with the provisional calendar for the 2014 the FIA's World Motor Sport Council announced that "one of the noteworthy aspects of the new 2013 Concorde Agreement is the new tender procedure for appointing single suppliers in the tyre and fuel categories, for the FIA F1 World Championship".

While there is already a sole tyre supplier, Pirelli having won the tender to supply the sport until 2018, news of a sole fuel supplier sent shockwaves along the pitlane as many teams have exclusive, highly lucrative deals in place indeed, it was Shell that bankrolled Michael Schumacher's move to Ferrari in 1996.

However, as team bosses met in Korea to discuss their concern, the FIA issued a letter stating that there was no planned move to search for a sole supplier.

"Fuel was mentioned purely for illustrative purposes," said a spokesperson for the FIA. "There are no plans at present to have a fuel tender."

"We knew nothing about it until it emerged," Martin Whitmarsh told Reuters, McLaren enjoying a long, profitable relationship with ExxonMobil. "Some of us spoke to the FIA about it and the FIA stated that they wanted to make it clear that on any single supply issue they wanted to control the process.

"Look at the post-tobacco era and probably one of the biggest sectors of investors into the sport is the petro-chemical industry," said Whitmarsh, still bristling at the thought of losing the ExxonMobil cash. "You wouldn't want to jeopardise that, so commercially it doesn't make sense. And technically it doesn't either.

"I think it was just one of those little scare wobbles that the sport throws into itself occasionally," he added.

Only yesterday, Mike Lawrence, writing on Pitpass, suggested the proposal was a "grubby little move".

Mindful of the FIA presidential election, perhaps Jean Todt, who was previously linked with an alleged move to bring Michelin back to F1, decided that a similar proposal in terms of fuel might be a step too far.

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