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So much for democracy

NEWS STORY
16/05/2006

As Pitpass revealed in its report on the inaugural meeting of the Sporting Working Group, things did not go well for the FIA, indeed the assembled teams voted out all of Max Mosley's proposals for 2008, including a three-year engine 'freeze'.

At the time, Pitpass raised the question of how Mr Mosley would react, to what is a democratic decision, even if it isn't the decision he wanted. The answer wasn't long in coming, and just hours after we appeared to have peace in F1, it seems as though a whole new argument is about to break out.

In a faxed message to the teams, Mosley states that "the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship is a competition for cars with homologated engines", adding that "in the absence of acceptable proposals for improvement to the homologation regulations, the existing rule of total homologation for three years will stand".

In other words, the democratic vote of the SWG has been thrown out by the sport's governing body, even though the engine freeze proposal, like many of the others, only ever had four teams in favour.

The contents of the fax sent to the teams can be seen below:

The 2008 Formula One World Championship is a competition for cars with homologated engines. The purpose of homologation is to reduce drastically the cost of engine development and prevent an unacceptable escalation of performance. By entering the Championship, a team accepts the regulations as published and, equally importantly, is entitled to rely on them when deciding whether or not to enter. A major factor in deciding whether or not to enter is the cost of competing. No responsible governing body could agree to rule changes which increase the cost of competing once entries have been accepted.

There can therefore be no question of abandoning engine homologation or making any other change to the 2008 regulations which would significantly increase the budgets of the teams which have agreed to compete.

Fine tuning of the Sporting Regulations is possible on proposal of a simple majority of competing teams, provided the process is complete before 30 June 2006 in accordance with the published rules. Thereafter, any change which could affect the design of the cars will require the same unanimous agreement as a change to the 2008 Technical Regulations.

In the absence of acceptable proposals for improvement to the homologation regulations, the existing rule of total homologation for three years will stand. If the hoped-for reduction in costs does indeed occur, it is self-evident that homologation will continue in 2011 and beyond, subject to any minor modifications which may appear necessary in the light of experience.

Without homologation, the engine suppliers and car manufacturers involved in Formula One would continue to spend collectively in excess of €1 billion each year on development. This blatant waste of money is clearly unsustainable, particularly when some of the enormous costs involved are being passed on to the independent teams.

The FIA is always willing to listen to and implement constructive proposals for improvement to the engine homologation or any other rules, particularly any which promote useful research (for example the so-called Maranello proposals), but only if budgets are not increased, safety is not compromised and the agreed periods of notice are observed.

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