FIA-FOTA agreement: Teams’ proposals accepted as Mosley backs down on KERS

Max Mosley has reversed his position on future development of KERS

Max Mosley has reversed his position on future development of KERS

Details are emerging about the agreement reached between the FIA and FOTA, representing the F1 teams, following their meeting at Geneva today. A joint statement from the two declared “significant cost savings for 2009 and 2010″ had been agreed but added no further detail.

However Autosport has published details of some points of the agreement including changes to the 2009 F1 rules.

It seems some of the more alarming proposals, such as standard engines and shorter races, have been staved off. But the decision to make Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) standard components as early as 2010 is a surprise.

Autosport claims the following have been agreed:

Engines to last three races in 2009 – a FOTA proposal.

Manufacturers to supply 25 engines at a cost of ??10m – presumably that is a year’s supply for one team. The FIA wanted such a supply for half that cost.

A new limit to be set on maximum testing distance – FOTA proposed a cut from 30,000km to 20,000km.

Future meetings to be held on reducing the cost of developing parts and extending the use of customer chassis

Standard KERS to be introduced from 2010 or 2011 – a significant change in Mosley’s position. As recently as this morning he said:

KERS will be essential on all road-going vehicles in the future, irrespective of their means of primary propulsion. The FIA therefore intends to keep KERS as a performance differentiator in Formula One and, indeed, increase its importance in 2011.

Since he first proposed KERS Mosley has been adamant that it would boost F1’s environmental credibility. But he seems to have conceded that the cost of allowing teams to develop these entirely new systems themselves is too great.

The prospect of only having to use a home-grown KERS for as little as one year will be good news for those teams known to be struggling with their development programmes ofr the hybrid systems, such as Ferrari.

The impression from these developments is that FOTA have had their way on a number of points and Mosley’s threats of radical changes such as standard engines has not cowed them into letting their position be undermined or provoking a split within their ranks.

That gives me the feeling we have not yet seen the full picture of what the future proposals are. Keep an eye on Mosley to see what his next move will be.

See this article for more background on the meeting: Max Mosley and FOTA meet for crunch talks on F1 costs in Geneva

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30 comments on FIA-FOTA agreement: Teams’ proposals accepted as Mosley backs down on KERS

  1. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd October 2008, 8:58

    Rabi – It’s been threatened before but as long as FOTA are getting their way, why should they? A split would always be the worst-case scenario.

    Negative Camber – “the odd comments from Max are more and more perplexing.” There are ways this seems like a climb-down from Mosley and that would be pretty unusual. Perhaps there’s more to it we don’t know yet?

    Eugene – Thanks, hope you liked it :-)

    Adrian – “Will teams still be able to run their own KERS in 2010 or will they all have to switch to a standard unit” – that appears to still be up for discussion. But the McLaren/Microsoft thing relates to the Engine Control Units, which is a different matter.

  2. Having one team supplying all the teams a piece of technology promotes unfair competition. It can clearly be seen this year that the McLaren car has enjoyed much less wheelspin out of corners than any other and is also far superior in damp track conditions , which has to be attributable to the McLaren supplied ECU.

  3. Surely for a standardised KERS system to be developed, it has to be in conjunction with a standard engine/hybrid/gearbox system too. You cannot expect say BMW to have developed their engine so far next year and then in 2010 to suddenly add the KERS to it, it all has to join together and work as a single unit.
    I am more interested in the fact that the FIA appears to be supporting Manufacturers providing chassis to the smaller teams at a decent price. All we need now are the likes of Cosworth and Judd to return and we can have full grids again…..

  4. Chalky said on 22nd October 2008, 9:49

    I am more interested in the fact that the FIA appears to be supporting Manufacturers providing chassis to the smaller teams at a decent price

    Which bit does it say that? I can see the 25 engines for €10m. I haven’t found anything about supplying chassis, other than the standard chassis components for all being mentioned?

    If the FIA would allow, for example, Lola to make a cost chassis, then maybe smaller teams could use this to compete. But I would not want to see all teams forced to use one chassis.

  5. stevepCambsUK said on 22nd October 2008, 10:32

    The 2009 season promises to be unfairer than this season unless teams perfect their KERS in time. As things stand teams have the choice to run KERS or not in 2009 then in 2010 a standardised KERS unit will be introduced.

    Rule changes
    On 22 December 2006, the FIA released the technical regulations for the 2009 season[28].

    Along with changes to bodywork, vehicle weight and tyre size, the document includes details of a “Kinetic Energy Recovery System”, or KERS. This is a regenerative brake device that is designed to recover some of the vehicle’s kinetic energy that is normally dissipated as heat during braking. The recovered energy could be stored electrically, in a battery or supercapacitor, or mechanically, in a flywheel, for use as a source of additional accelerative power at the driver’s discretion.
    After being banned since 1998, slick tyres will be provided by Bridgestone in 2009.[29]
    There will also be a cap on team budgets starting in the 2009 season.[30]
    Section 3.18 of the regulations contains details of “driver adjustable bodywork”. The angle of incidence of elements in a defined area forward of the front wheels can be varied by up to 6 degrees and adjusted by direct driver input. A maximum of 2 adjustments can be made on any lap
    (ref.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regenerative_brake)
    (ref.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Formula_One_season)

    I guess these rule changes are not set in stone yet but if teams have a power boost available to them for nearly 7 seconds per ‘charge’ then obviously every team will have to run the system to be competitive in 2009. The system weighs around 24kg and if the cars have to weigh 600kg this could prove to be very intersting indeed. Ferrari are still behind in development but they will work every second of every day to perfect their system.
    2009 proves to be very intersting…….

    Also, thanks for the autosport link

  6. Chalky:

    Future meetings to be held on reducing the cost of developing parts and extending the use of customer chassis

    Which I think follows on from:

    Option 3: A proposal from FOTA, backed by solid guarantees, for the supply of complete power trains to independent teams for less than €5 million per team per season to include 30,000 km of testing and all on-track assistance.”

    I misread that as being Chassis, I think. I agree with you, it would be good to see Lola etc providing low cost chassis.

  7. Chalky said on 22nd October 2008, 11:39

    As long as they don’t use this chassis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lola_T97/30 :D

  8. Pingguest said on 22nd October 2008, 12:15

    The agreement is hence to continue with the current status-quo.

  9. Robert McKay said on 22nd October 2008, 12:15

    I guess if one team needs needs 18 engines for a 17-race season on two races per engine, then with three races per engine it will need 12 (which fits with the ‘25 engines for a season’ above), so it cuts the engine purchase budget for customer teams by a third.

    I don’t doubt it will save some money. In fact, if it’s so effective, we should be moving to 4 race engines the year after?

    I’m just suggesting it sounds very much like the sort of proposal that a bunch of different manufacturers with different needs and requirements would come to after all their other suggestions were vetoed by someone else, but they realised they had to give something to Max or it was spec-engine time.

  10. I am reading a lot on Standardized KERS system in many of the previous posts.

    The Main problem with that approach as someone has pointed out is ‘Unfair competition’. One of the many reasons why Michelin walked out of F1 was it was not party to have one Tyre Supplier to the sport, They always wanted to compete against a rival against whom they could evaluate their performance. Other reasons like fall out with Obstinate Max. Max changing rules on the fly ,Way Max seemed to be targetting Michelin and Max rejecting their bid for WRC are well documented and subject of separate article.

    Coming back to Standardized KERS – Max Started this initiative that F1 team get to research and bring environment friendly solution to table, which has always been the foundation on which all F1 innovations have worked. If I am not wrong Smaller team like Williams have taken a fundamentally different approach to develop their KERS solution, than the Braking power charging Batteries adopted by the Japanese Teams and BMW. I am not aware of McLaren solution, but it maybe a different approach, something on lines they had used in 90’s (which was banned by Max as illegal). The point is if these teams have already invested so much (I know for Sure Ailing Williams have risked buying a company specialized in KERS research), Who is going to reimburse them for all the expenses they have incurred?

    For all the cost effectiveness Talk that Max gives, his constant Flip-Flopping and on the fly changes effectively means , smaller teams will keep on folding. All the while Max will never stop harping “In the interest of sustaining F1 and the smaller teams”.

    The direction Bernie/Max are taking the sport, I am sure the old men want the sport to fold within their life-time

  11. Oddly Max has linked F1 directly to ‘green’ initiatives and suggesswts that F1’s sole reason for existence is to develop technology for road-cars. Last time I checked, Ferrari doesn’t race to develop road car technology; the make road cars to fund racing. STR, Red Bull, Williams, FI are all in F1 to race, not be ‘green’ or LEEDS certified or develop road-car tech. Max has been swept in the undertow of a eco-friendly sociology exercise in back-patting and creating an industry from thin air….literally.

    KERS is fine but the last time I checked, the FIA was involved in governance of racing series and Road safety. It sounds like the FIA is trying to capitalize on the ‘green’ movement by placing themselves in the middle of this issues as a leader and trying to use F1 as their test bed and product to trump up their position as a global leader in carbon footprint reduction from road cars. Self-serving and arrogant but I have come to expect no less from Max.

  12. It’s somewhat ironic that the FIA admit in one breath that their current round of cost cutting measures have not worked (because the teams are just spending more on aerodynamics and developing the parts of the car and drivetrain that are not fixed buy the rules), only to come up with more ‘cost cutting’ measures that presumably won’t work either as the teams with money will continue to spend on areas that are not covered.

    I mean if someone has $100M to spend, guess what, they are going to spend $100M. All the teams change the aero packages substantially from the start of the season to the end and based on each individual circuit.That is a major cost and the teams will continue spending.

    The problem is if people have the money to spend at the front of the grid how do you enable the teams at the back to compete? You can fix everything and those who have a faster car will romp away every race. Minardi eventually got out of F1 because they knew they were going to be a back marker forever, and Force India may well come to the same realisation.

    How about some ‘out of the box’ ideas to shake things up.

    1) Start an ‘equalisation fund’, for those teams who exceed a set annual budget start tapping off their TV revenues to those at the back of the grid. The further you go over the budget the more TV revenue goes to the teams at the back.

    2) Fix aero packages for groupings of 3 or 4 races. That way if someone introduces a new concept they will enjoy an advantage for a number of races. This would slow the cars down somewhat too as you would not be able to optimise aero for each individual circuit apart from more or less front/rear wing.

    3) Ban refuelling – no more expensive fuel rigs (or pit lane accidents).

    Others????

  13. Tj – The equalization of funds, and back of the grid car getting more TV revenues is good idea. Paul Stoddart ran for pillar to post, to protect interest of smaller privateers, but then never got any support from either the other teams or Max/Bernie.

    One possible risk in this idea though is, Max/Bernie will get the teams to sign of this proposal. And next thing you know couple of cronies of Max and Bernie will be on grid (as small privateers) and any guesses who will pocket the monies received by these teams !? Yes that will be Bernie/Max.

  14. George said on 23rd October 2008, 8:47

    26 – Negative Camber – I think you have a point, but in many ways this is the way it’s always been. One of Balestre’s main arguments for banning the turbo at the end of ’89 was that it was no longer road-relevant technology (of course, that had been the argument they’d use all along to promote turbos and then the awful fuel-efficiency formula of the late 80s… but then the FIA have never been consistent either).

    There is some logic to this position – the FIA does have a remit that covers more than championship governance and road safety. So, this lobby has always existed that seeks to make F1 relevant to the road car industry. On the other hand, you can’t get away from the fact that a number of teams – as has already been pointed out – race for no other reason than racing’s sake. So, there’s always been that contradiction.

    I’m nervous about the introduction of KERS – will it actually work and be a success, or will it be one great big blind alley that the manufacturers have thrown millions at to no real avail? We shall see.

    I agree with everyone else who has said that they would hate to see standard engines in the sport – F1 should be a place of technical innovation and differentiation. Mind you, if they absolutely HAVE to cut costs somewhere, I suppose I’d grudgingly – very, very grudgingly – accept a standard engine over a standard chassis… Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!

  15. The only worthy reason I saw about introducing KERS was that, although the F1-version would be very primitive compared to the already developed road versions, it would need to be really efficient compared to it. I mean, you can’t put anything in an F1 car that gives less than, lets say, 1HP/kg (or, more strictly, the equivalent energy/kg output of the engine over the full lap if you use at intervals). And that is much better than any commercial KERS system, so it would have mean a ‘fast track’ engineering development in areas like batteries and electric motors. But introducing a standard KERS unit eliminates that because if it weights 200kg, then everybody gets heavier by 200kg and there is no need to hunt for lighter systems (at least if the teams are not allowed to develop their own, in which case the ‘cost saving’ excuse disappears…).

    Oh, now that I think on it, it is the usual Max’s pattern…

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