January 15, 2003
Notes on the application of existing rules in 2003 and new
rules for 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Last October the teams currently competing in the FIA Formula
One World Championship rejected all the FIA’s suggestions to
reduce costs. Subsequently, at their meeting on 4 December,
they failed themselves to agree any significant cost-cutting
proposals for 2003 or 2004. Urgent action is needed because
costs continue to rise while income is falling.
Two Formula One teams have disappeared in the past twelve
months. Now that only ten teams are left, those remaining are
obliged by the Concorde Agreement to finance and run two extra
cars for each additional team which fails to attend an Event.
By no means all of the teams would be able to do this. There
is an obvious danger that unless something is done, the FIA
Formula One World Championship will start to collapse during
the next twelve months into a spiral of law suits and
THE FIA’S ROLE
As the independent regulator, the FIA would not normally
become involved in the commercial difficulties of Formula One
teams. But the teams and others involved in the Championship
have been unable to find a solution. Responsibility therefore
devolves upon the governing body. The FIA must act, because
serious problems with the Formula One World Championship would
affect motor sport at all levels throughout the world.
CHANGING THE RULES
But the FIA is constrained by the Concorde Agreement. It
cannot change any rule for 2003 without the unanimous
agreement of the teams. For 2004 it can change sporting rules
at any time before 31 October 2003 (subject to an 18:8
majority in the Formula One Commission), but cannot change
technical rules without unanimous agreement. For 2005 it can
again change sporting rules, this time until 31 October 2004.
But technical (although not engine or drive train) regulations
can be changed only for 2005 (with the same 18:8 majority plus
an 80% majority in the Technical Working Group) and then only
if this is done before 1 January 2004.
ENFORCING THE RULES
It is, however, open to the FIA to enforce the existing rules
more rigorously. Having regard to the current difficulties
facing its Formula One World Championship, the FIA intends to
do so on a zero-tolerance basis wherever this will result in
significant cost savings without diminishing the sporting
contest. Indeed some of what follows may improve the racing by
increasing the element of unpredictability. If the teams
produce convincing evidence that immediate strict enforcement
will add to costs in a particular area because of the
proximity of the season, the FIA will grant a brief temporary
derogation, but only where genuine need is shown.
Much of the money spent in the FIA Formula One World
Championship is wasted in the sense that it adds nothing to
the enjoyment of the public. Yet it is the public who
ultimately pay the bills. Without a world-wide television and
media audience, neither team sponsors nor car manufacturers
would contribute to the costs of the Championship. The
interests of their shareholders require that they only invest
in the hope of greater profits. These profits come from the
But vast sums are being spent on things which do not interest
the public. Whether an engine runs to 12,000, 16,000, or
20,000 rpm means nothing to the television audience. Neither
do they know, or care, who makes the electronic control unit
or the rear wishbone. The army of technicians using
sophisticated and very expensive telemetry to follow every
quirk of the car on computer screens, are hidden at the back
of the pits. They are concealed from a public who neither know
nor care that they are there.
RACING SPOILT BY MONEY
And this expenditure is not just wasted. Still worse from a
spectator’s point of view, much of it actually detracts from
the sporting contest. This is because the purpose of much of
the expenditure is to increase the probability that at the end
of qualifying, the fastest cars will be at the front of the
grid and will run reliably throughout the race. Everything
being equal, if the fastest car starts the race at the front,
it will not be caught, still less overtaken by the car behind.
Add metronome-like reliability and faultless handling and you
have all the ingredients for a thoroughly boring race.
CONTROLLING THE CAR MANUFACTURERS
The FIA cannot prevent the major car manufacturers spending
very large sums on developing engines for the Formula One
World Championship. It can, however, regulate the number of
engines and other components each team can consume at races.
In this way the cost of going racing, as opposed to
development, can be minimized. The tighter the restrictions at
the races, the lower the cost of going racing. The racing
budget is then a smaller percentage of a manufacturer’s total
expenditure, making it easier to support an additional team.
By rigorously applying existing rules, the FIA intends to save
the teams and manufacturers a great deal of money. A probable
side effect will be to make the racing itself less predictable
and thus more interesting. By applying the rules firmly but
equitably, the FIA will ensure that no team suffers an unfair
disadvantage. The best driver and the best car constructor
will still win their respective championships.
The rules in question and the effects of enforcing them are
set out below. References are to the 2003 FIA Formula One
Sporting Regulations unless otherwise stated. For convenience,
the relevant regulations are reproduced at the end of this
1. Under Article 61, there will be a complete ban on:
(i) telemetry from car to pit;
(ii) telemetry from pit to car;
(iii) radio communication between driver and pit.
2. Under Article 70, only two cars will be scrutineered per
team (subject to the teams’ other obligations under the
Concorde Agreement, including but not limited to Clause
3. Under Article 84e), spare cars will not be scrutineered
(save in exceptional circumstances as authorised by the
stewards) and will therefore not be used.
4. Under Article 71a), each car will be required to go into
parc fermè immediately after making its second qualifying run.
All cars will be released simultaneously from parc fermè
shortly before the start of the race, when all checks on all
cars will have been completed (See Note 1)
5. Under Article 61, severe constraints will be placed upon
electronic (as opposed to driver) control of throttles,
clutches, differentials and engine actuators. This will mean
that traction control, launch control and fully automatic gear
changing systems can no longer be used. Each team must be able
to demonstrate compliance without software inspection (Article
2.6, FIA Formula One Technical Regulations as amended for 2003
on proposal of the teams). If it can be shown that immediate
full compliance would, on balance, add to teams’ costs because
the start of the season is now so close, the FIA is prepared
to grant a derogation for all or part of the 2003 season.
However, from 2004 at the latest, the FIA will insist on full
compliance with both Article 61 and the above-mentioned
Article 2.6 and rely solely on physical inspection. In the
absence of a satisfactory alternative proposal by the teams,
the FIA believes that this will necessitate the use of
standard electronic control units for both engine and drive
6. By way of clarification, the FIA confirms that teams which
wish to do so can share components. The teams are invited to
agree unanimously to delete the provision in Schedule III to
the Concorde Agreement which prevents a constructor using a
component (other than an engine or a gearbox) designed or
manufactured by another constructor. In default of such
unanimous agreement, the FIA confirms that provided a
component is manufactured and designed by a separate company
or other third party, there is nothing to prevent two
different constructors using the same component(s) on their
7. The FIA has confirmed that the Friday morning session will
be a private test organised by the FIA together with the race
promoter and is not part of the Event. Participating teams
will be free to do as they wish, provided all safety
precautions are observed and other participating teams are not
Note 1: The FIA is prepared to discuss with the teams the
possibility of releasing cars temporarily from parc ferme to
run in free practice on race morning under Article 115 and
allowing a brief (eg 30-minute) supervised safety check on the
cars immediately afterwards. However, any such release would
be subject to strict conditions agreed with the Technical
Delegate, which would certainly exclude any work on the car
except essential repairs and safety checks.
(NB: the measures outlined above will reduce air freight costs
in 2003 because fewer cars, fewer parts and less equipment
will need to be transported. Such costs will drop further in
2004, 2005 and 2006 with the need to move fewer spare engines
and major components. The need for ever fewer personnel will
also save on air tickets and hotel rooms.)
The FIA Formula One Sporting and Technical Regulations will be
applied in 2004 in the same way as in 2003, subject to any
changes in the light of experience.
8. For the avoidance of doubt, the 2004 single-engine rule
will not apply to the Friday morning test session.
9. Standard electronic control units will be introduced (see 5
above) unless the teams propose an alternative and equally
satisfactory method of proving the absence of driver aids,
including traction control, launch control and fully automatic
gearboxes by straightforward, physical inspection of
components. In addition, and subject to the necessary Formula
One Commission vote no later than 31 October 2003, the
following changes will be made to the FIA Formula One Sporting
Regulations for 2004.
10. The FIA will invite the major manufacturers currently
supplying engines to teams competing in the Championship to
ensure collectively that all teams have competitive engines at
a readily affordable cost. In default of satisfactory and
agreed arrangements, the FIA reserves the right to introduce a
change to the Sporting Regulations to achieve this result.
(NB: the savings to an engine supplier by reason of the
single-engine rule for 2004 will normally exceed the costs of
supplying a second team. This is because development costs
will have been met in supplying the first team while, as a
result of the new rule, the total number of engines supplied
to the first and second teams together in 2004 can be expected
to be less than the number supplied to the first team alone in
11. After consultation with the teams, the FIA will prepare a
list of major components which, like the engine, may not be
changed more than once during a race weekend from 2004
12. A standard FIA rear wing and sideplates will be fitted to
all cars. Such a wing would provide “Monza” levels of
downforce while generating enough drag to give approximately
“Brazil” levels of top speed. It will not only save money, but
also reduce speed in the fastest corners. This will
significantly improve safety (see Note 2)
13. Standard brakes. The FIA will invite tenders to supply a
single standard braking system for all cars participating in
the FIA Formula One World Championship. The winner of the
tender will supply the same braking system to all teams. This
will be the only system allowed in the Championship. Any
financial or other benefits of the tender will go to the
Subject to the necessary Formula One Commission vote no later
than 31 October 2004, the following changes will be made to
the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations for 2005.
14. The single engine rule will be extended from one to two
Events - ie an engine must last for two consecutive Events in
the same year before being changed. This will result in a
further substantial reduction of teams’ and engine suppliers’
costs. It will also help to keep power outputs within
15. A further extension in minimum life for certain major
components after consultation with the teams.
16. In the light of experience, during 2004 it may be
necessary to revise the penalties to be applied in the event
of a team being forced to change an engine or a major
component before this becomes permissible under the relevant
rule. The penalties must be sufficient to deter systematic
changes, but not so severe as to interfere excessively with a
team’s competitive position or to demotivate team or driver.
Note 2: This standard wing will also facilitate overtaking.
The front wing will contribute less to the total downforce of
the car because it will have to balance the low-downforce,
standard rear wing. As a result, the loss of downforce caused
by the wake of the car in front will be smaller. This will
enable the car behind to get closer to the car in front in a
corner and make overtaking less difficult on the next
Subject to the necessary Formula One Commission vote no later
than 31 October 2005, the following change will be made to the
FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations for 2006.
17. The single engine rule will be extended from two races to
six races. This will have a huge impact on the cost of
supplying a team with engines, but no effect on the sporting
contest. It may also avoid the need to change the engine
regulations for 2008 in order to limit power for safety
reasons. Moreover, it will enable an engine supplier to supply
a third or even a fourth team at no greater cost than the
2004/5 program (see 10 and 14 above), thus avoiding a crisis
if the number of major manufacturers (engine suppliers)
decreases. Once again, research and development costs are the
same while race costs are a straightforward function of engine
life - the longer the life of an engine, the lower the cost of
supplying a team with engines for a season’s racing. (NB: the
claim that it costs more to develop an engine to give maximum
power for, say, 5000 km than for 500 km is difficult to
justify. The only difference is extra time on the dyno, which
represents a negligible proportion of the total cost of
developing an engine. Extra track testing time can be
discounted, as this will also be used for a team’s general
chassis test program. There is no significant difference
between research into the ability of a component to resist
maximum and very high stress for a short period or maximum but
slightly less stress for a longer period.)
The above are measures which the FIA can implement by
enforcing existing rules or with a majority vote in the
Formula One Commission. However, there is one additional
measure which could further substantially reduce costs but
which may require unanimous agreement, at least if it is to be
introduced within a reasonable time frame.
18. Restrictions on materials. The use of exotic materials is
a significant and increasing cost for competitors in the
Championship. Limiting materials according to physical
characteristics has proved complex and difficult to enforce.
It can also lead to increased costs - the aluminum-beryllium
experience has shown that more money may be spent seeking
materials on the limit of permitted physical characteristics
than can be saved by eliminating a particular material or
family of materials. However, a list of permitted materials,
all others being prohibited, might work. Checks might rely on
chemical analysis, spectroscopy or similar methods. To be
discussed with team and industry experts.
Finally the requirement to supply engines to other teams
(point 10 above) may become problematic if the number of car
manufacturers involved in the FIA Formula One World
Championship decreases significantly. In the first instance we
believe we will have overcome this problem by increasing the
life requirement of the engines - the greater the number of
races between engine changes, the less onerous a requirement
to supply more than one team. However, at a certain point,
even with six-race engines, this could place an excessive
burden on the remaining engine suppliers. We would then have
to enter into discussions with those concerned in order to
find a solution. In the most extreme case, however, a single
source engine supply might be the answer.
15 January 2003
FORMULA ONE SPORTING REGULATIONS
Article 61: The driver must drive the car alone and unaided.
Article 70: No car may take part in the Event until it has
been passed by the scrutineers.
Article 71a: The scrutineers may check the eligibility of a
car or of a competitor at any time during an Event.
Article 84e: A competitor may use several cars for practice
and the race provided that they have been scrutineered in
accordance with these Sporting Regulations.
Article 115: Warm Up : a free practice session will take place
on race day; it will last 30 minutes and start 4 hours and 30
minutes before the starting time of the race.
FORMULA ONE TECHNICAL REGULATIONS
Article 2.6: It is the duty of each Competitor to satisfy the
FIA technical delegate and the Stewards of the Meeting that
his automobile complies with these regulations in their
entirety at all times during an Event. The design of the car,
its components and systems shall, with the exception of safety
features, demonstrate their compliance with these regulations
by means of physical inspection of hardware or materials. No
mechanical design may rely upon software inspection as a means
of ensuring its compliance.
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