Economic crisis sees F1 teams rally together

March 10th, 2009 - 6:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Barcelona, March 10 (DPA) The global economic crisis and the resultant cost-cutting measures imposed on Formula One appears to have drawn the competing teams closer together as they began testing this week at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.
“It’s a unique moment in the history of Formula One,” said Ferrari and Formula One Teams Organisation (FOTA) boss Luca di Montezemolo.

FOTA, which represents the 10 teams in the sport, reached unanimous agreement last week on a series of proposals to help F1 survive the global financial crisis.

The proposals include a new points system, affordable engines, a ban on in-season testing and a limit on technological updates over the next two seasons.

McLaren-Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh said it was an “enormous challenge” for the teams to overcome their differences and present a united front while BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen his Mercedes counterpart Norbert Haug praised the plans.

Motorsport’s ruling body FIA will decide on the proposals March 17, just 12 days before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne March 29.

The first consequence of the new togetherness between the teams is the continued existence of the former Honda F1 team, now known as Brawn GP.

“FOTA worked very hard to ensure they are here,” said Whitmarsh.

Mercedes jumped in to provide the necessary engines and driver Jenson Button promptly registered the fastest lap time in Monday morning testing.

A new Concorde Agreement, which regulates the agreements between F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the teams, rights holders and marketing partners, is also believed to be close to completion.

“All car manufacturers and teams are prepared to sign up to this Concorde Agreement until 2012,” said Di Montezomolo, who hopes to finish the deal before the start of the season.

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