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Teams push for increased FIA action on cost control

Friday 16th March, 2012 - 11:29pm

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McLaren has been a strong supporter of the RRA since its inception

McLaren has been a strong supporter of the RRA since its inception

Leading Formula 1 teams have formally requested increased action from the FIA as part of a collective bid to control costs in the sport.

On the eve of the 2012 season opener in Melbourne, the sport’s governing body has received correspondence signed by a significant portion of the grid that could see the Resource Restriction Agreement incorporated in future FIA sporting regulations.

The RRA was first tabled by the Formula One Teams Association in 2009 amid a push from then-FIA president Max Mosley for a budget cap to be introduced.

The agreement puts limits on various areas of team expenditure including total personnel numbers and wind tunnel testing time.

Controversy has dogged the concept since its introduction however, with Red Bull, Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Sauber all withdrawing from FOTA late last year amid concerns that the current RRA could not be properly policed.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has confirmed that the teams still focussed on progressing the RRA have contacted the FIA about its future direction.

“The teams asked the FIA to continue the process of looking at cost control,” said Brawn of the latest developments.

“It’s something which the FIA are very keen to do as well, so it was a letter of support to the FIA to say that we want to continue the process of reducing costs and look at fair ways of introducing the regulations or procedures to keep the costs under control and further reduce the costs.

“If we had a Formula One where teams like the smaller teams at the back of the grid could be commercially viable – more commercially viable – then I think that’s a healthier Formula One, so have to find ways of trying to achieve that.”

Williams chairman Adam Parr also reaffirmed his team’s commitment to the RRA, although was keen to point out the importance of simultaneously formulating cost-minded technical regulations.

“The prime area of means of controlling costs should be controlling expenditure,” said Parr.

“That’s the primary way of controlling costs because in the past, attempts to cure them purely by technical rules just squeezed the balloon into another shape.

“However, I think there is also a desire to look at areas of the car that have become ludicrously over-complicated.

“An example is used of the corners of the car. I think we have over 130 moulds for one brake duct now. And I’m not sure that that does genuinely add to the show.

“What does add to the show is when people come up with clever ideas, and you can only really have that if you control overall spending, because otherwise it is the more money you’ve got, the more clever ideas you should be able to come up with. So I think it’s a combination of both.”

The attempt to move the RRA debate forward comes at a time of increasing uncertainty for the sport, with the current Concorde Agreement – made between the teams, the FIA and the Bernie Ecclestone-led Formula One Administration – set to run out at the end of the year.

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