Motor Racing: Fisa approves new grand prix formula

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THE sport's ruling bodies are to press ahead with new rules to reduce the spiralling cost of Formula One, despite fears of a disagreement with the two leading teams, McLaren-Ford and Williams-Renault. The moves were announced in Paris yesterday at a three-way news conference of the International Automobile Federation, Fia, its competition arm, Fisa, and the Formula One Constructors' Association.

The Fisa president, Max Mosley, also announced that the Williams-Renault team would be able to defend their constructors' title this season and that the French Grand Prix would go ahead on 4 July.

The Anglo-French team had failed to make their application for the 1993 season by last November's deadline and needed the support of smaller teams and then a vote to be included in the new season, which starts at Kyalami, South Africa, on 14 March.

Mosley outlined a series of measures to reduce the costs of the sport for the smaller teams from 1993 to 1995.

Practice sessions will be cut this season, along with the number of tyres which a team can use, and provisions for the spare car will be reduced. Measures planned for 1994 are to outlaw sophisticated drivers' aids, such as computers and telemetry, and to introduce a single engine per car for an entire event. Both need to be approved by Fisa's world council on 18 March.

Williams and McLaren, teams at the forefront of technological innovation, reject the contention that the proposals for next year are necessary for the viability or spectacle of the sport.

Patrick Head, the technical director of Williams, argues that Formula One should always be the arena for technical excellence and enterprise. He said yesterday: 'I agree such things as traction control take away from the skill of the driver so we could drop that. But active suspension and semi-automatic transmissions do not. All the teams are getting these on board now, so why get rid of them and waste the investment?'

Head and others maintain that the expenditure on technological aids has been grossly exaggerated. Peter Collins, the managing director of Lotus-Ford, revealed that the active suspension system on his team's new car cost about pounds 130,000, a modest sum by Formula One standards.

(Photograph omitted)