FIA bans electronic 'driver aids'

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The Independent Online

Formula One's governing body has announced plans to cut costs and enhance the sport's attraction after a meeting with team leaders in London yesterday.

Formula One's governing body has announced plans to cut costs and enhance the sport's attraction after a meeting with team leaders in London yesterday.

The FIA has decided to act after suggesting that the 10 team principals had failed to come up with concrete proposals despite a series of meetings.

The plans include the elimination of electronic aids such as traction and launch control by 2004 at the latest with the FIA hoping to have them removed from competition during the coming season.

The governing body has also warned they will "rigorously apply existing rules" in the coming season to ensure teams will not be able to use a spare car in 2003. Telemetry between the cars and pits as well as all radio communication between the driver and team will also be banned.

The FIA also announced plans to introduce standard braking systems, rear wings and other long-life components from the start of the 2004 season. The prospect of manufacturers being compelled to supply engines to more than one team has also been raised. From 2005, engines will have to last two races while in 2006 engine life will be extended to six races.

Max Mosley, the FIA president, has warned he is prepared to force through the changes to reduce costs, after the loss of the Prost and Arrows teams, and improve the spectacle for fans if the teams did not agree to change.

"Despite the disappearance of two Formula One teams in the last 12 months, nothing has been done to save money," the FIA said in a statement. "Last October, the Formula One teams rejected all the FIA's cost-saving proposals. The teams themselves have had several meetings but produced nothing."

Meanwhile, the Arrows team have gone into liquidation after a winding-up petition was granted against them on behalf of their former driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

Arrows, excluded from last year's championship after missing five of the last six races, laid off their staff in December. The team had been in F1 for 25 years and held the record of 382 starts without winning a race. Their departure leaves Formula One with just 10 teams.

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