Max Mosley, the president of international motor sport's governing body, the FIA, yesterday set out his vision for Formula One and its financial future. Making the keynote address at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco, he said: "Honda pulled out because of falling car sales and there is no guarantee that these falling sales, which affect all manufacturers, will not drop further. If they do then we have to prepare for other manufacturers to pull out not only from Formula One but other areas of motor sport.
"But what is wrong with Formula One today was wrong before any of the present economic problems cropped up. Essentially it's the rules, which have become ever more restrictive compressing the work of the engineers into an ever smaller area.
"As such, success in F1 today consists of optimising every single part of the chassis to the ultimate degree and that is both extremely expensive and utterly pointless."
Mosley added that the continual search for lighter, exotic materials "has created a mentality in F1 where the engineers are only comfortable in refinement, they don't do innovation. That is slowly destroying F1. It is enormously expensive and is not really what an engineer should be doing."
His remarks glossed over the fact that the rules which restrict engineers were formed by the FIA, which also encouraged the manufacturers to participate in the first place, but an unabashed Mosley could not resist taking a swipe at Ferrari, who are not a fan of the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) which will be part of the sport next season.
"We've finally found a serious engineering challenge for the teams in KERS," he said. "But some, such as Ferrari, have said that they don't like KERS because it is 'too complicated'. Could you imagine the great F1 engineers like [Colin] Chapman or [Keith] Duckworth saying 'I can't do that because it is too complicated'? It is a symptom of a disease in F1 where incremental change becomes the whole object of the exercise and real serious innovation plays no part."
The FIA and the teams do agree, however, on the need to slash budgets by up to 50 per cent over the next two years. Talks between them continue this week.