Williams and McLaren attack 'dumbing down' of Formula One

Formula One is facing a major revolt, barely a fortnight before the start of the world championship season. Williams and McLaren, the two leading teams after Ferrari, are challenging regulations recently introduced by the FIA, motor sport's governing body, in their endeavours to make grand prix racing cheaper and more entertaining.

The two British teams, who claim their views are shared by most of the other eight entrants, have outlined their opposition in a letter sent yesterday to Max Mosley, the FIA president. They contend the changes "dumb down'' Formula One and could put drivers at greater risk.

McLaren and Williams argue that the action of the FIA is in breach of contract and plan to press their case through the sports' arbitration service, although they will take part in this year's championship.

Mosley has demanded drastic measures following a year in which two teams, Prost and Arrows, went out of business and Ferrari again dominated on the track. He felt the teams were dragging their heels over proposals for change.

They, in turn, believed Mosley was falsely conveying the impression that Formula One was in crisis. They accuse him of failing to heed the advice of the Formula One technical working group – made up of the technical directors from each of the teams – on safety matters.

The working group are concerned that the time available for teams to check their cars between qualifying and the race has been reduced from 18 and a half hours to two and a half hours, and that the banning of telemetry will prevent the teams from monitoring cars for defects during the race.

In their letter to Mosley, Ron Dennis, chairman of McLaren, and Frank Williams, managing director of Williams, say: "We are opposed to the unilateral way in which you have acted to introduce new regulations to the 2003 World Championship. Critically, both teams have deep concerns that the Formula One technical working group members have expressed the view that the changes could increase the safety risk for drivers.

"It is expected that these proposals would reduce the attractiveness of the sport to sponsors, investment partners and fans. It would also leave the automotive manufacturers with no choice but to reconsider their involvement in our series."

McLaren and Williams are the only teams capable of giving Ferrari and Michael Schumacher a contest, and resent what they perceive as patronising assistance. They are adamant there is sufficient cash in Formula One to go round and ensure smaller teams survive.

They acknowledge the need for change and state that "sensible proposals'' to reduce costs and improve the show are on the table. "These measures included the prohibition of qualifying cars, an acceptance of standard materials and equipment and an arrangement with a number of manufacturers to supply low-cost engines to the independent teams,'' they state.

Dennis added: "The FIA is trying to dumb down Formula One. It has introduced sweeping new regulations without proper consultation.''

The letter is scarcely a bolt out of the blue for Mosley and the FIA responded: "Any Formula One team is entitled to seek arbitration under the terms of the Concorde Agreement [the Formula One statute]. The FIA is confident that its position will be upheld.''

Arbitration could take months. The first race is the Australian Grand Prix, in Melbourne, two weeks on Sunday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life