Toyota’s Howett: FOTA’s provisions

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Toyota’s John Howett has discussed the provisions offered as supplemental to FOTA members 2010 application to the FIA on May 29. The crux, if you will, is gaining a new Concorde Agreement to be signed by June 12. The magic date may ring a bell as that is the day FIA President Max Mosley is to announce the official F1 entry list for 2010. It is believed that Max may be planning a coup of sorts and that the FOTA teams who have offered a proviso to their applications may be cast aside in favor of the new teams.

Mr. Howett, who has been spending most of his time in the press fending off suggestions that Toyota is leaving the sport after 2009, has restated FOTA and Toyota’s position. The two are inextricably tied together.

“Toyota has, like the other FOTA teams, submitted a conditional entry. Firstly we need a new Concorde Agreement to be signed by all parties before 12 June to ensure proper governance. And secondly the 2010 regulations must be based on those we have this year with modifications which FOTA has proposed.”

“There is no budget cap contained within the FOTA proposals for 2010 regulations,” Howett said. “FOTA has proposed a sensible method of controlling expenditure which can be managed in a very simple, practical manner while avoiding external and potentially costly auditing mechanisms.

“We have put forward a comprehensive document of proposals for the 2010 regulations which we believe will allow Formula 1 to prosper.

“We are happy to see new teams, but we made it clear from the start that everybody has to compete under the same rules. Cost reduction was one of FOTA’s founding principles and we have reduced the costs of leasing engines and transmissions by over 50 per cent, with further significant savings contained within our proposed 2010 regulations.

“These include limits on aerodynamic development, restrictions on the use of exotic materials and prohibition of some costly technical activities such as wheel rim heating, which don’t add to the spectacle. We have proposed many effective measures to reduce the cost of entry to, and participation in, Formula 1.”

Although we’ve been beating a dead horse here at F1B about the Concorde Agreement being the catalyst as it includes the return of the F1 Commission which regulates the sport with the input of teams and promoters; we still believe this is a large part of FOTA’s provisions and desire. The control of the sport has been systematically hijacked by Max Mosley and the FIA in recent years with regulations changes rapidly developing at their whim and costing the sport millions. The cost cutting measures introduced by FOTA are important as the new teams were looking for budget caps as a reason to enter F1 in 2010.

One wonders what Max Mosley may have told the new teams as they were banking on a budget cap. They have all submitted their applications for 2010 and prudence would suggest they would only commit if they were certain the current 2010 regulations, as published, are going to remain true.

Perhaps the FOTA cost-cutting plan is farther reaching than most of us understand but I can attest to the cost of having an independent auditor sifting through the books of all F1 teams as being massively expensive. FOTA’s simple plan for measuring costs would be a welcome option but I doubt Max’s pragmatism will see it that way.

Here is the bottom line on this. One need only look at the decisions the FIA have made over the last 10 years to determine how Max’s pragmatism has cost the sport hundreds of millions in needless expenses at the hands of nonsensical and frequently changing regulations. Why, now, would his decisions be any more salient or prudent for F1? The same Byzantine approach to F1 that has brought us to this place is the same logic Max will use to reshape the sport into some sort of one ring circus replete with stinky clowns, sway-backed horses and sweaty, globule-ladden cotton candy. His penchant for underwhelming everyone is renown but his track record for being correct in the last decade requires a jewelers loop to discover.

Here is hoping that FOTA can bring logic, measured response and an sensible approach to F1.

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