F1 Chiefs Seek Solutions at Latest Crisis Meeting

Formula One\'s decision makers will gather for yet another crisis meeting to discuss yet another -revolution for the rules,

Published: 14th May 2015 08:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th May 2015 08:12 AM   |  A+A-


Formula One's decision makers will gather for yet another crisis meeting to discuss yet another -revolution for the rules, but Bernie Ecclestone has warned that the summit could be a flop with the only decision made "the date of the next meeting".

Ecclestone, F1's increasingly frustrated ringmaster, is pessimistic about progress being made. "We might change the date of the next meeting," the 84-year-old said. "Possibly. I'm not sure. It's not easy to get decisions made."

The Strategy Group, made up of Ecclestone, the FIA, motorsport's -governing body, and the six biggest teams, meets at Biggin Hill headquarters this morning. Donald Mackenzie, the co-chairman and co?founder of CVC Capital Partners, F1's owners, will also be attending.

The penny seems to have dropped in recent months for the most powerful man in the sport, with teams on the brink and little agreed beyond a ban on drivers changing their -helmets during the season. The inertia is such that even the sport's drivers are -taking matters into their own hands.

Through the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, the drivers plan to use social media to conduct a survey of the fans' feelings about the state of the sport at the next race in Monaco.

With a soporific and poorly attended Spanish Grand Prix fresh in the mind - there is speculation that some markets suffered the worst television viewing figures for a decade - the Strategy Group will discuss a raft of measures for 2017 designed both to improve the product and save money for financially stricken teams.

The FIA will present the conclusions of a report by McKinsey, a city management consultant firm, who have been enlisted to find ways of cutting costs. That includes standardising a number of parts, and some of the smaller teams - Force India, Lotus and Sauber - are interested in becoming 'co-constructors', where they would pool resources to design major parts of the car.

Jean Todt, the FIA president, was in Barcelona last weekend for talks with Ecclestone, and they may even form a rare alliance to stop the teams voting for their own competitive advantage. The pair had dinner last night to try and come up with an agreement.

Ecclestone will also address the current generation of hybrid engines. He wants more noise and much less cost. Red Bull will propose a ban on using wind tunnels for aerodynamic development, a move some say could save more than pounds 10?million a year.

What many believe to be the real issue - the skewed distribution of the prize money - is not on the agenda. That requires the contracts to be torn up, but they are locked in until 2020.

One piece of good news is an American team, run by Gene Haas, joining the grid next year. Haas raised the possibility yesterday of Danica Patrick joining the driver line-up, ending the long wait for a woman racing back in Formula One. The

33-year-old currently competes in the Nascar sprint cup.

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