Mosley on superlicenses, the testing ban, medals and the British Grand Prix

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    Mosley on superlicenses, the testing ban, medals and the British Grand Prix

    Post by Ross on 5th February 2009, 07:55



    FIA president Max Mosley has spoken out and expressed his opinions on decisions F1's governing body have made over how the sport is run.

    Testing Ban

    The FIA will “probably not agree” to a relaxation of the recently adopted in-season testing ban should it be proposed by the teams, its president Max Mosley has indicated.

    As part of the radical cost-cutting measures agreed by the governing body and the Formula One Teams' Association at the end of last year, testing during the season was scrapped completely for 2009 and an overall limit of 15,000km imposed for the rest of the year.

    But with most teams struggling with the development of the complex KERS systems and many not set to introduce them from the first race, reports in recent days have suggested that teams have talked about proposing three test sessions during the season in which they can get on top of the problems.

    Asked about the possibility of relaxing the test ban at a lunch with a select group of journalists in London on Wednesday, Mosley said he would listen to any FOTA proposal but doubted a change would be made.

    “We will probably not agree to that,” he said.

    “But obviously we’ll have to listen to the proposal from FOTA.”


    Superlicenses

    Meanwhile, it appears that the FIA is holding firm over the cost of superlicences after drivers delayed signing them ahead of the new season.

    The price of obtaining the annually-renewed document, which a driver must have to compete in Formula 1, rose massively ahead of the 2008 campaign to the anger of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA).

    The hike saw the price balloon from €1,725 plus €456 per point scored in the previous year’s championship to €10,000 plus €2,000 per point scored in 2007.

    A further rise in line with inflation has followed for 2009, but the GPDA is disappointed that another increase has followed so soon.

    Speaking on Wednesday, Mosley said he had been willing to look at the issue but drivers had not been forthcoming when asked to provide evidence of their earnings.

    “I haven’t been given any licences to sign,” he told journalists.

    “That doesn’t usually happen for a while anyway, but anyone who wants to drive in Melbourne needs a superlicence.

    “Last year we put through a big rise; this year it’s only 3 or 4 percent and they said it was causing hardship.

    “I said ‘Well let me have the details of your income and we’ll see what we can do’.

    “But they don’t seem to want to give me that information.”


    Medal system

    Mosley has dismissed the notion that replacing Formula 1’s points system with medals for the top three finishers would encourage overtaking and lead to better racing.

    The medals scheme is being pushed by the sport’s commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone, who believes the current points structure offers insufficient reward for winning and therefore too little incentive to overtake.

    The FIA recently published a study showing how a medal system would have affected the outcome of past world championships, but its analysis was criticised for failing to take account of Ecclestone’s point that drivers adjust their tactics depending on the reward structure.

    However, Mosley counters that it is the design of the cars, not the points system, that makes overtaking an infrequent occurrence.

    “If the idea is to make people keen to overtake then we need to do a better job on the cars’ bodywork than we have done,” he told journalists at a lunch on Wednesday.

    “Fiddling around with the points system won’t fix the problem.”


    Following proposals by F1’s Overtaking Working Group, the technical regulations have been overhauled for this season in a bid to make the cars less sensitive to the aerodynamic wake and more able to race closely.

    But Mosley fears that even these significant changes – including the reintroduction of slick tyres and a big reduction in downforce – may prove not to have been bold enough.

    “I’m told it’s the biggest change since 1983 but I’m not sure it will solve the problem,” he said.

    The FIA’s technical consultant Tony Purnell raised similar concerns last year, telling Racecar Engineering magazine: “I’m absolutely sure the cars will be better, but some would say we’re talking about a remedial basket case as far as good racing goes, because the car is so badly affected when following.

    “While the cars will be better, have the changes gone far enough? We just don’t know.”

    Mosley again floated the idea of movable aerodynamic devices as the more radical solution that may be required.

    These would change the level of downforce and drag a car is generating depending on its positioning on the track, so it would gain, rather than lose, downforce when running close behind a rival – thereby avoiding the loss of front-end grip that is the main impediment to cars circulating in close company.

    The intention would be to recreate the kind of wheel-to-wheel slipstreaming battles that took place on fast circuits like Monza in the 1960s.

    Movable aerodynamic devices have been banned in F1 since the late 1960s after the high pole-mounted wings of that era broke off and caused several serious accidents.

    The 2009 rules have already taken a small step towards reintroducing them by allowing a cockpit-adjustable flap on the front wing, but Mosley envisages an automatic system.


    British Grand Prix

    Mosley admits the FIA would be powerless to prevent the British Grand Prix sliding off the Formula 1 calendar if the host circuit is unable to pay the going rate to stage a race.


    The long-term future of a British round had been uncertain for several years due to Silverstone’s troubles in meeting Bernie Ecclestone’s race hosting demands, before Donington stunned the F1 world by luring the event away from its long-time home on a 10-year deal from 2010.


    And while the Leicestershire circuit has recently gained planning permission to carry out the first phase of its major £100 million redevelopment scheme to bring the venue up to F1 standards, scepticism remains in some quarters over how the project will be funded, with Donington not set to reveal details of its planned debenture scheme until the end of March.


    Donington boss Simon Gillett has expressed his confidence all along that the finances will be in place and work completed on time, although Ecclestone recently warned that should the track not prove its plans are on course at a September inspection then he could take the race away.



    Mosley has previously indicated the FIA has a remit to protect the traditional grands prix such as Britain's, but has conceded it can only assert its influence if the venue in question matches both the financial terms and level of facilities the potential replacement is offering.


    Asked at a lunch with journalists on Wednesday if he had the power to protect a British round, the FIA president said: “I can’t.


    “We have a role to protect the races – Bernie cannot put out a calendar which results in the elimination of one of the traditional races without our agreement.


    “But we have to be reasonable as to the financial terms and facilities.


    “The FIA can’t put pressure on Bernie Ecclestone to race in the UK for less than other countries would pay for us to race elsewhere.”


    However, Mosley did label Britain as “the home of grand prix racing”, with the country being a mainstay on the calendar since the world championship’s inception in 1950 and providing the base for the majority of teams.


    Earlier this month Gillett reiterated his total faith in the Donington redevelopment project, telling itv.com/f1 that the circuit would “absolutely be ready” for 2010.


    “We’re going to be announcing the debenture scheme at the end of this financial quarter,” he added.


    “By the end of March you will be hearing more about the debenture scheme, but it’s in place and going very well.”


    Source: ITV F1


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    Director of Operations
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