Less smoke and mirrors from the FIA as more overtaking is promised in Fl from 2008
The future direction of grand prix racing became a little clearer at Monza when Max Mosley revealed the latest technical proposals for 2008 and beyond. The basic ideas the FIA put forward several months ago have been tweaked after consultation with interested parties, culminating in a meeting with team principals in Milan prior to the Italian GP.
Mosley made it clear that the FIA has also paid attention to a survey of fans conducted earlier in the year. One key result was that 94 per cent of respondents wanted more overtaking, a conclusion that hardly required a poll. Having also listened to the drivers, the FIA will attempt to find ways of allowing cars to follow each other closely through high-speed corners.
Interestingly, the punters have also demonstrated a clear desire to see F1 remain as a technical showcase. The majority did not want to see the sport become a GP2-style spec formula.
With that in mind, Mosley has taken a step back from the extreme position of his original proposals and has worked towards a compromise. And that is the way he has so often moved in the past — demand X, create a stir, and make people feel that they’ve got away lightly when you eventually agree on half of X. Which is of course where you wanted to be in the first place…
That idea is almost reflected in his stance on downforce. He shocked the teams by demanding a 90 per cent reduction from current levels and has now accepted that something akin to 50 per cent is more realistic. He’s also planning a rethink in the way speeds are controlled: in the past downforce was reined in by more restrictive dimensions, and it didn’t take long for designers to find ways of clawing it back; now there will be an overall downforce level which cars must not exceed. The role of R&D departments will be to find ways of attaining that number in ever more efficient ways.
And that fits in with the overall concept that Mosley is trying to push. OK, he says, you can have your technology, but let’s at least pursue areas that are ultimately of benefit to road cars. He has, for example, reinstated paddle gear changes, having accepted that it would be absurd for Formula One to abandon something that has already reached the man in the street.
Most of it makes sense, as does the proposal to allow teams to sell complete cars at the end of the year. At the same time the infamous $48m deposit, for so long a barrier to entry, will be abandoned. Without such measures it’s impossible to see where any new teams might come from.
The definitive picture will only become apparent after the forthcoming World Motor Sport Council meeting in October. Let’s just hope that common sense prevails.