Category Archives: FIA – Federation Internationale de i’Automobile

News from the Ruling Body of F1, and news and discussions covering F1 Rules and Regulations.

FIA Abandons Spending Cap for F1

OPED: F1 Today North American Editor Tom Spithaler

fiaflagThis is an intricate topic. I like the idea of spending cap to allow the smaller teams to be more competitive. That’s the utopian in me coming out. F1 has advanced so much technologically over the last 40 years that back in the 60’s and 70’s. Back in the day, most organizations that has the gusto to get involved in Formula One racing could do so, if they had reasonable backing. Guys that had an idea they wanted to test could sign-up, buy a chassis one place, a motor at another, add their new fad improvement and test it on the track all season against other teams doing the same thing. Granted, there were the obligatory ‘works’ teams from Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus and the likes, but they were frequently beat by the Tyrell’s, Brabhams, and BRM’s of the world, doing it all out of pocket (before the big sponsorship deals came along) with blood, sweat and tears invested more than anything. Sure, sometimes their ideas were bad and teams went bust. But if you wanted to get involved, you could, and many did. And let’s be honest – it made for some GREAT racing.


On the other hand, a spending cap limits technological development, and the teams that do have the means to bring about rock-solid technology like reliable semi-auto transmissions, power steering, traction control, active suspension and more (yes, many have been outlawed along the way), couldn’t do so. I like that F1 brings to the table the best motor racing engineers in the world, and that it becomes a put-up or shut-up proposition. After all, bragging rights are only good when you are the one bragging, right?

Answer; I’m torn. I’m not sure which way to go with this. My suspicion s that FIA feels the same way, and because they have not been able to come up with an equitable method to control spending, they’d rather do nothing, than do something and get iot wrong. Why? Because there’s too much money at stake, and the public is already second guessing the rules changes that have been implemented for this season. Under scrutiny for engines that sound like wind up tops, why take a shot at changing more rules now?

Here’s what I’ve settled on as to why teams cannot afford to do what they did back in the 60’s and 70’s and join in the fun with F1. In the “golden years” technology was affordable. Now it is not.

Technology back then was building a batter, strong, springier part. It was changing the design on the intake or exhaust manifold to develop more horse-power. It was designing better brakes, that cooled faster. It was going with the tire company that offered the compound that best suited your card. It was locating your spoiler sin different, sometimes God-awful places to try and get cleaner air over your car for downforce. Now it is spending a million dollars to pay some software developer that has no interest in auto racing, and has never heard an F1 car roar down the straightway to write a program that better controls fuel flow. It’s about $10 million on wind-tunnel testing. It’s about discovering new materials that can take more heat, developing lighter materials that are equally strong at half the mass. All of which cost developing teams tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

If F1 were 50 years ago what it is today, you’d have never seem Jackie Stewart going airborne over the crest of the hills of Nurbergring. We’d have never seen the likes of so much of what is now precious F2 history. We saw that because people who loved the sport at heart, could get involved. i miss that in so much of the sports world now.

My heart of hearts wants to see a spending cap. Everyone wants the underdog to win, but in today’s F1, the underdog can’t even get on the track until he pays his $15 million fee to FIA to get a license to compete. We cry for Chaterham and Sauber and Maurussia. Next year we might see a US team return to F1, a team that has a great history in open wheel racing in Haas (of the Newman/Haas teams), but Bernie seem hell-bent on trying to price them out of the arena, publicly belittling them in front of the world motorsport community in the way only Bernie can.

While the debate will go on about a spending cap – and rightfully so, one improvement that bernieandprinceFIA and F1 can make right away, and that most of us can agree on, is the sacking of Bernie Ecclestone.





F1 Rules changes Include Double Points, and Spending Cap


By , F1 Correspondent

Formula One is to introduce a cost cap from 2015 and, perhaps more controversially, will offer double points in the final race of each season from 2014 in an effort to keep the championship alive until the end.

The two changes were among a whole raft announced by Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, on Monday night following a meeting in Paris of the sport’s new rule-making body the F1 Strategy Group and they were immediately approved by the Formula One Commission.

While the cost cap, the level of which has yet to be defined, is arguably the most significant change, it is the introduction of double points at the final race which attracted most attention on Monday night, with many fans dismissing the idea as a gimmick.

The rule will apply to both drivers’ and constructors’ championships, meaning the winner of the final race next year in Abu Dhabi – which is already a controversial choice of venue for the final race of the season – will earn 50 points, with 36 for second place and so on through the top 10.

Had the system been in place in recent years, Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 drivers’ title would have gone to Felipe Massa while Fernando Alonso would have won the 2012 drivers’ title from Sebastian Vettel.


Driver’s to get Permanent Numbers

Senna in his #1 McLaren at Monaco 1992.

Sam Tremayne; Yahoo! Sports:

As AUTOSPORT revealed last month, the item was tabled for discussion for F1’s Strategy Group meeting on December 9.

The group and Formula One Commission has approved the change, which becomes effective immediately and will therefore be implemented ahead of the 2014 season.

The FIA gave the Strategy Group and Commission a one-off mandate to impose rule changes at its World Motor Sport Council meeting last week.

INSIGHT: F1’s iconic numbers

While #1 will be reserved for the current world champion – should he choose to use it – every other driver will be asked to choose their race number, between #2 and #99.

If more than one driver selects the same number, priority will be given on last year’s championship order.

The changes therefore mean Sebastian Vettel will have the option of competing as #1 next year, with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso having the second pick of numbers.

The new F1 system is similar to that used in motorcycle racing, where riders stick with numbers for a whole career, such as Valentino Rossi’s iconic #46, and can choose whether or not to switch to #1 when champions.

In American motorsport, it is teams rather than drivers that usually run permanent numbers and champions switching to #1 has become a rarity.

The Race is Still on in F1

New York Times:
Published: October 31, 2013

When Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull team took their fourth consecutive drivers’ and constructors’ titles at the Indian Grand Prix at New Delhi on Sunday, it ended the suspense for Formula One fans and drivers about the ultimate prizes this season.

But aside from all the title fanfare, in the last three laps of that race there was a ferocious battle among Sergio Pérez, Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, which was ostensibly for fifth place in the race, but was really a battle among those drivers’ teams — McLaren, Mercedes and Lotus — in the race for second place in the championship.

For the 10 teams that trail Red Bull, such tense battles, pressure and suspense will a peak in a three-race showdown, starting with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday and ending with the Brazilian Grand Prix on Nov. 24, by way of the U.S. Grand Prix a week before that. At stake is $350 million or more in prize money, split between the teams — based on the 2011 figure, the latest that is available — from the series’ commercial rights holder, Formula One Management.

Teams are awarded prize money according to their finishing position in the championship, the largest amount going to the winner and the cut decreasing down the line. Continue reading The Race is Still on in F1

What’s Behind The F1 Failure in India?


As an F1 fan, one would be naive to not understand that there are a great deal of politics that are behind running Formula One racing as a world wide sport.  Perhaps as a new fan, or a fan that doesn’t look beyond the race itself or simply the results at the end of the day, F1 must function in the manner of a well oiled machine, and the intricacy of a Rolex watch. But there is so much more to it than even that.

The politics of F1 come to a head this week as teams descend on the Buddh circuit in India for this installment of the championship. With the last race in Korea so poorly attended and most likely a financial loss for FIA, the sanctioning organization behind Formula One racing, a second straight money loser is not going to tolerated for the 2014 campaign. For all intents and purposes, this is the last Indian Grand Prix we might see in a while, despite contractual obligations to return in 2014.

Both sides of the argument make their points in press releases and interviews, with the fans left forming opinions of their own while gleaning from these reports; some official and some leaked. Shilpa Kannan, of the BBC News, Delhi, authored an article that revealed some of the more important behind the scenes issues complicating the GP in India.  Continue reading What’s Behind The F1 Failure in India?

NJ Grand Prix Now in Doubt

usgp1Formula One fans in the United States are looking forward to two events on next year’s Championship calendar being on home circuits. Now that possibility is in serious doubt.

According to reports in Autoweek Magazine the money is not in place to make this race happen for 2014. Mac Morrison reports:

“It won’t happen, at least not next year”,

according to heavy-hitting industry sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. Their demand to remain nameless is always a journalist’s nightmare — and no surprise in the clandestine world of motorsports business, let alone F1 business.” Continue reading NJ Grand Prix Now in Doubt

An F1 Legend Leaving?

Lewis Hamilton Ross Brawn Mercedes Jerez TestRoss Brawn has been the focus of rumors as of late regarding his possible leaving of the Petronas Mercedes AMG Team for parts elsewhere.  Today however, the UK Mirror Sport section is reporting something entirely different.

“Ross Brawn could retire from Formula One at the end of this season. The man responsible for some of the greatest cars in F1 history could call it a day according to Mercedes boss Niki Lauda.”

Sad, but seemingly true. The current kerfuffle is stemming from Team Mercedes bringing in another Tech man, Paddy Lowe from McLaren.  Continue reading An F1 Legend Leaving?

A Record $758 MIllion in F1 Prize Money


By: Christian Sylt on October 6, 2013

Formula One’s teams received a record amount of prize money last year as the return of races in the United States and Bahrain gave the series its biggest-ever calendar and boosted its fortunes.

The Bahrain Grand Prix was cancelled in 2011 due to a civil uprising in the country but it was back on the calendar in 2012 along with the U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Texas. The annual race-hosting fees from these two races alone came to $66 million in revenue to F1, according to F1 business publication Formula Money. Those two races took the total number of Grands Prix to 20 and contributed to an 11.8-percent gain in revenue last year at Delta 2, the highest-level F1 parent company which files publicly available financial statements.

Those documents confirm that “despite the continued effects of the [global economic] downturn, … Continue reading A Record $758 MIllion in F1 Prize Money

Hulkenberg Too “Big” for McLaren

Nico-Hulkenberg-Sauber-Jerez-Day-one_2896104Single seat racing is by its very definition going to bore out building a car that is light, sleek. While there will always be minimum and maximum requirements to meet based on league rules, generally speaking, the lighter the better.  Think aerodynamic, think compact, think light.

With the silly season well into action, moving drivers to different teams and causing stirring in all the paddocks, Nico Hulkenberg is one of those drivers that seems to be doing quite a bit of sitting of the pot shall we say. Several seats have been mentioned as potential cockpit opportunities for Nico, but McLaren may not be one of

Much press has been given with regards to Hulkenberg terminating his contract with Sauber, most often reported as being caused by a lack of being paid by the financially struggling Sauber Team. But getting into another car, especially in F1 is often…

Continue reading Hulkenberg Too “Big” for McLaren

“Professor” Issues Warning

alainprostGiving full credit to Autosport:

Alain Prost believes all three engine manufacturers will suffer from unreliability at the start of the 2014 Formula 1 season, when the new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 regulations are introduced.

The four-times world champion expects Renault, for which he is an ambassador, Mercedes and Ferrari all to hit reliability problems because of the demands of the new technology.

But it will not be until pre-season testing starts in late January that the extent of the problems, if any, manifest themselves… Continue reading “Professor” Issues Warning