JANUARY 4, 2003
The meeting on January 15
There is much speculation at the moment in F1 circles over what the FIA might be planning at the meeting on January 15. The federation clearly has a plan but there have been no hints as yet as to what it is that Max Mosley is going to try to force the teams to accept. The teams are not expected to come up with anything concrete at a pre-meeting meeting as they seem to be unable to agree on anything apart from the principle that saving money is a good idea.
The smaller teams are hoping that Mosley might attempt a deal by which engine manufacturers would have to supply free engines to more than one team or face a substantial fine from the FIA. The money raised by this system could then become a fighting fund which the FIA would use to help support the teams which have to pay for their engines. The danger of such an idea is that manufacturers might simply decide to walk away from F1 if forced into that position. That however is more a problem for the teams than for the federation because the teams are contracted to supply a minimum of 20 cars and the loss of one more team would mean that will not happen in 2003.
It must be noted that such an idea might also provide the FIA with a lever to convince the automobile manufacturers to accept lesser changes which would also save money for all the teams, notably the introduction of certain standardised parts, such as electronic boxes. This would cut costs for the bigger operations but would do little to help the small teams which do not have the money to spend on electronic development.
At the moment, however, this is largely speculation as the FIA is playing its cards very closely to its chest.
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