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JANUARY 16, 2003

Australian GP boss lauds new F1 measures

The drastic cost-cutting moves in Formula 1have been greeted with favourable comment in many different areas of the sport and, to date at least, there has been almost no negative comment. McLaren's Ron Dennis, who was expected to oppose the changes, refused to make any comment to the media after the meeting yesterday in London while we hear that Jean Todt of Ferrari will be talking later today. The word is that Ferrari is going to come out in favour of the cutbacks.

Down in Australia, the Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Ron Walker, has hailed the new rules as "great news for motor sport". Walker applauded the FIA for "getting F1 out of the space age and returning it to pure motor racing. The operating costs for the teams had got way out of control and so much of the money being spent meant nothing to the people who matter most in the big picture - the hundreds of millions of viewers around the world watching GPs on television. The moves we have seen from the FIA will get those costs back under control over the next couple of years and will be for the benefit of everyone."

Walker said that, as a member of the Formula One Commission, he had long been arguing for many of the clamps that will now be enforced.

"The teams, because of the intense competition in which they are involved, were not going to initiate these moves. None of them was going to dare to be brave enough to put the brake on the spiralling costs, so I applaud the FIA president, Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, for having the fortitude to take a lead on this and impose a massive load of common sense. It is wonderful news for the sport of F1."