JANUARY 7, 2004
A cloud on the horizon
There has been a lot of speculation in recent days about the settlement which was apparently agreed between the Formula One group and the car manufacturers shortly before Christmas. This is a subject that is bound to come up when the Formula 1 team bosses meet next week in London.
The discussions are expected to include details of how the teams will receive more money now that a basic agreement is in place. At the moment no-one seems to know what is happening with a variety of rumours ranging from lump sums of $40m to a substantial increase in the annual payments. The smaller teams are hoping that the deal will include money to help them pay for their engines.
There has been much discussion about this in the past - and a lot of bad feeling because the smaller teams feel that they were given a promise in January last year has not been kept. They are still having to pay out huge sums for engines.
If a deal is not agreed, it is likely that we will see fireworks when the team bosses meet because, as last year, FIA President Max Mosley may decide that he wants to push the manufacturers to help the small teams.
Our understanding of the situation is that the FIA agreed last year to put off its ban on traction-control on the understanding that the small teams would get cheaper engines. This has not yet happened, so it is quite possible that Mosley will be bringing up the subject again at the meeting.
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