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GP Week : Issue 40
Howett expects teams to lose key staff > F1NEWS> TOYOTA F1 Team President John Howett believes Formula 1 teams will lose key technical staff over the coming years, as regulations continue to tighten and technological innovation, through a combination of rules freezes and the current financial crisis, is stifled. Howett’s Panasonic Toyota Racing team lost its engine division Technical Director Luca Marmorini over the winter, and Howett told the official Formula 1 Website at the time that his departure had been due to his being “frustrated that there was really no opportunity for engine development,”under current F1 engine freeze regulations. Howett, who is also Vice President of FOTA, told GPWeek in Malaysia that, while he expected more key technical players to follow Marmorini’s exit from the sport, the restriction in technological innovation was vital for the sport’s survival. “I would suggest it’s the same problem faced by all teams. One of the, I guess, attractions of Formula 1 has been that it is really pushing the boundaries of known technologies relative to road cars, so I think that it is something that people are fascinated about, but one has to also acknowledge that there is a [financial] crisis. “If people like racing, Formula 1 will still be one of the most advanced [championships] that is possible and it will remain the pinnacle. I think the people will understand and they will be patient for one or two years.” The admission comes as Formula 1 attempts to tighten its financial belt, with all teams having to make redundancies due, in part, to the new regulations and in part to the current fiscal crisis. Last week, as part of its downsizing from ‘factory’ to ‘private’ team, BrawnGP was forced to lay off 270 staff from its Brackley HQ. 12