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GP Week : Issue 158
BRIEFLY » The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on Friday, and high on the agenda was cost-cutting in Formula One (see separate news stories). But cost-cutting wasn’t the only discussion item to have an impact on F1. The WMSC also announced the formation of a Drivers’ Commission, to include representatives from across motorsport. “Following the granting of provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee, the WMSC agreed the composition, objectives and structure of a Drivers’ Commission,” the WMSC announced in a press release published after the meeting. “In addition to a President and Vice President, drivers and co-drivers from across all disciplines of motor sport will be represented in this 10-member Commission to be proposed by the ASNs. Draft modifications to the FIA Statutes will be submitted to the WMSC in September with a view to being ratified at the next General Assembly.” The WMSC also confirmed that the FIA’s Concorde Agreement negotiations were on-going and nearing conclusion: “Constructive Concorde Agreement discussions are on-going between the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder, with the intention of finalising an agreement in the coming weeks. It was also decided that the deadline for the closing of entries be deferred to 30 September.” » While a number of high profile paddock figures have been openly critical of the unpredictability of the 2012 season thus far, team owner Peter Sauber is firmly in the pro camp. “As far as I can see it’s just a handful of people in the paddock who can’t get used to not knowing by Friday who’s going to win on Sunday,” the team principal said. “I think the fans see it in a completely different light. They’re delighted with the unpredictability, the sheer variety and the unbelievably close competition. I’ve been in Formula One for 20 years now and for me it’s never been better or more exciting. That’s partly down to Pirelli, who are supplying the tyres for this show.” Sauber’s positive comments come following criticism from the likes of Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, and – most recently – former team boss Giancarlo Minardi. The successful FOTA Fans’ Forum made its first trip state-side last week as part of a Formula One marketing campaign to promote November’s United States Grand Prix, the first in the country since 2007. Seventy avid Formula One fans filed into the Florence Gould Hall in New York City to hear what a host of drivers and team bosses had to say, with the topics for discussion ranging from the commercial and financial side of the sport to the trouble teams are having coping with the unpredictable Pirelli tyres. Present at the forum were team bosses Bob Fernley (Force India) and Graeme Lowdon (Marussia), alongside drivers Paul di Resta (Force India), Sergio Perez (Sauber), Charles Pic (Marussia) and home hero Alexander Rossi (Caterham reserve driver). Californian native Rossi was the star attraction at the event, as the only American driver within touching distance of a Formula One seat at present. Speaking at the forum, the 20-year-old said his aim for next year was to get a seat on the F1 grid, as he battles for the World Series by Renault championship this year. “I’m competing in World Series by Renault, which is just below F1, with Arden Caterham and I participate in [F1] free practice also,” said the Caterham reserve driver. “The goal for me personally is to be on the grid next year and the timing for that is quite good with two Grands Prix coming in 2013.” Earlier at the forum, team bosses Fernley and Lowdon had their chance to field some questions from the fans, where the issue of cost reduction and resource restriction came up once more. Both bosses insisted the sport still had work to do to reduce the cost of competing, while maintaining Formula One at the forefront of innovation. “We need to be able to get the costs under control. That can be done through resource restriction,” said Fernley, deputy team principal of Force India. “You don’t want to stop innovation because that’s what F1 is all about.” The unpredictability of this year’s Pirelli tyres also came up for discussion, with Paul di Resta doing his best to describe the problem everyone is having to keep them within their working window race-by-race. “The tyres work in different ways: We have four different compounds, all with different working temperatures,” began the Scot. “If it’s too cold you can go through a stage of cold graining, meaning the tyre just falls apart. You can also get thermal degradation, which is the surface overheating. And it can all be controlled by the drop in temperature, so the carcass temperature. “You can really damage your tyre by the first two or three laps if it’s not at the temperature you need. Equally if you’re very kind to it at the beginning you can make it last much longer.” Formula One makes its return to the United States this coming November with the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas playing host to the sport. Then, next year, a second annual race in the States is due to be held in New Jersey, with the Manhattan skyline of New York acting as a spectacular backdrop. I WANT TO RACE IN NEW YORK AND TEXAS NEXT YEAR, ROSSI TELLS AMERICA L-R: Charles Pic – Marussia F1, Sergio Perez – Sauber, Alexander Rossi – Caterham F1 third driver, Paul di Resta – Force India. 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> NEWS