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GP Week : Issue 166
w BRIEFLY » On Thursday evening in Monza the support race paddock was filled with F1 faces keen to get a glimpse of the next incarnation of the GP3 car, the GP3/13. According to series CEO Bruno Michel, the challenger was designed with a view to making GP3 a more relevant feeder series for drivers looking to work their way up to Formula One. “Our main objective was to make sure that GP3 remains the best way to prepare young drivers for the next steps, GP2 and F1, which is why we designed a more powerful and more selective car that – among other things – reduces the gap between GP3 and GP2,” he said. “In order to do so, we carefully assessed the different single seater categories below GP2 and took into account observations from our drivers and teams. We’re convinced that the way we’ve positioned the GP3/13 is the right one for the next three seasons. Even if the car has evolved quite a lot, the costs will be almost similar to what they were before. That was key. The teams will not have to buy a new car. We will provide them with a development kit. It was quite a challenge seeing how the aerodynamics and the engine are different. And speaking of the engine, we go from 280 to 400hp for the same price.” » Visitors to the Ferrari motorhome in Monza were surprised to see a sheeted car parked outside the twin red buildings on Saturday afternoon. With no new road car launch planned for the weekend, few realised that the beast under cover was a one-off Ferrari 599XX that had been auctioned off by the team in June with a view to raising money for the victims of April’s Emilia-Romagna earthquakes. The winning bidder was in Monza to collect his €1.4 million machine from Ferrari, who had arranged for the car to be hand delivered by a triumvirate comprised of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and racing drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. F1 >>> NEWS While cost-cutting is an admirable sentiment, especially in a sport where some budgets can appear to be limitless, FIA president Jean Todt is currently caught between a rock and a hard place with his efforts to trim the F1 fat. This week, the FIA president has given a number of interviews highlighting the need to cut costs, but has also faced widespread criticism from those within the paddock who feel that his comments fly in the face of the FIA’s insistence on what will be a very expensive change to the Formula One engine specification in 2014. According to Todt, costs must be cut or F1 will see a significantly reduced grid in 2015. And in that regard, the Frenchman is entirely correct. Three weeks before the start of the current season, one of the teams currently competing contacted the FIA to say that they could not afford to take part in the 2012 championship. “Costs are my main objective, because they must be lowered by a further 30 per cent in the next three years, other wise we'll lose several teams,” Todt told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport. “Formula One must be a business for everyone with balances in the black for the teams. Nowadays [that is] so for only two or three teams perhaps. But we are getting to a conclusion with the Concorde Agreement, after tense discussions and common objectives. “From 2014, with the new regulations and the turbo engine, we'll take a step for ward towards the world we predict we'll live in. And maybe I'll manage to convince several engine manufacturers who are now in endurance racing or elsewhere into building engines for F1 too: Audi, Toyota, Porsche, the Koreans...” While Todt has made the engine specification change a cornerstone of his FIA presidency, the bulk of F1 team principals are concerned by the inherent contradiction in an expensive spec change in an era when the governing body is doing its best to limit costs, including the possibility of an FIA-mandated RRA. “It’s quite clear that this new powertrain in 2014 will increase the costs,” said Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost. “It’s not possible to make it cheaper, as we get it now, because there’s a new engine, we have the new ERS system, there’s the new batteries and everything will for sure increase the costs. And 2014 will become an expensive year. Now the question, how is the depreciation in the following years? Just maybe to level the costs, on an acceptable amount.” Lotus team principal Eric Boullier was in agreement: “It’s a concern, the costs of the new powertrain,” he said. “We expect either though the engine RRA or different discussions we can have with the engine manufacturers... you know it’s going to be reasonable... we don’t see new technologies is going to be difficult to bring the price down, cheaper than now – but if there is an increase we just expect a reasonable increase.” Another man adding his voice to the choir was Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, the most prominent opponent of an FIA-regulated RRA. “In terms of cost of supply I think the difficulty with introducing new technology and advanced technology such as the 2014 engine, it comes at a price,” Horner said. “And I think all of the independent teams are very eager to know what that price is and what the impact of that price will be. I don’t think it’s the right market for Formula One to see an increase in costs. I don’t think that’s ultimately sustainable.” But Todt stood firm on his cost-reduction position, telling Autosport that costs must be reduced while new technologies needed to be implemented to keep Formula One in line with a changing world. “It is up to the teams to work with [the FIA] and the commercial rights holder,” he said. “We need to agree what to do: other wise it will be unsustainable. We must reduce the costs in order to keep everybody on board. Formula One is too expensive. With motorsport, I always say what do we need to do? What are our priorities? To reduce the cost, to improve the show, and to implement new technology and revisions for the future, because the world is changing.” TODT: CUT COSTS OR LOSE TEAMS – BUT SPEND ON ENGINES! 6 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: