No changes to new rules

IMOLA (Italy): Max Mosley, the president of Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, said here yesterday that the sport’s new regulation changes have rejuvenated the sport. 

Mosley introduced the changes in January to combat a reducing interest in Grand Prix racing after world champions Ferrari dominated the 2002 season winning 15 of the 17 races. 

Several teams were against the proposals when they were introduced but the 10 team chiefs unanimously agreed yesterday to retain the latest set of regulations for the remainder of the season. 

Mosley believes the first three races of the year have proved their success and said: “What makes it interesting is what we call in England the ‘down the pub’ factor; going down to the pub and talking about it. 

“It is that unpredictability and we have got that now. People are talking about F1 again. 

“Having said that I would say I think we will see Ferrari finish first and second in a race in the near future - they have all the potential to do that. 

“But equally McLaren are strong as are Williams. Jaguar also looked stronger than perhaps people realise in Brazil and also Renault. It’s spectacular.” 

However the jury is out as to whether the opening three races truly reflect the benefits of the rules changes because two of them, in Australia and Brazil, have been hit by rain. 

In the Malaysian Grand Prix world champion Michael Schumacher crashed his Ferrari into Jarno Trulli’s Renault at the start of the race. 

But with two debut winners in the last two races – Finn Kimi Raikkonen, of McLaren-Mercedes, in Malaysia and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, of Jordan, in Brazil, Mosley believes there is no reason to panic just yet. 

There remains, however, some contention over the next phase of the changes that will see electronic driver aids such as traction control and automatic gearboxes banned from the start of the 2004 season. 

The originally planned introduction of the ban, at the British Grand Prix in July, has already been delayed and Mosley said he will meet the team principals again “in the near future” to discuss the matter further.  

“The teams want to keep one-way telemetry from car to pit, traction control and launch control and we don’t want to,” he said. 

“The reason they are giving is, number one, policing the ban, the mutual suspicion and all of that. The number two is ‘we’ve bought it and we have it so why make us get rid of it?’” 

Several team chiefs had also planned to fight against the new rule that allows the use of just one type of wet weather tyre after it caused the drivers to lose control in torrential conditions in Sao Paulo two weeks ago. 

But Mosley said the FIA have no way of altering the regulation and blamed the tyre manufacturers for using an intermediate tyre, which works on a damp track but cannot cope with heavy rain, rather than a full wet. 

“Unfortunately we can’t actually change anything on safety grounds but we have said to the teams that we believe they should be at a race with equipment which will enable them to race in all conditions,” he said. “That is F1. If they are not we will be having to look at applying something from the sporting code because it is not correct to turn up knowing you can’t race. 

“When a single wet tyre was agreed it was agreed that we would have a single wet tyre, not an intermediate. It is there in black and white.” – AFP 

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