13 Dec 2008

F1 changes to save money

1:47 pm on 13 December 2008

Formula One teams will cut their costs by almost a third next year under a package of measures to secure the sport's future in the face of the global credit crunch.

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that independent teams would see engine costs halved in 2009, with a year's supply priced at under five million euros ($6.63 million) from 2010 compared to at least 15 million at present.

Testing will be banned during the season other than at regular Friday practice at grand prix weekends. Engines would be detuned to 18,000 rpm and have to last for three races next season rather than two.

From 2010, refuelling will cease and grand prix distances could be shortened.

The FIA estimated the new measures would save manufacturer-owned teams the equivalent of 30 percent of their 2008 budgets next year, with independent teams seeing even more reductions.

The measures come with the sport staring into the abyss, with the manufacturers who own half of the teams facing plunging sales and share prices.

Honda, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars for scant reward, have already announced they are pulling out - triggering fears another carmaker could quit before the season starts in Australia on March 29.