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Cost-cutting on the agenda again

Wednesday 30th April 2014

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Cost-cutting on the agenda again

Cost-cutting on the agenda again

Several of the smaller teams in Formula One want the FIA to produce evidence that their survival is important to the sport's governing body.

A meeting between the 11 F1 teams, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone takes place at Biggin Hill airfield south of London this week to "clarify the means to achieve a substantial F1 team cost reduction".

The meeting was called by the FIA after a Sauber, Force India, Caterham and Marussia submitted a letter to the sport's governing body that questions their motives for scrapping plans to impose a cost cap in 2015, which was agreed unanimously by all the teams previously.

The decision to scrap the plans to impose a cost cap as of next year was taken by the F1 Strategy Group, which is made up of Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Williams and Lotus.

FIA President Jean Todt then announced at the Bahrain Grand Prix last month that some of the teams in Strategy Group were against the cap and that cost-cutting measures would have to be introduced through formal regulations.

However, Force India deputy principal Bob Fernley, has admitted that he is uncertain about the outcome of the Biggin Hill meeting.

"I think we have to give a certain amount of courtesy to the FIA for arranging the meeting and let's listen to what they have to say first. To try and pre-empt anything would be inappropriate," he told Reuters.

"I think we want clarification as much as anything else," added Fernley.

"It was a unanimous agreement to introduce cost controls and a cost cap...the question that we have is how can something that's unanimous across all teams and stakeholders be overruled by a strategy group? For us, that's the crux of the matter."

The five teams outside of the Strategy Group, though, feel somewhat disenfranchised with the FIA. One of the teams that fears that the increasing financial divide between the top and bottom teams could be fatal for the sport is Marussia.

"We have to ensure that the sport is attractive to the fans," Marussia Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon told autosport.com.

"This is a sport that lost Jim Clark, and a sport that lost Ayrton Senna - but it survives. If the sport lost all the fans though, then it is finished."

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