Max Mosley Talks About The Rules, Politely

Max Mosley Talks About The Rules, Politely

Max Mosley has written to each of the Formula One teams outlining ideas and proposals for the future direction of the sport, giving particular attention to the technical rules and cost-cutting schemes. However, in the past the regulations have been pretty much dictated to the teams involved in the sport and while they have had some say in what happens, I sincerely doubt they’ve had as much as they’ve just been asked for. Mosley has invited the teams to bring ideas to the table…

Oh yes, you heard me correctly: Max Mosley, in his letter which has been published on the FIA’s offical website and available as a downloadable PDF, clearly states that teams may submit detailed proposals, which can then be discussed and possibly turned into rules that will enable many of the FIA’s objectives while giving the team’s some lee-way on how it is done.

Here’s the majority of the letter…

Formula One is becoming unsustainable. The major manufacturers are currently employing up to 1000 people to put two cars on the grid. This is clearly unacceptable at a time when all these companies are facing difficult market conditions.

Also, with attention on energy problems world-wide, Formula One cannot afford to be profligate in its use of fuel. Indeed, without the KERS initiative, some major sponsors might already have left.

The FIA is therefore inviting the teams to make proposals

  • to reduce current levels of expenditure. New rules must ensure that the costs of the manufacturer teams come down by at least 50% and that the independent teams become financially viable. Both must be done without affecting the spectacle in any


  • to extract more useful energy from less fuel. The target should be a (very challenging) 50% reduction from today’s levels of fuel consumption by 2015, while maintaining current speeds. The rules should encourage manufacturer teams to research technologies which are road-relevant rather than Formula One-specific;
  • to improve the racing, including rules to ensure that cars remain aerodynamically efficient when in close proximity to one another.

The matter is now urgent. We need proposals which we can turn into detailed rules. These must be ready within three months and have the support of at least a majority of the teams, failing which the FIA will itself prepare new rules for 2011.

Mosley has detailed his proposals further by asking the teams to devise ways to achieve the following:

Cost Reductions

Mosley suggested budget caps, and has left it up to the teams to decide among themselves what this should be if chosen. However, he has stated that this must allow “a back-of-the-grid independent team to operate profitably”. Also, the manufacturers could offer independant teams the use of their drive-trains (and associated energy-saving technology) and Mosley hinted at a price of around €2m per year. Mosley went on to say that shared technology would be welcomed if it helped, but the “reduce[d] costs must not affect the spectacle in any way”.

Fuel Efficiency

Mosley wants a “20% reduction in fuel consumption for 2011 progressing to 50% in 2015, while keeping lap times and top speeds at current levels.” Mosley has suggested that limiting fuel flow and the total amount used during races would be a good way to control this, and has also asked the teams to develop more energy-efficient technologies for use in the sport and in the general motoring industry.

Improved Racing

Mosley’s final point is, to be frank, quite funny. In his letter he gets into quite specific things, especially regarding the KERS device. However, when it comes to improving the racing, he leaves it at just one paragraph. In essence, his text states that he wants the cars to run in close proximity to one another to better enable overtaking. Mosley offers no suggestions on this, and again opens his letter up for invitations on how this could be achieved.

So, either Mosley is stuck for ideas or he has hired a very clever PR company and is in the process of rebranding himself. Either way, the rules do require attention for beyond 2009 and despite Max trying to make himself appear more open, he is still being very specific about a number of things, KERS for example. Perhaps he’s just asserting his authority over the sport, albeit in a more friendly manner.

Anyway, as Max is being open to ideas from the teams, why not the fans?

Have Your Say…

Readers of BlogF1, get your thinking caps on and add your suggestions for the 2011 rules here, be they new rules, updates to existing rules or way in which Max can achieve his dream of a lean, green Formula One machine. Or something entirely different. As ever, comments are open…


  • I can’t stand Max. That said, this is genius. He can’t lose.

    If the teams come back with great ideas, he can take the credit for ‘forcing’ the teams to improve the sport and deal with its challenges. He could even spin it that they did not want to but he made them deal with reality. What a hero.

    If the teams do not respond, Herr Max can come back with his own rules and enforce them with impunity. He can point to how he tried to work with the teams, but the teams were clearly unable to bring value to the discussion.

    Either way, he looks great.

    Oliver, I bet you are right – he got himself a great PR agency.

  • Yeah, ‘genius’ may be too generous for Max, but it was a very clever move and I think time will support my read on it.

    Thanks for such a great blog. I have been enjoying your series on British winners at Silverstone and have learned a lot. I’ve only been following F1 this year and last.

  • To reduce costs, income must be reduced. The chances of the teams doing so deliberately are low (though the economy may do that for them) and the FIA seems intent on increasing costs with such things as the increased entry fee. It doesn’t control income directly either, so there’s a limit as to how much it will ever be able to do. All it can do is make it so that it’s possible to be competitive with a fraction of the budget – which means opening up multiple development paths. Something that goes completely against everything Max Mosley has stood for all these years.

    If the fuel permitted is reduced by 50% in 2011, then the amount used will go down by 50%. That’s apparently too simple for the FIA to understand.

    As for the improved racing, the aero rules are largely to blame, but further restriction will make things worse instead of better.

    This is simply a ploy to pretend democracy before the FIA makes up another counterproductive set of regulations.

  • Making the sport even more technically advanced by strange goals such as reduced fuel reduction (which makes no measurable inpact on the global scale) with maintained performance, is a sure way to make it more expensive. How to maintain downforce without affecting the air behind the car is hard to fathom. Perhaps Max isn’t too well versed in the laws of physics?

    Max is just a dictator who wants others to do the hard work while he takes the credit for forcing them. Reality constraints doesn’t bother him personally.

  • Why does F1 need to be fuel efficient? It’s a sport. It has no real connection to daily drivers, why pretend? The only way to return to wheel to wheel racing is to drasticly reduce downforce. Watch a Rolex Grand American GT race. The front downforce on these cars is on the order of 75 to 100 pounds, which effectively limits the rear as well. They can’t pass at will, but they do considerably more passing than F1. BUT, they are slower and that is why F1 is unlikely to severely reduce aero, the cars would be slower.

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