Guest Author - Christine Blachford
The FIA World Council met at their headquarters in Paris recently, and discussed some important matters regarding F1, how it is run, and what we should expect next year. Here is a breakdown of some of the more important details to come out of that meeting.
Provisional 2009 Calendar
The calendar was released for next year, still subject to change, and it's caused a bit of a stir. The entire season has moved back, starting at the very end of March and running right through November. The last race on the calendar is the only new circuit featured - Abu Dhabi. Turkey has returned to its later slot in the year, after this season's race caused all manner of problems as the weather was not anticipated. Personally, I thought that was a good thing, as it mixed up the race, but obviously the FIA do not agree. Finally, after all the rumblings from Bernie Ecclestone, France, Britain and Australia all survive this first round of negotiations. Disappointingly, there is still no US GP.
Tyre Warmers Ban
The FIA have decided to scrap the banning of tyre warmers, for next year at least. The potential ban was to come in and coincide with the reintroduction of slick tyres, but teams and drivers were concerned about safety issues. The FIA decided it would be best to push back the ban until more was known. Bridgestone have said the only safety issue is that the teams weren't listening regarding their optimised tyre pressure advice, and are now annoyed that they've had to change the compounds of the tyres to adapt to the tyre warmers once again.
The team entry fees looked set for a price hike up until recently, but the World Council have opted to keep the rise in line with inflation rather than bump up as proposed. The idea was to include things that the FIA pay for, such as weather information, and digital flags. It looks like this all ties in with the Concorde Agreement as well, so I'm sure this isn't the last we'll hear on the matter.
F2 was a feeder series for F1 a long time ago, and was scrapped. Now, the FIA want to bring back the name and make a new series to promote young drivers. They want it to be seriously budgeted though, and the low price of the cars is making a lot of teams think it isn't going to either be viable or worth looking at. It's not entirely clear if this is to replace GP2 or sit alongside it, and at the moment details are scarce. As before, I'm sure there's more to come on this, as well.
Those are the main points covered. We may return and look at any that crop up again in the future, perhaps in more detail.