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2014-05-02 08:37

BIG MEETING: F1 teams held a meeting with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone over a proposed budget cap in 2015. Image: AFP/Wang Zhao

LONDON, England - A meeting in London on Thursday (May 1 2014) eased the threat of a head-on collision between Formula 1's big and small teams.

Together with F1's CEO Bernie Ecclestone and International Automobile Federation president Jean Todt bosses of the 11 teams met at Ecclestone's facility at Biggin Hill airport in London.

The meeting was called after the six most powerful teams - Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus and Williams - vetoed Todt's plans to introduce a mandatory budget cap from 2015.


The remaining teams, F1's smallest and least successful outfits Sauber, Force India, Marussia and Caterham, hit back angrily with a letter to Todt alleging that the vetoing 'Strategy Group' could be a breach of Europe's competition laws.

Indeed, the European Commission subsequently confirmed that it was "monitoring" the situation.

The big teams have responded to the crisis by backing instead a range of cost-cutting proposals to the technical and sporting regulations. International media sources have said the proposals include the extension of paddock curfews, the banning of tyre-warmers and, from 2016 and 2017 measures such as standardised components, International Automobile Frederation-homologated active suspension and 18" tyres.

A German news agency has claimed that, after the May 1 meeting, a "solution" to the divisive issue of urgent cost-cutting "seems more open".

The report said the small teams intend to respond to the rule change proposals "within the next two weeks".


Britain's The Times newspaper agreed that the threat of a European investigation had eased the crisis between the rebelling small teams and their powerful rivals. Correspondent Kevin Eason wrote: "Todt and the teams are said by insiders to have been rattled by the EU interest and were propelled towards finding a rapid solution."

He added that federation president Todt "promised to address serious grievances over costs" and vowed to "revive an investigation into the possibility of a team "'cost cap'".

"Nobody wants to hear that the EU is taking an interest," said a source.  "There is the realisation that we have to level the playing field and get costs under control quickly."

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