FIA "surprised" by ACEA's calls
The FIA has expressed its "surprise" at last week's statement issued by the European car manufacturers' association ACEA claiming that Formula 1 needs a change of governance.
Following a meeting of the ACEA last week, a statement was issued claiming that the organization was unhappy about the state of F1 – and that the way the sport was run now could not continue.
That statement has elicited a response from the FIA, which issued a statement on Monday saying it did not understand why the car makers were against plans to reduce costs in F1.
"The FIA is surprised that the European car manufacturers' association ACEA should have rejected the FIA's endeavours to reduce costs in Formula 1," said the statement. "By contrast, the FIA strongly endorses ACEA's call for urgent measures to return the automotive sector to health.
"According to ACEA, 'The European passenger car and commercial vehicle manufacturers are hit extremely hard by the financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn...Vehicle sales have dropped sharply and all automotive manufacturers and suppliers have scaled back production as a consequence.' ACEA describes the crisis facing its members as "devastating."
"Accordingly, the FIA's objective is to enable manufacturers in Formula 1 to participate as economically as possible, while maintaining the sporting, technical and marketing benefits that the sport offers.
"By reducing their costs of competition in Formula 1, ACEA's members will be able to apply the much-needed savings to their core business, to finance payroll, working capital, capital investments, marketing programs and dealer support. This will also reduce the industry's need to seek funding from taxpayers or shareholders.
"The potential savings are not immaterial: reducing the costs of the five manufacturers from the €400 million to €500 million recently reported by Ferrari to even a level of €200 million would release €1 billion to €1.5 billion a year back into the core businesses. Although a team like Ferrari could still spend as much as €200 million despite the FIA's cost reduction program, others will be able to compete successfully for as little as one third of this figure."
The FIA added that it would be happy to meet representatives of ACEA to discuss the situation.
It also pointed out that German car manufacturer Porsche has also moved to distance itself from the ACEA's stance about F1 – prompting speculation that the German car maker could be looking at an involvement in grand prix racing under planned cost cap regulations.
"The FIA understands that Porsche did not support ACEA's Formula One resolution and has instructed the ACEA secretariat to make this clear in response to any press enquiries," added the FIA statement.