Formula 1 chiefs will decide on the name changes for the Lotus, Renault and Virgin teams in Geneva today at a lengthy meeting that will also rule on the 2012 calendar and the shape of future technical collaboration between teams.
With the get-together of the Formula 1 Commission having originally been called to decide on the name change situation, the agenda has grown in recent weeks to encompass a number of issues that teams and stakeholders are interested in.
The key vote will be on allowing the three name changes for 2012, with Team Lotus wanting to become Caterham, Lotus Renault GP switching to Lotus and Marussia Virgin Racing becoming Marussia. For the changes to go ahead, they will need the support of 18 members of the 26-strong F1 Commission, which includes team principals, Bernie Ecclestone, FIA president Jean Todt, and representatives of sponsors, engine manufacturers, circuit promoters and tire supplier Pirelli.
Another of the main discussion points at the meeting is the future of technical collaboration between teams, such as that enjoyed between McLaren and the Force India and Virgin teams. Their collaboration has led to fears that they could be stretching the limits of the Concorde Agreement, which demands that each team designs and manufactures its own car.
"There is a very clear definition of what a constructor is, and to compete in F1 you have to be a constructor according to the schedule in the Concorde Agreement, " explained Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn. "You must own the IP and own the design of the car. Fundamentally, you must design all of it apart from the engine and transmission, which is free.
"Everything else must be done with the team, so you cannot sell a wing design or a suspension design to another team. It is all very clear in the Concorde Agreement and I think the teams do comply with that – but obviously there are a few gray areas to any agreement."
The discussion about technical collaboration will also likely include talks about the possibility of third cars in F1 – a subject that divides opinion in the paddock. Brawn believes it good that the matter be put into the open, but thinks such a move would be detrimental to the sport.
"I think it is sensible to explore solutions for the future, but I am not convinced that is the best solution because that starts to bring in a lot of other factors," he said. "It sounds simple – make a third car and sell it to another team – but if that team can run a season with a very competitive car for a lot less cost than a manufacturer, you are going to start losing manufacturers, because it doesn't make sense for teams to make their own car. And we don't want that.
"In F1, it is important we have the constructors and different manufacturers involved. It has been one of the most distinctive things about F1 for many years. I think we need to explore these ideas, but I would be very cautious about the concept of selling cars.
"If the most competitive car is sold to a number of teams and they flood the grid with that car, then it is damaging for the rest of the teams. We need to be very, very careful about the solutions we find in the future."
The F1 Commission will also discuss the status of the 2012 Bahrain and Korean Grands Prix, as well as debate the idea of allowing extra sets of tires to be allocated in Q3. There will also be votes on ratifying technical regulation changes put forward by the Technical Working Group, plus discussion about improving the promotion of F1 events in the future.