The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) will take a considered approach to trying to bring improvements to the sport, rather than rushing to make sweeping changes that may not work. That is the view of FOTA's new chairman Martin Whitmarsh, who claims that the teams' organization wants to take its time to bring about rule changes to make the spectacle better.
"FOTA has put a lot of effort into reducing costs in Formula 1, and that will increase the likelihood of teams surviving and hopefully thriving. We've had a number of interesting initiatives, but there is no magic wand," said Whitmarsh. "FOTA will continue to develop ideas and changes, but we mustn't tear the sport inside out overnight. We're conscious of the need to cultivate the sport's reputation while also enhancing the spectacle. FOTA needs to continue working with the FIA, CVC and FOM to achieve that, and that's a continuous process.
"We have a range of ideas, so has Bernie [Ecclestone], so we have to work together, rather than have FOTA say what it's going to do. We want to continue doing our bit and to contribute in the best possible way to improve our sport."
Whitmarsh said that FOTA would soon conduct a fans' survey to try and gain a better understanding of what those who follow the sport want to see happen.
"We've commissioned what is, in my view, the only broad-based fan survey that will take into account the opinions of those who aren't hardcore Formula 1 fans," he said. "It's those fans with a mild or passing interest in Formula 1 that we need to concentrate on, because we can convert them into more avid fans.
"The survey we conducted last year enabled us to learn some very useful and interesting things, we are now looking at canvassing an even broader range of opinion-holders in order to bring in a far more detailed series of responses. It's an ongoing project, and we still have more work to do before releasing any findings."
Whitmarsh also said that FOTA would probably look at the possibility of holding a common car launch again in 2011, even though plans for one this year had to be abandoned.
"We haven't yet discussed it for 2011," he said. "It was initially recognized that two or three of the teams would not have their cars available for the event, but it was agreed that they'd have old cars or show cars featuring the 2010 livery, which seemed to be an acceptable compromise. But as the event got closer, it became apparent that there would only be three teams in a position to display their new car. And it was felt that there would be disappointment if we couldn't display a suitable number of 2010 cars.
"For the season ahead, we have new regulations, and it would have been extremely tight for some of the smaller teams to have met the common launch deadlines. As a result, it became understandable that we had to pull away from it. We still think it's a good idea; it's now a question of whether we can coordinate the availability of sufficient new cars to make a joint launch an interesting spectacle for next year."