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F1 teams brake hard on costs
Formula One's financially stricken teams yesterday announced a 50 per cent cut in operating budgets for the 2010 season and measures to reduce costs, boost revenue and improve the spectacle of the sport.

Offering a collective response to the crisis engulfing motorsport, the newly established Formula One Teams' Association went further than the savings they announced in December for this season, as they seek to stabilise their finances in the short and medium terms.

"We are looking at this crisis with a positive attitude," said Luca di Montezemolo, Fota chairman and the Ferrari president.

"It is a huge opportunity to improve F1 in terms of cost and competition. We want to preserve the DNA of the sport, we want a stable F1, a positive F1, so international brands can be present and we want to increase the audience."

The teams also sought to provide certainty to F1 by saying its manufacturers were committed to the sport until at least 2012.

The teams have also agreed to sign the Concord Agreement, the tripartite deal that binds them to Formula One Management, the company led by F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, which regulates the sport. The agreement lasts until 2012.

It was also confirmed that the Honda team, which faced oblivion after its Japanese parent company withdrew from F1 in December, has been saved by a management buy-out, to be announced imminently, and will race this season.

The teams, several of which have seen sponsors end their relationships in the past 12 months, have agreed to cut their use of wind tunnels by 50 per cent, to further reduce testing and to limit the amount of updates they make to cars during the season.

The manufacturers have also agreed to supply engines and gearboxes to independent teams in 2010 for under £5m. They also called for the new hybrid power systems, known as KERS, to be standardised from 2010. Some teams have spent as much as £70m on developing KERS.

Together, the measures mean the cost of running a F1 team will range from £50m-£150m from next season. Teams such as McLaren were operating on a budget of £200m last season.

The teams also want races to be shortened from 200 miles to 150 miles, and for the winning driver to be better rewarded in the points table, with 12 points for a win, nine for second place, seven for third and points down to eighth place. The proposals go before the FIA on March 17.

Under that system Felipe Massa, rather than Lewis Hamilton, would have won last year's championship.

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