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FIA Formula One proposals at a glance

The International Automobile Federation's (FIA) Formula One commission is meeting to discuss nine proposals which could bring major changes to the sport.

Here are the main nine proposals, some designed to spice up the sport and others to cut costs.

1. Driver Swaps

  • Drivers would no longer be contracted to individual teams but would be picked instead by the FIA.
  • Each would drive for a different team in each of the first 10 races of the world championship, with teams to be decided by lot.
  • After 10 races, the drivers could choose -- with the championship leader having first pick -- which seven teams they finished the season with.
  • Drivers would be paid out of a central fund.

FIA president Max Mosley says this is his favourite idea but nobody seriously believes it will happen. "The best driver and the best team would emerge and there would really be no doubt at the end of the season who was the best driver and which was the best team," Mosley said.

2. Qualifying

  • Qualifying to be aggregated over four half-hour sessions, two on Friday and two on Saturday, instead of one hour on Saturday as at present.

The measure would give more meaning to a Friday currently devoted purely to free practice.

3. Tyres

  • Tyre companies, currently Bridgestone and Michelin, to be allowed to supply different compounds to each team - allowing them to have tailor-made tyres to fit their individual needs rather than one kind fitting all.

Champions Ferrari are seen as having benefited from a particularly close relationship with Bridgestone, with their tyres and chassis designed in conjunction.

4. Ballast Handicaps

  • Bernie Ecclestone's suggestion - one kilogram to be added to a driver's car for every point won after he has reached twenty points.

This proposal would be an alternative to driver swaps, since the two could not go together. "Whichever is the best team would actually win the championship with the kilo a point," says Mosley. "It's just that it will take them longer and it will be more difficult and they will win at the end of the season rather than at the beginning. It will be much, much more exciting."

5. Testing Limits

  • No testing on any circuit where a Formula One championship event is held.
  • No more than 12 days of private testing allowed during the season.

Has the potential for huge cost savings as well as levelling the field at a time when smaller teams are struggling to survive. "The fundamental point is that you should have minimum testing and you should not have a separate test team," says Mosley. "A separate test team is an absurd expense."

6. Engines

  • The FIA already plans to limit teams to a single engine per car per weekend from 2004. This could be brought forward to 2003, with one engine to last four races in 2004.

"At first sight you think this is completely mad but if you think about Le Mans, you can't win it if you can't do 5,000 km (with one racing engine)," says Mosley. "All that would happen is that the engines would run slightly slower and they would be slightly less powerful. We all agree we want to reduce the power of the engines anyway. So we make the engines last longer. An engine that does 6,000 km costs exactly the same as an engine that does 600."

Engine makers say it is already too late to introduce such a significant change for next season.

7. Long-life Components

  • Gearbox assemblies and key components to last a specified number of races.

"A gearbox nowadays is built like a Swiss watch," says Mosley. "It lasts for one race or a bit more and is replaced. There is no need to do that. A gearbox could last for half a season if it was bigger and heavier and stronger."

8. Bodywork

  • Two alternative sets of bodywork to be approved by each team before the start of the season. They can then be changed once during the season, after the halfway point.

"The teams find a small advantage in the wind tunnel so they make a completely new engine cover for two hundredths of a second. It costs a fortune," says Mosley.

9. Standardised Parts

  • Standard electronic systems to be used, particularly engine control units, brakes and fixed ballast.

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