The World Motor Sport Council of the FIA, the international racing authority that governs Formula One, among other series, has rolled out a series of restrictions on the development of F1 cars starting with the coming 2008 season.
The restrictions include a complete freeze on engine development for the next ten years. In a speech delivered last week in Monaco at the Motor Sport Business Forum, FIA President Max Mosley (pictured at right) justified the decision by pointing out that the engines developed by F1's six engine suppliers – Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Toyota and Renault – are already evenly matched and incredibly advanced: "There is no need to develop an F1 engine any further." (Heck, let's go back to foot-powered Flinstones-mobiles then.)
The far-reaching restrictions also covered the use of wind-tunnels for the first time in the formula. The new regulations state that each team can only use one wind-tunnel, can only operate it for 15 runs per 8-hour day, no more than five days per week. Further limitations were set on how the wind-tunnel may be used, and to prevent teams from simply switching their personnel over to even more expensive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulators, the FIA intends to put a cap on that, too.
Ross Brawn, former technical director at Ferrari and new team principal at Honda, recently pointed out that restrictions like these don't achieve their intended goal of reducing costs, they just force teams to find newer, more expensive ways to gain a performance edge. We'd have to agree with Brawn: you can't contain a competitive spirit, and F1's chock-full of 'em.