Originally created 04/24/04

Formula One eyes possible rule changes



IMOLA, Italy -- Formula One wants to reduce the cost of operating a team.

That goal is part of the proposed rule changes outlined by International Automobile Federation president Max Mosley in a letter to six team leaders.

He would also like to improve the spectacle of racing, minimize electronic driver aids, encourage a full grid of 24 cars and urge new teams to enter Formula One.

Only 20 cars are now competing. The Arrows and Prost teams folded in recent seasons, leaving empty spaces at the back of the grid.

The proposals were released Friday and will be discussed by the governing body May 4 in Monaco. Official proposals must be submitted by June 30. Any rule changes that might come from these proposals would not take effect until 2008.

Formula One leader Ferrari is said to operate with a budget of $450 million, while the struggling Minardi team operates with about $35 million. Auto giant Toyota became the last new team to enter Formula One in 2002 - at $50 million.

Technical changes proposed in Mosley's letter included: reducing engine size from 10 to eight cylinders, requiring engines to last for two races and mandating manual gearboxes, clutches and steering. Spare cars could also be banned in a cost-cutting move.

Ferrari's dominance in recent seasons caused FIA to institute changes for last season, which resulted in the closest of Michael Schumacher's six titles. He won by two points ahead of McLaren-Mercedes' Kimi Raikkonen.

This season, Schumacher has won the first three races, earning all 30 points. Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello is second with 21 entering this weekend's San Marino GP in Imola.