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F1 engine freeze in 2007

Published: 10:09AM Tuesday August 08, 2006 Source: Reuters

A planned freeze on engine development in Formula One from 2008 will be brought forward to next year after an agreement with manufacturers, the governing body said on Tuesday.

"The FIA (International Automobile Federation) and GPMA (Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association) are now in full agreement about the future of the FIA Formula One World Championship," it said in a statement.

However the GPMA, which groups Renault, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Honda and Toyota, suggested the announcement was premature despite clear progress.

The FIA said its president Max Mosley and BMW board member Burkhard Goeschel, representing the GPMA, had met and agreed to bring the freeze forward.

"Engines will be stabilised from the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix," the statement said. "These will be the only engines used from and including the 2007 season."

The Oct. 1 date represents a relaxation of the FIA's previous position that the engines to be used in 2008 would revert to the state of development on June 1 this year.

"No further developments of the engines will be allowed other than retuning for the 19,000 rpm limit, to be agreed in each case with the FIA under the terms of the 2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations," said the statement.

"From 2009 the Formula One Technical Regulations will include means to promote fuel efficiency including energy recovery and re-use. All relevant regulations for 2009 will be published no later than December 31, 2006."

A GPMA spokesman agreed that the talks were moving in the right direction but said the manufacturers were still discussing in more detail the points emerging from Monday's meeting.

"The GPMA will make an announcement following that discussion," he said.

The FIA said the manufacturers' group had also set up a working group to look at possible future rules for the sport that would allow teams to gain a performance advantage through energy efficiency.

"These future regulations may include changes to current power units," it added. "The FIA and other engine suppliers will join this group."

The governing body can impose a freeze from 2008, the first year after the expiry of the existing commercial agreement governing the sport, but had wanted to bring it forward to avoid "pointless and wasteful development work" for just one year.

The FIA argues that freezing engine development will cut costs, help reduce speeds and level the playing field between independent teams and the big-budget manufacturers.

The manufacturers had wanted to maintain the technological appeal of the sport with continuing development.

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