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Document sent to MINARDI by the FIA
Thank you for your letter of 19 January and for the time and effort which you have clearly given to its preparation.
Notwithstanding the length of your letter, there are certain fundamental points which I feel you have overlooked. These are briefly mentioned below but, because of time constraints, I will not attempt to deal with a number of other points in your letter with which I disagree.
1. The suggestion that engine capacity should be reduced to 2.4 litres in order to control performance (speed) came from a unanimous Technical Working Group. They made the point repeatedly over a period of more than two years. Please refer to the minutes of their meetings starting with 1 February 2002.
2. You should not confuse Article 8.8 of the Concorde Agreement, which allows changes on grounds of safety, with Article 7.5, which sets out a procedure for requiring the TWG to make proposals to slow the cars and only gives the FIA power to act should the TWG fail to respond.
3. You appear to be unaware of Article 6.1, for example, when you claim on page 14 that what I said was “blatantly incorrect” or in the passage at the top of page 16,
where you suggest the Formula One Commission cannot be bypassed.
4. Had the Article 7.5 procedure not been at least cost-neutral, it would have been open to attack under Article 7.5(c)(ii). Significant cost savings are a bonus and reinforce
the FIA’s position under Article 7.5.
5. You have omitted to mention that the single-tyre proposal was stopped by a group of teams who, having at first agreed to a single supplier, got together to veto the idea a few weeks later. This is what killed the proposal for 2006 – see below.
6. The resuscitation of the single-tyre proposal at the end of the 2004 season completely ignored the dangers and complexities of European competition law. I note Mr Griffith thinks this is not a problem, but I suspect he is not a competition law specialist and may also be unaware of a major case we had with the Commission on the single-tyre issue. It related to Karting and was very time-consuming and
expensive. In Formula One there was clearly a strong possibility of a challenge and our specialist lawyers needed time to prepare our position before we passed a formal rule and issued an invitation to tender. Any challenge would be to the rule and/or the invitation and it is essential to get both of these right There was time to deal with this for 2006 when I suggested a single supplier in May 2004. By October it was too late.
7. Until it was cancelled, the teams showed no interest in the meeting scheduled for 9 December. Had, as you suggest, the Commission voted on 9 December for a single tyre supplier for 2006, the World Motor Sport Council would undoubtedly have refused and sent the question back to the Commission for the reasons set out under 6 above.
8. Even the best lawyer is only as good as his instructions. On the face of his opinion attached to your letter, Mr Griffith has been supplied with inaccurate facts and asked to pronounce on documents he has not seen.
I hope the list of possible means of reducing costs which I sent you on Thursday will have made it clear that, as far as the FIA is concerned, everything is open for discussion and that we are entirely neutral in our approach to the teams.
Finally, I think you and some of the other teams may be approaching cost saving in the wrong way. Surely the starting point is to cut the running cost per kilometre and reduce the number of people needed to operate the car. Debating how much running (eg testing) to do is secondary. Indeed, if the cost per kilometre and the number of people were low enough, the cost of testing would become irrelevant. We need to look at the entire wood, not just the odd tree.
If you sent copies of your letter to anyone else, perhaps you would be kind enough to send them a copy of this reply.
With best wishes