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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2009

Auto racing: FOTA wants 'independent' successor to Mosley

Associated Press Writer

BOLOGNA, Italy The Formula One Teams Association called for a neutral successor to FIA president Max Mosley after months of discord and promised Thursday to make additional savings after reaching an accord with the sport's ruling body.

The often divisive and scandal-plagued Mosley has led FIA since 1993. While FOTA will play no part in choosing his successor, its vice president John Howett called on the World Motorsport Council to elect a candidate acceptable to all.

"We would like to see someone independent, perhaps independent from any of us, either currently or historically," Howett said. "It would mean a much better balance."

FOTA's members are Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said additional cost cuts would be implemented.

"Already the savings have resulted in 15-25 percent saved and we will see further savings in the next few seasons," Horner said.

A break up was prevented Wednesday when Mosley agreed with FOTA to scrap a planned budget cap and step down at the end of his term. Mosley backed down on the voluntary $65 million budget cap, suggesting a cost reduction to the level of the early 1990s.

FOTA had already implemented a series of cost-cutting measures this season amid the global economic downturn, restricting on-track testing and the use of wind tunnels for aerodynamic testing.

Renault boss Flavio Briatore also hinted that FOTA would push for a return to some of Formula One's more traditional tracks, that have been dropped in recent years as the FIA looked for more lucrative venues.

"Even if the likes of Turkey are paying more money, we would rather have stadia that are full," Briatore said. "It is better for the spirit of the sport. We want stands full of fans. There is no point spending all that money on an empty cathedral."

Earlier this month, empty stands were an unwanted backdrop at the Istanbul Park Circuit, with only 36,000 tickets sold for the three-day event and a number of drivers complained of a lack of atmosphere and proposed letting in fans for free.

Large sections of empty seats have become normal at F1 tracks in China, Bahrain and Malaysia as F1's commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has branched out to find countries ready to agree to lucrative contracts.

The Canadian and French GP were dropped this season after organizers failed to meet Ecclestone's financial demands.