The FIA has made clear to teams that it has no intention of introducing a single fuel supplier for Formula 1.
In a statement issued after the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council meeting in Croatia last Friday, motor racing’s governing body announced that a new bidding process was being introduced in F1 for tires and fuel. While the tire issue is no surprise, with Pirelli set to continue, teams were uneasy about the idea of there being just a single fuel supplier.
As well as the technical implications of teams and manufacturers being forced to work with standard specification fuel, oil companies also deliver significant commercial revenue to their partner teams because of the promotional benefits of being involved in F1. With a number of teams unhappy at the prospect of losing fuel partners, sources have revealed that the FIA has now clarified that the statement made after the WMSC hearing was a mistake.
Instead of setting out on a path for there to be a fuel supplier bid process, the FIA’s secretary general Pierre de Connick has written to teams emphasizing that the governing body is not pursuing that route. Instead, the FIA statement was intended to make it explicit that any future tender processes in F1 will always be handled by the governing body first rather than it reacting after commercial deals have been put in place.
Pirelli’s next F1 contract has been surrounded in controversy because the Italian tire company agreed a long-term commercial deal with Bernie Ecclestone, as well as contracts with the teams, before it finalized matters with the FIA.