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Renault chief threatens to pull out

F1 RULE CHANGES

London: The proposed rule changes to Formula One could lead to Renault quitting the sport, its chief claimed on Monday.

Patrick Faure said Renault may not be alone in leaving the circuit. Several other teams are furious at the FIA for proposing a rule which forces teams to run engines for at least six races before discarding them.

Max Mosley, FIA president, flagged it as one of his body’s main proposals to help poorer teams after Prost and Arrows fell by the wayside in the past year but Faure said it was totally unacceptable.

“The plan is the end of Formula One,” Faure was quoted by the BBC as saying in the Swiss city of Lucerne as the team revealed its new car for the forthcoming season. “We will not stay in the championship with these kind of rules, clearly, none of us.”

Although Faure said most of the other changes — such as banning radio communication between team and driver and automatic launch control — were acceptable but would need further discussing, he took exception to the manner in which Mosley had announced them.

“There is still some need for discussion and refinement. The only thing totally unacceptable for us is the engine for six races. The rest we can discuss.

“But the way things have been announced is slightly aggressive and I do not think it is a way to behave,” he added.

Faure was echoing comments made by GPWC Holdings, the company that has proposed a rival championship involving his team Renault, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Fiat and BMW.

The new regulations were due for approval by F1’s technical working group last Friday but it failed to come to a conclusion and will meet again on Tuesday.

Mosley said the engine ruling would be gradually eased in. “We will allow one engine per weekend in 2004, one per two weekends in 2005. By 2006 it will go up to six weekends which will reduce the costs of the engine dramatically.”

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