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Tue 9 Dec 2008 04:40 PM

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Sulayem: F1 must cut back to survive cash crisis

UAE motorsport chief to support call for sport to streamline at FIA meeting in Monaco.

UAE motorsport chief Mohammed Ben Sulayem is backing calls for serious cost cutting by Formula One teams to ensure that the sport survives the global economic crisis.

Sulayem, who is also the new vice president of the FIA which runs F1, will voice his support for president Max Mosley's proposals to streamline the sport, which has been rocked by Honda's decision to pull out,  

He will voice his views when he attends his first meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council, the most powerful body in world motor sport, in Monaco on Friday.

"I'm fully behind Max on this," said Sulayem, who became the first Arab ever to gain a place on the council last month.

"There was going to be a problem in Formula One even before the current financial crisis came along," he said.

"The costs have been escalating out of control for some time. The economic problems the world is facing have brought everything into focus, and Honda's decision to withdraw from F1 is a big warning."

Sulayem, president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE, added: "There are a lot of things that can be done to save money, and if the teams really want to do it they can. For instance, wheel nuts alone cost a Formula One team $1.2 million a year, and that's just ridiculous.

"This is making the sport too expensive, and if action isn't taken now we could end up with only three or four teams. That just wouldn't be a championship."

Mosley has warned that current costs in Formula One are "unsustainable."  

F1 team owners splashed out a combined $1.6 billion in 2008 following the arrival of Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya's Force India team.

That was up from $1.47 billion in 2007, according to a report from industry monitor Formula Money.

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