Flavio Briatore could be central to F1’s future.
The Italian, who was ousted and banned from the sport amid the ‘crashgate’ scandal a few years ago, was back in the paddock in Monaco on Friday.
He admitted he has been working on new regulations, with speculation suggesting they will be an alternative should F1’s commercial rights holders split with the governing FIA.
“At the moment F1 is a hobby but I speak regularly with Bernie; there are even days when we speak two or three times,” Briatore is quoted by the Spanish newspaper AS.
“I have proposed new regulations that would be good for all the teams, to increase the spectacle and, above all, reduce the costs.”
He said success would be possible on a team budget of “(EUR) 100 million” per year.
“That’s a hell of a lot of money,” Briatore told Auto Motor und Sport.
On Monday, a high-powered meeting will take place in Monaco.
Present will be FIA president Jean Todt, Ecclestone and the teams, according to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport.
The report said “most teams want the FIA to continue to write and control the rules”.
“F1 needs a third perspective,” Mercedes’ Ross Brawn said.
Commented Red Bull’s Christian Horner: “I see the potential for conflict.
“Bernie is worried about the show. The sound of the engines is a big part of it.”
Part of the engine dispute is already in the public domain, with the FIA and the manufacturers pushing for the new turbo V6 to debut in 2014, and many of the small teams wanting a delay.
Ecclestone is also on the other side of another debate, as he would reportedly like to see established constructors Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus and Williams supply customer cars to their smaller rivals.
It is a high stakes situation, with Briatore’s ‘GP1’ idea potentially giving Ecclestone more control but probably losing the crucial names ‘formula one’ and ‘world championship’.
That would have value implications for the planned Singapore floatation.
“It would not be desirable if the FIA is no longer there,” said Peter Sauber. “The big teams would just do what they want.”
Force India’s Otmar Szafnauer added: “It would be bad for our credibility if we didn’t have an independent regulator.”
Horner disagrees: “You could write your rules by committee with everyone involved and show them to the FIA to make sure they work, just like GP2.”