'We could have saved BMW team'

LONDON - BMW's exit from Formula One could have been avoided had some team bosses been less resistant to cost-cutting regulations, Formula One's governing body said.

LONDON - BMW's exit from Formula One could have been avoided had some team bosses been less resistant to cost-cutting regulations, Formula One's governing body said.

In a statement yesterday, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) expressed regret but no surprise at the Munich-based car-maker's decision to pull out at the end of the year as a team and engine supplier.

"Motorsport cannot ignore the world economic crisis," the FIA said. "Car manufacturers cannot be expected to continue to pour large sums of money into Formula One when their survival depends on redundancies, plant closures and the support of the taxpayer.

"This is why the FIA prepared regulations to reduce costs drastically... Had these regulations not been so strongly opposed by a number of team principals, the withdrawal of BMW might have been avoided."

The Formula One Teams Association, which groups all the sport's five current manufacturers, including BMW, said they were prepared to help their former rivals survive. - Reuters

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