January 12, 2009 / 3:05 PM / 11 years ago

Ferrari will take time to decide on cutbacks

MUGELLO, Italy (Reuters) - Formula One champions Ferrari will see how the first few races of the season pan out before making any decisions about shedding staff due to the global economic crisis, team officials said on Monday.

“The rules have changed only recently so before taking decisions too quickly, like reducing the number of staff, we need to pay close attention to our working methods and then not take too radical decisions,” technical director Aldo Costa told reporters at the launch of their 2009 car.

“We need to evolve and develop the team strategy. We are weighing and thinking about the new regulations and we will certainly adapt.”

Formula One teams and the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) have agreed a package of measures, including a ban on testing during the season and affordable engines for independent teams, to slash outgoings from this season.

Engines will have to last for three races and there will be restrictions on the use of costly wind tunnels and the number of team personnel attending races.

Costa said the difficulty of building the new car while battling for both titles until the last race of 2008, as well as the significant number of new rules governing the designs this year, had meant it was all hands on deck in any case.

Ferrari are the sport’s glamour team, the only ones to have competed in every championship since 1950 and the most successful.

Their achievements have also earned them a special status, with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone saying last month that Ferrari received some $80 million (53.8 million pounds) more than their rivals from the commercial revenues.

One job which looks likely to be eliminated this season is that of the ‘lollipop man’ who signals to drivers when they can leave the pits.

Ferrari used an electronic lights system last season but reverted to the traditional ‘lollipop’ after championship runner-up Felipe Massa was released with the fuel hose still attached at the Singapore Grand Prix.

They are working on bringing back the lights system this year but team boss Stefano Domenicali recognised human error was a part of racing.

“One of the points we have discussed is when and how to decrease the number of people at races. It is clear the aim must be to do it in a way where it doesn’t affect us from a technical point of the view,” he said.

“We’ve tried to improve procedures...but it’s clear we have to deal with human error. It remains a characteristic of the team and of the drivers. Human error is impossible to eradicate and it is always part of being number one.”

Editing by Alan Baldwin

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