The Grand Prix Commission met this morning in Geneva to discuss rule changes for the upcoming MotoGP season, and MotoGP.com has a preliminary announcement of what those changes will be:
- An immediate ban on electronic suspension
- An immediate ban on electronic and hydraulic launch control systems
- The scrapping of the Friday morning free practice sessions
- The reduction of the remaining sessions from 60 minutes in length to 45 minutes
- From the Brno weekend, the riders will have only 5 engines to use for the remaining 8 races of the season.
We will report more fully on this once the FIM issues the formal press release announcing the full changes, but already, we can draw a few preliminary conclusions about the effect of these changes:
- The teams will have to spend more time and money developing a replacement for the electronic suspension systems they've been working on
- The ban on electronic launch control systems will be as effective as it is in Formula 1 (where the cars get off the line without any wheelspin, and without stalling, despite launch control being banned). Meanwhile, any teams using hydraulic systems will be forced to spend more money developing an electronic system that won't get picked up at the FIM technical inspection
- Sponsors will be displeased that they are potentially losing 33% of their exposure, due to the loss of 1 hour and 45 minutes of potential TV coverage
- The factories will spend more money to ensure their engines are robust enough to last for the final races. All vacation for the racing departments will be cancelled over the summer, and if an engine breakdown has a major part in the title race, there'll be a lot of squealing.
If these measures are aimed at cutting costs, then at first glance, they look like they may be effective. But at the end of the season, the manufacturers and teams may well find themselves scratching their heads wondering where all the money went. If you ever wanted to see what the law of unintended consequences looked like, you're about to find out.