Things aren’t going so well in the boardroom as the FIA and FOTA meet to discuss the possibility of introducing a budget cap over the 2010 season, with some of the major teams threatening to withdraw if the regulations were brought into place. With Ferrari and Toyota leading the withdrawal battle, others have jumped into the fray as the organizing committee of the world’s premier motorsport event and the team’s association, meet for talks in London. >
The meeting began with the Toyota F1 team boss, John Howett, demanding a walkout when the budget cap subject was brought up by the FIA. However, he received no support from other teams leading to FIA President Max Mosley labeling the move as “Childish”, and pointing out that Howett was the man to blame for it.
Mosley went on to confirm that the FIA had indeed dropped the idea of having two levels of Formula One, saying, “I think we all agree now that its desirable that all the teams race under the same regulations. I think there’s no difficulty about that.” This statement came as a confirmation to reports earlier that Bernie Ecclestone had already denied the formation of a second tier.
Mosley also went on to suggest that Formula One will not die out if there is no Ferrari in 2010. Upon hearing that Ferrari had taken legal action against the move, Ecclestone had tried to diffuse the situation however, there was no holding Mosley back as he reiterated the statement. “The idea that they are indispensible is nonsense. It’s a little bit like poor Senna. He was the most important driver in 1994 but when he very sadly got killed, Formula One went on. Lotus were very important once. So were Brabham.”
Mosley went on to demean the Ferrari organization by pointing out that team boss Stefano Domenicali only knew about the injunction filed by his team when he received a text message during the meeting. “I thought that was quite original”, said Mosley. “To send a Team Principal in without informing him of his team’s intentions. I think he was slightly embarrassed.” >
Ecclestone reacted differently, although along the same lines, to the Ferrari move by saying, “Its good, it keeps it in the bloody newspaper. They should have done it before – Idiots”. These comments may not go down well with the Ferrari management who might not take his words as lightly as the 78-year old may have said it.
Jody Scheckter, a former Formula One World Champion with Ferrari has also been influenced by this latest move by the FIA and has been considering handing back the title to the FIA in lieu of the ongoing “politically-motivated” regulation changes. “The politics have crept into Formula One and the way it is handled today is very, very disappointing”, said the South African.
“There have been stages when I have thought ‘I am going to give back my World Championship’ because I have felt so strongly about it. Some of the regulations and some of the decisions that have been made by the FIA in the last years I think have been terrible. I think that the sport is going through a dictatorship that is going wrong, as most dictatorships go wrong sooner or later.”
On the legal front, Mosley believes that Ferrari will lose their court action against the regulation changes in 2010. A breakaway threat had occurred three years ago with Ferrari again leading the way however the situation was resolved then with a private meeting between Ecclestone, Mosley and Ferrari. The result – Ferrari were offered more commercial income, stable rules and a special veto power regarding major upheavals in the sport.
“Essentially (Ferrari) walked away by forming FOTA. They were always supposed to be loyal to the FIA, work with us and cooperate.”
However the battle, as it stands, is one where FOTA claims that the FIA has gone wild with the regulations, not cooperating with the teams when establishing the 2010 regulations.
Teams will begin creating their proposals for the new budget cap that they believe, should be introduced instead of the one proposed by the FIA. Due this week, this action might result in many teams missing the 29th May deadline for registration for the 2010 season. Some of the big teams have already claimed that they will be boycotting the deadline unless a more amicable decision is made while no new teams will be signing up without knowing exactly what will be in store for them in 2010. >
Out of the 10 teams in the championships, many are threatening to quit Formula One entirely. There are around 6 – 7 new teams waiting to join the league however there might not be enough space to accommodate them all. This, Mosley stated, is a good reason for the disputing teams to resolve the matter quickly. “If teams don’t enter the F1 World Championship, they are going to have to decide pretty quickly what they do – start their own series, race in some other series or pack it in.”
The teams are scheduled to meet with Mosley in Monaco before the weekend’s scheduled race.
With all this excitement off the tracks, one wonders if anybody even remembers that Brawn GP are having a brilliant rookie year while Jenson Button is having the time of his life.