Clouds parted Sunday in Monaco as word came that arguing bosses of Formula One have outlined a compromise that will let cost cutting go forth in the most expensive sport staged annually. Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, FIA ...
Clouds parted Sunday in Monaco as word came that arguing bosses of Formula One have outlined a compromise that will let cost cutting go forth in the most expensive sport staged annually.
Team principals represented by Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) have succeeded in holding off imposition of a 40 million pound ($63 million) spending limitation, and sanctioning body the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has saved the sport after two thirds of current competitors made public threats to quit. Meetings were held between events for Sunday's Grand Prix of Monaco.
Although FIA president Max Mosley took a stern public position -- "no compromise" -- on the proposed budget cap, he apparently has backed down so far the term "budget cap" teams found so irritating has been scrapped. In addition to working towards the 40 million pound figure by 2011 instead of 2010, the FIA reportedly has yielded to FOTA on governance issues. As they have argued against proposed 2010 budgets, team bosses have sought a bigger say in rules.
The sport's operation had been covered by an agreement called the Concorde Agreement, named for the Paris address of the FIA, but that deal expired in 2007 without another replacing it.
"They want to go back to the days of the F1 Commission and the system we had before the Concorde Agreement ran out so they can sit down and discuss all the rules," Mosley told BBC Sport. "From our point of view, it's a very tiresome process, but it does actually work."
The F1 Commission system involved teams agreeing to rules changes after which the FIA, commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, who heads Formula One Management, sponsors and circuits would confer.
Mosley began warning before onset of the current global recession that motorsport's premier series could not sustain its current costs. Recent surveys estimated spending by current constructors champion Ferrari to approach a half-billion dollars annually.
"Everyone understands that it simply cannot go on at the present level," Mosley said. "The money isn't there."
Ferrari, a wholly owned subsidiary of Italian carmaker FIAT and the only team on the F1 grid whose manufacturer owner has not been hit by plummeting road-car sales, threatened to leave the series if Mosley's proposed budget cap was imposed for next season. Ferrari is the only team to have contested every F1 season since the series began in 1950. During the course of this public conflict in a secretive sport, the world learned details of special-favor deals Ferrari receives from the FIA and from FOM.
As aspect to compromise to help teams reach reduced spending is a larger contribution from FOM to teams.
The first thing Mosley needs to work is a successful sign-up of teams by his declared entry deadline of May 29, moved forward six months. He has said he expects some teams to miss the deadline. He reiterated to the BBC his opinion of nearly a year ago, that one or two manufacturer teams could drop out. The sport lost Honda, Japan's second-largest carmaker, to financial distress in early December. Toyota and BMW Sauber are thought to be questioning continuing in F1 although team representatives deny the reports.
BBC Sport suggests a plan might be afoot to keep the grid at current levels with cash infusions from FOM for teams to put a third car in each race for a rookie driver. Money due teams that pull out of the series would be used.