FIA, FOTA talk; F1 hangs in balance

FIA, FOTA talk; F1 hangs in balance

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley left a three-hour meeting with Formula One Teams Association members Friday in Monaco expressing optimism the two groups can find accord in the continuing row over spending in ...

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley left a three-hour meeting with Formula One Teams Association members Friday in Monaco expressing optimism the two groups can find accord in the continuing row over spending in motorsport's premier series, Formula One.

FOTA meeting on the boat of Flavio Briatore, Renault F1 Team, Team Chief, Managing Director.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"We had a good, constructive meeting and there are ongoing discussions," Mosley told reporters. "I'm always confident there will be an agreement.

"Everyone knows the issues."

Renault team principal Flavio Briatore called the meeting "very good." The Italian earlier in the day played host to a Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) meeting on his yacht in Monaco harbor. The group is made up of principals of each team. Teams are in Monaco to contest the most prestigious race in the F1 series; the Grand Prix of Monaco takes place Sunday.

Reuters reported a number of team principals leaving the meeting with Mosley at the Automobile Club de Monaco headquarters did not respond to questions. The groups are set to meet again Saturday.

Current constructors champions Ferrari have threatened to leave the series if the proposed spending cap of 40 million pounds ($63 million) goes through for 2010. Most of the rest of the teams in F1 have sided with Ferrari.

FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo told reporters after that group met that teams are united.

"We will not enter in the championship with these rules and with this governance," di Montezemolo said. "So we will discuss in a constructive but a clear way. We want Formula One, not something different."

Di Montezemolo, president of Ferrari, failed earlier this week to have a French court enjoin the FIA, the sport's sanctioning body, from pushing through the spending cap for the 2010 season. Mosley contends the sport cannot survive if spending continues unchecked. The Englishman has campaigned hard on the topic for the past year. His views were vindicated in December when Honda, the second-largest carmaker in Japan, quit the sport, citing the inability to justify the expense in the face of plummeting car sales.

As the proposed rule stands, teams choosing to abide by the FIA budget amount would be allowed greater technical freedom to interpret rules. Ferrari has been the most vocal among teams, primarily manufacturer-backed teams, to assert they will not race next year if the rule is not changed.

Di Montezemolo's remarks imply that Williams F1, who consistently have backed a cap, Brawn GP, and Force India now align with the other seven teams, all of whom have suggested or remonstrated they will not compete next year if the current scheme stays in place.

Luca di Montezemolo, Scuderia Ferrari, FIAT Chairman and President of Ferrari goes to the meeting with Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley at the ACM..
Photo by xpb.cc.

In general, all teams favor reduced spending; they disagree with Mosley on how -- and how quickly -- to achieve that aim. Ferrari, which needs to trim from a budget somewhere north of $300 million, had proposed a scheme to take two years to reach Mosley's figure. Mosley, who wants the relatively low amount to encourage new teams to enter the sport, spurned the idea.

Mosley was vindicated again a few minutes past midnight Friday when Spanish racing team Campos Meta 1, run by former grand prix driver Adrian Campos, filed an entry for one of three new spots for 2010. Friday is the first day the FIA is taking entries. The application period is open for a week. Every team wanting to compete must apply. The Charlotte, N.C.-based USF1 team-in-progress also applied.

Ferrari's quit threat is not a new tactic by the only team that has participated in every year of the F1 championship begun in 1950. Ferrari has enjoyed special treatment, especially in recent years. It receives a bigger share of commercial revenues, and the current row has revealed the Scuderia entered a deal with the FIA four years ago that gives the team a veto over rules changes. The French judge who dismissed the Italian team's injunction bid cited the deal, said the team should have used its veto when the budget cap was adopted, and called Ferrari's complaint a contract issue. The contract that delivered the veto expires in 2012.

BBC Sport on Friday reported that F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has raised the prospect of legal action against Ferrari, which signed a contract with him to participate in the sport through 2012. Ecclestone was quoted earlier this month as suggesting 60 million pounds ($95.5 million) as a compromise figure.

Patrick Head of Williams F1 was quoted Friday in Auto Motor und Sport, a German publication, that only Ferrari and Toyota are adamant about holding out against the FIA dictate. Other teams, Head said, would compromise. The straight-speaking engineer also said the opportunity for compromise was missed a week ago in London when it emerged Ferrari was seeking legal relief. Head said Mosley ended the meeting when he learned of Ferrari's intent.

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About this article
Series FORMULA 1
Drivers Luca di Montezemolo , Patrick Head , Flavio Briatore , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Force India , Williams , Renault F1 Team , Brawn GP