Martin Whitmarsh on Friday indicated that the FIA's official F1 world championship will wither if FOTA successfully establishes a breakaway series. Conspicuously quiet amid the political crisis, the McLaren boss broke his silence at Silverstone...
Martin Whitmarsh on Friday indicated that the FIA's official F1 world championship will wither if FOTA successfully establishes a breakaway series.
Conspicuously quiet amid the political crisis, the McLaren boss broke his silence at Silverstone by suggesting he is not concerned that the situation will create a hole at the pinnacle of global single seater racing.
"I don't think there will be two premier racing championships," he told the BBC.
"All I can say is that there will be a championship next year and that the major names that have historically been involved in motor racing will be racing together and I think that will be recognised as the major championship."
His opinion was not shared by F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who was nonetheless unconvincing when he insisted he is "not concerned" by the worsening row between major teams and the FIA.
"The Formula One world championship has been going for 60 years and will continue to go," he said.
"We've had 73 teams in and out of the world championships so I don't suppose it will change."
The crisis deepened yet further after afternoon practice at Silverstone, when the FIA vowed legal action against the treachery of FOTA, and particularly Ferrari, which is bound legally to F1 for the future.
"I think to go against the governing body is a very, very dangerous position to take," said former team owner Eddie Jordan.
Others detect a struggle only to remove Max Mosley as FIA president. An unnamed FOTA team member told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that "anyone would be better" in the role than the 69-year-old.
Rumours suggest a vote will be called for Mosley's head at the World Motor Sport Council next Wednesday.
Nonetheless, FOTA's threat has to be taken at face value, and it is causing waves in the motor racing world.
Germany's EuroSpeedway Lausitz threw its name into the ring as a potential breakaway venue, and bookmaker Ladbrokes is taking bets as to which alternative TV companies will land deals to broadcast the races.
Australian promoters, however, said they are not worried.
"We have every faith Formula One Management will reach a satisfactory resolution and the Australian GP will happen next year in March," said a spokesman for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation.