Ferrari's bid for an injunction against enforcement of International Automobile Federation (FIA) rules for Formula One has failed -- at least for now. A Paris judge Wednesday dismissed the appeal of the oldest team in the series. Ferrari said it...
Ferrari's bid for an injunction against enforcement of International Automobile Federation (FIA) rules for Formula One has failed -- at least for now. A Paris judge Wednesday dismissed the appeal of the oldest team in the series. Ferrari said it would continue to pursue legal relief for the FIA's proposed budget cap to be imposed for the 2010 season.
Ferrari is seeking to block FIA president Max Mosley's intent to lower costs of the sport through the optional budget cap. Teams choosing to limit spending to UKP 40 million (USD 62 million) next season would be allowed greater technical freedom in adhering to regulations.
"No competitor should place their interests above those of the sport in which they compete," Mosley said in response. "The FIA, the teams and our commercial partners will now continue to work to ensure the wellbeing of Formula One in 2010 and beyond."
Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota and Red Bull, which fields two teams, say the scheme would set up a "two-tier" championship and they would not participate. The failure of those teams to compete next season would gut the sport. Williams F1 and Force India support the cap. World championship-leading Jenson Button of Brawn GP has said a cap would greatly help his team, an independent born after Honda left the sport in the off season.
Ferrari said it would continue to work with Formula One Teams Association, a panel of team principals, to prevent the current scheme from imposition. A meeting earlier this month among FOTA, Mosley and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone had all sides agreeing that a two-tier championship is not acceptable, but Mosley said the FIA would not compromise on the cap amount. The groups are scheduled to meet again this race weekend in Monaco.
The FIA begins taking 2010 entry applications May 22 with May 29 marked as deadline, but Mosley has said he expects that deadline will not stand.
At present, Formula One is the world's most expensive sport contested annually. The series consists this season of 17 races on four continents for 10 teams, each fielding two cars. Mosley does not see the sport surviving if costs are not reduced.
Team representatives, especially those whose manufacturer sponsors are suffering massive global sales losses, say they agree costs need to be cut. The sticking point is how to reach Mosley's $62 million figure. Principals of teams like Ferrari, whose annual budget reaches hundreds of millions of dollars, say they cannot scale down as quickly as Mosley demands. The big-team position is to take the next few seasons to reach the cap figure.
Mosley's scheme lowers costs sufficiently for new teams to enter the sport. Ferrari on Wednesday listed on its website a number of teams proposed to enter the sport next year, including Lola, USF1, Wirth Research, Epsilon Euskadi, RML, Formtech, Campos and iSport, and challenged the FIA way forward: "Can a World Championship with teams like them -- with due respect -- have the same value as today's Formula One, where Ferrari, the big car manufacturers and teams, who created the history of this sport, compete? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call it Formula GP3?"
Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen expressed support for their team while decrying the political turbulence of the season.
Said Raikkonen: "It's not good for Formula One in any way to have this sort of thing going on and for me personally, if Ferrari is not in Formula One and if other big teams are also not in the sport, then it's not really Formula One anymore. If teams come in from GP2 for example, it won't be the same. I am 100 percent behind the team and whatever they choose to do, I will go along with. I hope it all gets sorted out, but I'm not the person to ask about the details. I work for Ferrari and we are one big family: This is my job and this is where I want to do it. My own feeling is that we will not disappear from Formula One, but if we do, I still have a contract with the team and I am sure they will find something for me to do!"
Renault No. 1 Fernando Alonso, continually mooted as a Ferrari driver-to-be in 2010, said in Monaco that if the carmaker teams left the sport so would he. He also decried the political row that has gone so public.
"If the big teams and the big manufacturers leave F1 then I don't want to race with the small teams because it would not be F1 anymore," Alonso said. "For me, it is strange no one sat down and thought how much we are damaging the sport, how much damage the sport has had in the past two months."