Sir Frank Williams on Sunday firmly nailed his colours to the FIA, backtracking on claims his team has been merely suspended temporarily from the F1 teams' alliance FOTA. Force India, having also broken ranks and unconditionally signed up ...
Sir Frank Williams on Sunday firmly nailed his colours to the FIA, backtracking on claims his team has been merely suspended temporarily from the F1 teams' alliance FOTA.
Force India, having also broken ranks and unconditionally signed up to contest the 2010 world championship, is believed to have been similarly expelled from the body, as a five-day countdown to June 12 commences.
On Friday, the FIA will announce next year's entry list, and many see the events leading up to the Turkish Grand Prix as the declaration of total war.
After a drivers' meeting - not including the Williams and Force India pilots with FOTA on Sunday - Jarno Trulli was nominated spokesman and warned: "In the next week, something should budge.
"If not, there will be a split," the Toyota driver said, as rumours swirled that the FOTA teams had threatened a race boycott.
Awkwardly for Williams, Toyota is the Grove team's engine supplier, and Sir Frank Williams said he wants to keep the contract running rather than switch to what is effectively Cosworth's 2006-spec unit.
But he confirmed that Toyota and Williams are now on opposite sides of the civil war.
"We're out," said Williams, referring to his team's split with FOTA. "They said 'you're expelled' actually. If you're expelled from school, you don't tend to go back do you?
"If there were two (series), we would go with the FIA, full stop."
But Williams does not believe the breakaway threats are serious, "otherwise they would be rampaging around the paddock saying 'come and join our new thing'" he said.
As evening fell in Turkey, it was clear the trek across the Bosphorus had not resolved the dispute for now.
It had been rumoured that a letter to the teams from Max Mosley was in the works, but Toyota and FOTA's John Howett revealed: "We have heard nothing yet."