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Manufacturer breakaway threat grows

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Manufacturer breakaway threat grows
Jun 12, 2009, 6:45 PM

It's been an intense day of statements and announcements.

It's been an intense day of statements and announcements. In all cases reading between the lines has been necessary.

After the FIA's announcement of the entries for 2010 this morning came Ferrari's swift, calm but strong reaction, then FOTA's threat to issue a dossier listing all the things that are wrong with the way F1 is run. FOTA sources refuse to say on what day this dossier will be issued.

The day ended with the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) suggesting, again between the lines, that not only would it apply pressure on the FIA to look at the conduct of its president in the way he conducts the FIA's regulatory business, but also suggested that if it did not get satisfaction that it would pursue the idea of a breakaway.

"Today, the members of the Board of the European Automobile Manufacturer's Association discussed the current situation prevailing in Formula 1, and have concluded that the current governance system cannot continue.

"ACEA has come to the conclusion that the FIA needs a modernised and transparent governance system and processes, including the revision of its constitution, to ensure the voice of its members, worldwide motorsport competitors and motorists are properly reflected.

"The ACEA members support the activities and objectives of the Formula One Teams' Association to establish stable governance, clear and transparent rules which are common to all competitors to achieve cost reductions including a proper attribution of revenues to the F1 teams, in order to deliver a sustainable attractive sport for the worldwide public.

"Unless these objectives are met, the BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Toyota along with the other teams are determined to find an alternative way to practice this sport in a manner which provides clarity, certainty of rules and administration, and a fair allocation of revenues to the competing teams. "

This last line is the crucial one - that can be said of a lot of today's statements, the mots interesting stuff is buried at the end (the opposite of the way a new story should be written!)

FIA sources are suggesting that the two sides actually aren't as far apart as the picture given by all these statements suggests and that it is a couple of hardliners within the manufacturers' group who are making the noise.

Ferrari are the crown jewels in this tug of war and they continue to align themselves with the other manufacturers. The FIA believe they have them under contract, Ferrari insist they are not.

The ACEA statement moves the story on quite a bit. Tomorrow at Le Mans, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo will hold a press conference.

He has some lines prepared, I understand.
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