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Counting down to midnight
Posted By:   |  29 May 2009   |  8:29 am GMT  |  0 comments

After all the brinkmanship, the tough talking and the threats, the Formula 1 teams should today, barring any last minute upset, submit entries by midnight for the 2010 world championship. Ferrari will still be a Formula 1 team and life will carry on.

A statement is expected today from the Formula One Teams Association with their position ahead of the deadline, although team sources could not confirm at what time this might be published. Intriguingly, it has been suggested to me, however, that this statement will not be along the lines of what has been speculated in the media since Wednesday’s FOTA meeting in London.

The general gist of what has been written is that FOTA is proposing a phased reduction in costs with a limit somewhere below £100 million for next year dropping to the £40 million Max Mosley wants in 2011. The concession by FOTA is that the established teams will go out of their way to help the new teams Mosley is so keen to attract, by leasing them engines and gearboxes at below £5 million and giving them extensive chassis support. This will enable the new teams to compete at a sensible level – not be six seconds off the pace in other words – but will stop short of customer cars, which teams like Williams will not tolerate.

FOTA wants to exclude driver salaries, engine costs, dividends and marketing spend from the budget cap and there appears to also be some sort of exemption proposed for big salary outside subcontractors like Red Bull’s Adrian Newey. I look forward to hearing how that might work.

All eyes will be on Cologne this afternoon to see whether Toyota submits an entry. Rumours were rife in Monaco that the team would use this opportunity to make its exit from the sport. It’s not hard to see why they might do that, having failed to make much impression in the era of unlimited budgets, they are not likely to rise to the top when efficiency is the name of the game. But Toyota F1 boss John Howett said earlier this week that stories of Toyota pulling out were mere ‘spin’.

Meanwhile Williams CEO Adam Parr has spoken about the team’s decision to act independently of FOTA and submit an entry for next year. He denied that Williams’ move was to undermine FOTA’s unity. He said, “We are not trying to split the teams. We are not even trying to dissuade them.

“As a team we have a certain philosophy and this is an inevitable and necessary development. It may well be that other teams have a different view. I completely respect that.

“We feel there is a huge chance to resolve this and very much hope that all the existing teams, plus one or two new ones, will be on the grid with us next year.”

Of those possible new teams, US F1 and Campos have already entered, while Prodrive and Lola have made positive noises. My understanding is that you have to have an engine contract in place before you can submit an entry.

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  1. Dominic J says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that tonight’s deadline will prove as useful an indicator of what’s happening as Honda’s “end of January” one?
    Stories like this always drag on 2 months more than originally scheduled, and 4 months longer than is reasonable.

  2. Jake says:

    autosport.com reported this morning that David Richards has lodged an entry for Prodrive, to be rebranded Aston Martin by 2011, with support from McLaren. The article is gone from the website now.

  3. Loti says:

    There seems to have been a lot of talk about the new teams and very little about the problems with the governance. From what I saw of the regulations, the FIA wanted to be able to change the budget as they liked and also alter the regulations, even in the middle of a season [as they have done in WTCC]. Then there was mention of the F1 Commission, which I didn’t know was no longer there.
    If Toyota goes, have Williams a Cosworth engine deal and on the same subject, just how many engines could Cosworth supply? Is it true that Tony Purnell is a director of Cosworth?

    Next question. [sorry]
    There was mention of the EU Parliament decision all those years ago which made the FIA split the commercial side off and sell it to Bernie as the EU Commissioner said that the FIA could not interfere in the commercial side of F1. Then someone said that you couldn’t challenge the FIA unless you were actually in F1 and I wondered if FOTA would in fact do that once they sign….. or not. Although the majority seem to think that the FIA will accept the new terms of FOTA and that all the teams will sign, I wonder if in fact, if Max decides to do his presidential thing they may not.

  4. ‘FOTA wants to exclude driver salaries, engine costs, dividends and marketing spend from the budget cap’…
    Those aspects alone would make a £40 million cap an academic exercise!

  5. Im hoping for Aston Martin F1, if not this year, then for 2012.

  6. Alexis says:

    Well, they’ve all signed up.

    And it sounds to me like the FIA have won.

    They’ve signed up, with ‘conditions’ being pure spin. You either sign or don’t sign – you can’t half sign up, like being a little bit pregnant.

    Sure the FIA will make compromise to keep the peace, but they’ve held all the cards all along.

    The budget cap is coming.

  7. krad says:

    looks like it might be an extened grid next year and amybe pre qualifying

  8. krad says:

    looks like it might be an extended grid next year and maybe pre qualifying

  9. Sriram says:

    All current teams have submitted their entry for 2010 (Source autosport.com).

    Mr.Max you should start asking/taking advice from fans and teams before introducing anything.You nearly wiped the big teams from F1.It’s time to step down Mr.Max,let some one who is more sensible and efficient take your role.

  10. Markle SchuMarker says:

    Aww, if this all gets sorted out we’ll only have the racing to talk about…

  11. FA says:

    An excellent article. Mr Allen your commentary is greatly missed from TV action on F1 these days. Even if you were slightly too uber enthusiastic you at least had the natural ability to place the events on screen in a context and provide the narrative to the race. [mod]

  12. Northern Munkee says:

    James,

    I find it hard to reconcile what you report (and I confess I had hoped for) with what John Howett, Toyota is quoted as saying in this Q & A today.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/75683

    It seems as faraway as ever. Unless Howett’s version of FOTA’s ‘conditional’ entry is not the same as the other members. And surely the new teams’s entries are ‘conditional’ on a cap?!

    On a separate point entry for 2010 is for another team (i.e. 22 cars) then 13 teams for 2011, or 13 teams from 2010?

    In which case, who do you initially think is best placed to join in 2010? I see Campos has recruited Dallara to support its cause, but Lola would have similar resources, while you’d think Prodrive would be able to draw on McLaren resources, and would be able to use UK’s many wind tunnels as I suspect new rules might limit full utilisation by the other teams. And the Americans, in Autosport ‘claim’ to have everything they need in North Carolina, and a european base.

  13. kepners says:

    James, totally shocked to read that the Sub-contactors are now excluded… so where does the actually budget cap work?
    In all seriousness, you hire subcontractors on to design the car… and 40mill to build it… but thats not really a budget cap. it mean that Lola and Usf1 are not competing on the same playing field.

    On a second Note, i have a feeling the Max’s New “RON” is that Toyota Howlett – personally james, he getting to big for his boots.
    Time Max put him in his place.

  14. Sam Prest says:

    It looks like the rumblings about Ferrari leaving F1 to run Le Mans are shaping up to be pretty solid :) http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/123489

  15. Jonathan says:

    Interesting to see that the teams have all “submitted entries” for the championship based on 2009 rules. I find this a bit puzzling, as they are entering for a non-existent championship, right?
    So, they have not actually entered for 2010 at all.
    James your take please!

  16. rpaco says:

    If only you could get Lego that big ;-)
    Looks pretty good though, a Ferrari LMS-P1 car, even a buck (full size clay model used for styling then digitising) would shake Max’s foundations a bit.

  17. rpaco says:

    I see some new entrants withdrawing next week.
    If the FOTA have block signed with conditions which preclude the $40M cap which Max imposed and the series goes ahead on that basis as James said above, with higher caps and delays then there is no way the the new teams can compete, remembering that they have only entered under the impression that there would be a cap giving them some change of being competitive.

    If FOTA teams do race under their own conditions then this will effectively nullify the conditions under which the new entrants race. This ending up with either uncompetitive new guys or a two tier system.

  18. rpaco says:

    Looking again at what James has said about the FOTA statement (which I cannot find on their web page) in his ITVF1 article.

    [quote]Having said that, if you read their statement carefully, it says that the FOTA teams sign up on the basis that “all FOTA teams will be allowed to compete on an identical regulatory basis”[/Quote]
    Max could well say that his regulations allow just that, with the two tier system. FOTA teams uncapped, new guys capped.

  19. Kenny says:

    If the FIA accept FOTA’s entry application (apparently it’s one for all nine teams, or all nine in a bloc), then yes, you can “half sign up.”

    Max has to accept the provisos and a new Concorde agreement by June 12th, or nine established teams walk. I’d say that FOTA has Max over a barrel.

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