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Light at the end of the tunnel in F1 dispute?
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Light at the end of the tunnel in F1 dispute?
Posted By:   |  22 May 2009   |  6:25 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Three hours waiting in the Ferrari motorhome this evening, for a press conference which was all set up for a 5pm start, but then that slipped as the meeting between the teams, the FIA and FOM rolled on.

In the end we were told that the meeting was ‘constructive’ but inconclusive so there will be more meetings in the next couple of days.

This means that there is some hope. There have clearly been some concessions on both sides. The teams and the FIA stood on the brink and stared into the abyss and Bernie Ecclestone worked hard to make sure that neither pushed the other over the edge. I think the teams, after the first meeting on the boat, presented a united front, but in order to do that Ferrari may well have had to concede some things.

The feeling behind the scenes, incidentally, is that Toyota is shaping up to leave the sport anyway and that it is pursuing the line of disasgreement with the rules to give a credible reason for its exit. Time will tell. We’ve been hearing Toyota want out for a long time and they are still here..

The concessions made this afternoon will be financial, mainly, possibly a review of Ferrari’s share of revenues, possibly a review of FOM’s share of revenues. I also get the impression that the manufacturer teams have put forward some more far reaching cost saving ideas in order to try to head off the budget cap idea.

I’m afraid I can’t say much more that that, other than to show you the latest voting on the twitter poll we’ve been running on how important Ferrari is to F1. It’s a bit spooky, I hope someone else votes soon…
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  1. Mark R says:

    I just wish the politics would stop getting in the way of everything & let the teams decide what they want to spend. The best engineers & designers will always go to the best teams regardless of budget caps & find ways round these kind of decisions. I tend to agree with Ferrari & that I’d rather see the big teams racing. I went to the Barcelona grand prix last week which in total with flights & hotel cost me & my wife £1300 which is no problem but I certainly wouldn’t pay that to see the names that have come out this week. I could go to Snettterton 30 miles away from me & spend £25 & to see these teams.

    Keep up the good work James.

  2. blech says:

    What I don’t understand is why Toyota of all teams isn’t all for the budget cap.

    With a 40 million cap (after all the exceptions for 2010 have run out) even mediocre teams are all but guaranteed to make a profit. So even if Toyota still want out the budget cap would give them the chance to sell their grid spots for real money. And if not they can keep their F1 division going indefinitely without it being a constant money drain.

    Basically the same is true for Renault the manufacturer but I can see how The Flav’s got enough clout to dictate their position.

    OTOH as you’ve pointed out both are still here despite rumors to the contrary that have been going on for years and years, so perhaps I just don’t know squat.

  3. Mike W says:

    First I am not a fanboy or hater of Ferrari. That said,
    I am amazed that anyone would vote to say it matters not to them if Ferrari are not in F1.
    It is not easy to generate the cachet F1 has and it is not easy to know just how it has all been generated to this gigantic force of a sport.
    Ferrari have been THE team to have been there since 1950. Fangio, Ascari, Hawthorn, von Trips, Hill, Viloresi, Rodriguez, Surtees, Bandini, Ickx, Andretti, Schecter, Villenuve, Lauda, Prost, Berger, Mansell, Schumacher. Good lord and sooo many more.
    The engineers involved we know the names of almost like the drivers, Enzo Ferrari, Aurelio Lampredi, Gioacchino Colombo, Vitorio Jano, Mauro Forghieri, Harvey Postlethwaite, John Barnard through to the present.
    The races they have been involved in from before the www2 to the present. This is F1 history.
    We do not have to like the team but the history of it cannot be replaced by something new. Just because a team is in F1 does not make it important. New teams need to earn what Ferrari has brought F1, not just pay your $40M and you are equal.
    With this I am not saying Ferrari should get treated differently rules wise but I do feel the FIA needs to shows more respect to not only Ferrari but to all the teams.
    Rules cannot be thrown together to say in 6 months you have to spend only 1/4 of today. This is idiotic.
    Ferrari/FIA/FOTA must find a way to make this work of we lovers of F1 are the ones who will suffer.

  4. Luke says:

    James, walked past you in Monaco this evening four english lads about 830! We said hi but I forgot to mention how good your blog is! Keep it up! It’s the site I check first everyday! Hope you enjoy the race I know we will!

  5. MartinWR says:

    One positive thing that might just possibly come out of this titanic clash of egos is for the teams to tell Max where to stick his KERS nonsense. Where the sun don’t shine I would hope.

    After tens, possibly hundreds of millions thrown down the drain on it by the teams, KERS has made F1 cars less reliable, slower, more dangerous, hugely more complex and would not add anything at all to the viewing experience if all the teams were forced to run it. Except possibly the occasional explosion to keep people amused in between the pit stops. Worse still, at a time when the recession requires a modicum of financial discipline, it makes them much more expensive.

    This idea is totally at odds with the budget cap concept, and should have been put out of its misery long ago. But now could be the time. I hope.

  6. mm says:

    James

    Thanks for your website – certainly the best!

    For too long someone tried to turn F1 into a confusing orgy. I say, get rid of that person and find a new master to crack the whip.

    Then we’ll enjoy F1 again.

  7. Chaz says:

    Any speculation on whether Ferrari gave up their technical veto as a concession to the other teams? I would have thought this was key especially since the other teams are not happy about this.

  8. Antoine says:

    Any idea as to why NO ONE from BRAWN attended the special meeting? Has Brawn decided to distance himself from all the politics, if so for what reason?

  9. Northern Munkee says:

    Love the poll, it’s amazing and very rare to find an argument that splits so evenly down the middle with some strong and some not so strong arguments on both sides, and that both sides have justfiable claims to the moral high ground.

    Toyota. I always thought it might be an easier exit route, than quitting straight up. Renault?

  10. CMR says:

    It’s the inevitability of it all, we all knew this moment would arrive, but it won’t be without it’s casualties. When the deals are finally done and dust settles down – that is when the real truth will seep out, and then we will see how unified FOTA really is/was, and how much work BE had to put in to keep it all in place.

    Has F1 really ever been any different?

  11. rpaco says:

    Well James you have 2627 twits following you, so give them a nudge.
    Put the link on here and it will make a difference, unlike Ferrari’s exit! ;-)

  12. rpaco says:

    Unfortunately having unity within FOTA makes it far less likely that they will dare not to sign up for 2010. Were there a split, then the “manufacturers” could all leave without affecting the rest of the field but as it is the whole class will stay in and be punished!

  13. JB-F1 says:

    I’m not surprised in the slightest that Toyota are going to use this as an excuse to quit. Also, rumours that Renault are going to quit too, so if you are right that the 3 “rebel” teams are/were Ferrari, Toyota and Renault, this leaves Ferrari in a bit of a pickle, and also proves Mosley right – the manufacturers want to quit because of the cost, so the costs have to come down drastically

    If FOTA isn’t as united as they say they are, the FIA should win this

  14. redmist says:

    The fact that for all practical reason half of the poll says F1 wouldn’t be the same without Ferrari, actually proves Ferrari’s point. If half of the fans stopped watching F1 on TV, or stopped going to the races then F1 would be in serious trouble.

  15. redmist says:

    There is one question that doesn’t seem to asked about this 40mil budget cap, is it even possible to race in F1 with a 40mil cap? Last year Super Aguri used 43mil, and they could only compete 3 races, needless to say they used that 43mil very frugally. And what is the budget for a GP2 team? For me at least it doesn’t even seem possible to actually be in F1 with a 40mil cap, even if all the expenses isn’t covered in the cap. Surely new small teams wouldn’t have a lot of extra money for expensive motorhomes, drivers and marketing campaigns on top of the 40mil. It is difficult to understand the FIA’s motivation in all of this.

  16. phil c says:

    The reality is, there is no money out there for new teams to get 40million dollars in the first place. There may be 2 new teams that have $$$, but it will be useless if the big teams leave, because the value of the sponsorship worth is dramatically cut without the attraction of the Big Teams. I like how the teams are still united. I think, Bernie has been told give use $$$ which will easily fund the cap plus. keep them in the sport or were goooone.

    Problem with this we the fans get hurt as track prices will go up as fees will go up.

  17. James: On your Twitter page I only see the Lewis Hamilton poll – where is the link to your Ferrari poll?

    [ You may be following the blog by RSS only. Here's the link you are after - Moderator ]

  18. Thomas says:

    I think the more interesting poll would be “would you care if Toyota quit F1?”. I think it would be a struggle to get even 5% of yes votes. They are a boring team and a boring manufacturer.

    I drive a Toyota!! It’s a great car but really does the Toyota brand encapsulate all that is F1? I don’t think so.

    Goodbye!

  19. Spong says:

    If Ferrari were the only manufacturer team, I’d be upset.

    But as a long-time F1 fan, the current level of manufacturer involvement and control is concerning.

    I was watching some ’92 season highlights, and it struck me how different the grid was, back then:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Formula_One_season#Drivers_and_Constructors

    Indies far outnumbered constructors; Ferrari were truly special in that regard, and their contribution over the years has apparently been recognized and to some extent rewarded.

    But to imply that without Ferrari, it’s all over… I’d still watch without them.

  20. Tevin says:

    The whole thing is a disgrace. You have the most popular annual sport in the world and these blokes can’t come to a decision? Unbelievable. And highly embarrassing for all concerned.

    You lock them in a room at 8am on Friday and tell them they can’t come out until a decision is reached. Send in some sambos and water at 1pm then a bit of pasta at 6pm. But do not let them out until a decision has been reached.

    [ For those of a nervous disposition, I believe the "sambos" being referred to here are "sandwiches" - Moderator ]

  21. Robin Capper says:

    redmist; I still don’t see how any cap could ever be policed. Will the world champ will be awarded after [insert accounting firm] have signed off the financial audit?

  22. robatclaxby says:

    James, by refering to the fans vote as spooky (total 666)
    do you intimate that someone at Ferrari is the Anti Christ?
    (ps. only kidding)

  23. Kirk says:

    I also heard that rumour but Nick Fry and Ross Brawn were both present – saw pictures of them leaving Briatore’s boat.

  24. Suzy says:

    Nick Fry attended the meeting.

  25. jw1980 says:

    Spot on JB-F1. You just cannot rely on maufacturers staying in F1. Everything could be done to appease Toyota and I bet they would still pull out. Ferrari are threatening to quit. No one wants that but if Toyota pulled out no one would care. That’s why Ferrari are doing all the running. No one really cared that Honda pulled so as long as a new team took their place (Brawn). That new team in the last five races have won more races than BMW and Toyota have ever done!
    We need the new teams to ensure that a grid of 20 cars is realised and perhaps even better than that hopefully enjoy fields of 26 cars per race. Who’s to say that the likes of Lola, USGPE, iSport, etc cannot do a better job than Toyota or BMW?
    Frank Williams started from the bottom and look where he got to. When he started such was the state of his finances that he gave his telephone number as the public phone box outside his premises! His telephone had been cut off due to his failure to pay the bill!

  26. James Allen says:

    Ross was there, as was Nick. We saw them come off the boat, didn’t see them go on..

  27. MartinWR says:

    It’s true, believe it. The Brawn duo didn’t actually board the yacht, although, they did get off.

    Ross Brawn is way ahead of the game. This does not surprise me in the least.

    It’s perfectly obvious that they were beamed there in the first public test of Ross’ latest development to keep Brawn GP ahead of the field. How long before they start teleporting Jense direct to the chequered flag in the races?

  28. Philip Taylor says:

    Nice one, mm. I completely agree, although I probably wouldn’t have used all the little subtle digs at Max’s behaviour! Intentional, I’m sure but if not it still made me laugh!

    Personally, I think it strange how Bernie has gone from the man who a few months ago left many of us wondering why a 78-year-old is still in charge, amid calls for a championship decided on race wins, to the voice of reason – the peacemaker – for two stubborn organisations in the FIA and Ferrari.

    James, I met you twice over the course of the last couple of years as a winner of F1 in Schools. I’d just like to say how impressed I was with how you gave up your time to give us a few insights like you share with many now on this blog. Also how down to earth and genuinely interested you seemed in how we were getting on since the competition. Keep up the good work!

  29. Thomas says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. What on earth were they thinking with KERS?

    Nothing more than an expensive waste of time that has no practical application in the real world.

  30. Howard Hughes says:

    Toyota are actually a brand with a very long and very noble heritage. They got into a pickle once or twice in motorsport when various European race managers countenanced dodgy dealings, like the rally car false air vents concealed as headlamps, but the company is a fine, fine enterprise.

    Of course their brand value is diluted by the fact that theirs is almost wholly a mass-market product, and as such devoid of any allure, mystique or glamour, which of course F1 embodies, but I for one would very much like to see Toyota get the success they deserve. I don’t believe they’re any less passionate about motorsport than Honda have been in latter years…

  31. Tevin says:

    Yes, sambos = sandwiches.

    sorry, not offense meant.

  32. MartinWR says:

    F1 wasn’t the same without Schumy, for better or worse. It wasn’t the same without Lotus, arguably, just as iconic for Brits as Ferrari. Life went on, though. Nothing can stay the same forever. Why should F1 be fossilised in that way?

    Besides there’s no way Ferrari are going to leave F1. Everyone connected with the sport must know that. As usual it’s a power play. If they ever left there’s nowhere for them to go, and they’d be back as soon as they thought people had forgotten their empty threats. They can’t do without F1 but they want it to serve their ends. They are used to getting their own way by causing the maximum disruption they possibly can.

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