This is going to be one of those weekends, where the buzz is constant and the drama level high.
The strange statement on the Ferrari website denigrating the teams hoping to enter F1 seems to have garnered the most reaction, certainly a lot of the media are focussed on it.
But in the wider sphere, the reaction has been interesting to the news from Paris that Ferrari’s injunction has failed. This is one of those moments when you need to apply a bit of perspective and calm appraisal, rather than run screaming.
We’ve had some great comments on this site this afternoon about both the Paris news and the Ferrari website posting, many of which reflect the perspective that members of the public are able to bring, more readily perhaps than F1 insiders.
I’ve picked out three reactions from inside F1 to consider tonight, the first, inevitably, is Ferrari’s own reaction to the news that their injunction has failed,
“While continuing to evaluate whether or not to continue with this legal action already underway, Ferrari confirms its commitment to work within FOTA in conjunction with the FIA and the Commercial Rights Holder to ensure that Formula 1 is a series where the rules are the same for everyone and which benefits from stability in the regulations, while continuing the work of the past few months in moving forward methodically and gradually towards reducing costs,” their statement this afternoon says.
“If it is not possible for all parties to reach agreement, then in line with the decision of the Main Board, taken on 12th May, Ferrari will not enter its cars in a competition that, with the planned scenario in place, would see a watering down of the characteristics that have endowed Formula 1 with the status of the most important motor sport series and that have specifically led to the Maranello marque’s uninterrupted participation in the world championship since 1950.
“In this situation, Ferrari will continue to compete in races of a calibre worthy of the marque, matching its level of innovation and technological research.”
There is an air of grim determination about the tone of this. Ferrari has taken a course and must now follow it to its logical conclusion. They cannot believe that the FIA would sacrifice them and other manufacturers for Nick Wirth, I Sport and Litespeed and neither can many people who follow the sport closely.
Meanwhile the drivers have been reflecting on the situation and as usual, it falls to Fernando Alonso to say something meaningful. If Ferrari and other manufacturers leave F1, perhaps to make something out of a series based around Le Mans, then Alonso will not offer his services to I Sport or even Williams. He will go and do something which rings true for him,
“I don’t know if this will be my last time in Monaco, ” he said this afternoon.
“If the big teams and the big manufacturers leave F1 then I don’t want to race with small teams, because it is not any more F1 and there are many other categories.
“For me, it is strange that no one sat down and thought how we are damaging the sport, how much damage the sport has had in the last two months. To have those three or four new teams and losing seven of the big manufacturers I cannot understand – and not losing only seven manufacturers but losing the 10 best drivers in the world. It becomes no more interesting, F1.”
Alonso will play a role for a team if it suits him and he is thinking as much to his Ferrari contract of the future as he is to the Renault contract of the present. But he also speaks for himself and this is an honest appraisal of the situation as he sees it, rather gloomy, somewhat anxious and powerless.
BMW boss Mario Thiessen was expected to follow Ferrari and Renault last week in saying that the company wouldn’t compete in F1 if the rules don’t change, but he didn’t follow through, which is interesting and shows that he has perhaps seen something new in this,
“I would say we need to be positive and we need to be confident and we need to push to get an agreement because it doesn’t make sense for any of the stakeholders to damage the platform we have.”
As to whether BMW will enter in 2010 he said, “We will discuss it on Friday with FOTA and not make any statement before.”
Classic Theissen, not giving anything away, but maybe BMW has some inkling of a way forward and for that reason did not follow the others in coming out last week.