The world motor sport council meeting is underway in Paris, where the FIA president Max Mosley will defend his handling of the crisis over 2010 entries and FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo will present FOTA’s case for why the FIA needs to accept the conditions the teams have placed on their entries.
There were eight world council members at Silverstone on Sunday, the FIA’s David Ward was taking them round and they are reported to have been unimpressed with what they see as FOTA, backed by the manufacturers, attempting to muscle the FIA out of the picture.
Max Mosley emphasised this point in his letter to the FIA members yesterday. If they feel that they are under threat as an institution, they are more likely to back their president. One of the things Montezemolo will be careful to do today is not show disrespect for the institution of the FIA. But he carries significant weight as he has the backing of the European motor manufacturers’ body.
This dispute has become very personal, with Mosley, Montezemolo and Flavio Briatore getting involved in some very public mudslinging. It does come down to personalities and Montezemolo will thread a difficult path today, asking the WMSC members to grant the teams’ conditions for entry without undermining the FIA as a whole.
Mosley has said that this threat to the FIA makes him feel inclined to stand again for president in October, but there could be some room for negotiation there.
The problem for Montezemolo is to demonstrate the long term commitment of the manufacturers. Mosley has said that the budget cap would be unnecessary if the manufacturers would sign up for five years. This point was emphasised over the Silverstone weekend. The manufacturers have offered to commit to 2012 but so far no further.