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Crucial meeting underway in Paris
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Crucial meeting underway in Paris
Posted By:   |  24 Jun 2009   |  8:46 am GMT  |  18 comments

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.

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18 Comments
  1. Pierre Rossetti says:

    Can someone please shed light on this obscure WMSC? Does it include expert F1 countries like Tanzania or so?

  2. Julian Smallwood says:

    Interestingly for the fans the agenda is changing again. Just by reading a variety of blogs it appears that the vast majority support FOTA; not just because they are the most popular teams or because they have a genuine grievance but because of CVC/FOM.

    That issue cannot be aired publicly at the WMSC but the fans appear keen to see a fairer cutting of the finances as that would then shift the balance of the series back to where “it should be”, namely Europe and the Americas. If FOTA were to “win” with Max and the FIA this major hope of the fans would be dashed through contractual obligations to Shanghai, Istanbul etc. The end result would then remain a discontented viewing public (as ever) – the people who really fund the sport.

    Surely this leaves FOTA in a tricky position – to retain respect and support they effectively have to launch the breakaway, in the expectation that it will replace the FIA championship in the not too distant future.

  3. Howard Hughes says:

    I think that the fans who complain about the seemingly endless politics and off-track battles are missing the point. This is only a sport for 2 hours ever fortnight, as Frank Williams once famously said… The rest of the time it’s pure soap opera, and I love it! Think of it this way – you have the most expensive, glamourous sport in history rocked to its core by threats of a split, wherein the chief protagonists are one of the world’s richest men, (the formerly impoverished son of a dock worker and one of the world’s best dealmakers), one of the country’s arguably most intelligent men (the son of Britain’s version of Hitler and a man denied his true vocation in politics by his birthright), the aristocratic Italian boss of probably the most venerated brand on Earth, and an assortment of global companies, billionaires and tycoons…

    What’s not to love about seeing them all fight to the career death over this sport? Forgive me if I actually find this rather more compelling than which car’s tyres are being more kindly treated, or whose pitstop too long…

    We should be cherishing these moments, and deriving the most entertainment from then, because they’re historic, and because they’re incredibly interesting…

  4. Adrian says:

    This is Mosley fighting for his survival. I took Bernie’s comment that the manufacturers could spend what they like if they committed for 5 years as an indication that he’s perfectly happy to hang Mosley out to dry – this first came from Bernie as I understand things and drives a coach and horses through Mosley’s insistence on some sort of cost-capping. I thought Mosley came across in his BBC interview as at times a petulant schoolboy and at other times an insane schoolmaster. He will have infuriated not only a lot of the manufacturers but also his own people and Bernie with his suggestion that some members of FOTA are “loonies” (pretty invidious stuff coming from someone with such a colourful personal life, to put it at its lowest) and his smug assurance that they will come crawling back to the grid come Melbourne. His subsequent ‘apology’ and retraction of the threat of immediate legal action suggests outside influence. Bernie is now pulling all the strings, Bernie has realised that the manufacturers are serious and he wants in on the premier league whether that is with or without the FIA, the only question now is to what extent it remains useful for Bernie to keep a Mosley / FIA as a useful counterweight to the clout of the manufacturers. I think the way things are going, Mosley has become more of an embarrassment than anything else. The obvious solution is one which retains the FIA but sees the end of Mosley and this can presumably be organised in a way which saves Mosley some face at least. The trouble is he’s the sort of loony who would rather bring down the whole lot around him.

  5. David Hodge says:

    Hi James,

    A crucial line from your piece:

    “FOTA, backed by the manufacturers, attempting to muscle the FIA out of the picture”

    The FIA keeps peddling this line about the nasty manufacturers wanting it all their own way but seem to forget FOTA also contains customer-engined cars in the shape of Brawn, Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Indeed, from some comments, you could see Force India and Williams aligned with FOTA also were it not for contracts or commitments. If it was all manufacturers, then Max might have a point. It is not – and if the reports are to be believed that the likes of Prodrive and Epsilon want to join FOTA also, then the 10 teams would be 5 manufacturers and 5 customers.

    Max is talking hogwash – as usual.

    I love this blog – especially at the moment, it is the first and often the only place to come to see what is happening. Please keep up the good work.

  6. Ali says:

    Hi James,

    “Mosley has said that the budget cap would be unnecessary if the manufacturers would sign up for five years.”

    It was not Mosley who said that but Ecclestone.

  7. Sam says:

    Hi James,

    Please forgive my ignorance. While I support FOTA’s plan to establish their own series, I fail to understand the core reason behind it. Besides the whole intense personal rivalry as you have described, I thought they had two primary elements-budget cap and Max removal.

    I thought Max was originally planning to leave in October and Bernie, at one point, offered there will be no budget cap. So the only thing I can think of is that 50% of the F1 revenue that is going into Bernie’s bank account. So is this the reason why they are already planning for their break away series? If not, I think its really not worth it. Setting up a new series will be very expensive and unnecessary.

    Regards,
    Sam

  8. Steven says:

    I can see the arguments on both sides. F1 needs independent teams. I think the team line up of the late 80s was particularly strong. To have successful independent teams costs either need to be massively reduced or the manufacturers should support the teams.
    I also agree with Max Mosley’s request these manufacturers sign up to 2014. Only committing themselves for two years is bad. If they form a breakaway championship surely they would commit themselves to that for longer than just two years.
    The one thing I don’t want to see are two championships fighting against each other. Both will suffer. I agree with all of FOTA’s plans for their breakaway championship. More open rules, transparent governance and more fan friendly BUT and this is a big but only if these plans are implamented into the Formula One World Championship. I don’t care if it is run by the FIA or by FOTA. I watch FORMULA ONE and want to continue watching it.
    Bernie Ecclestone is the potential saviour in all of this. If the breakaway does happen the following two things should happen.
    1) Williams in particular and Force India should go with the FOTA championship.
    2) Bernie joins up to and brings the historic Formula One brand as well as the television rights.

    James has said on this blog that he cannot see any ITV or C4/five would probably not pick up a breakaway championship. Sky could not offer it exposure. Therefore it is imperative that if there is a breakaway Bernie promotes it and therefore keeping it on the BBC with the fantastic level of coverage we have received this year.

  9. Cliff says:

    Hi James,

    Just heard the good news… Max is on his way! Anymore information on this?

  10. Chris says:

    BBC have given us this news. Can you confirm James?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8116756.stm

  11. Steven says:

    Breaking news from BBC.

    F1 resolution found, says Mosley

    An agreement has been reached between Formula 1′s governing body and the teams to prevent a breakaway series, says FIA president Max Mosley.

    The two parties had been engulfed in a bitter row over planned budgetary and technical changes for the new season.

    But it appears a resolution has now been found, with Mosley agreeing not to stand for re-election as part of the deal “now there is peace,” he said.

    More to follow.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8116756.stm

  12. Widefoot says:

    The BBC is reporting a rapprochement between FOTA and FIA,
    at least so says Max. I’m very sorry to hear this, I was hoping
    for a new series out from under Max’s thumb, and the CVC.

    Waiting to hear from FOTA reps now…

  13. sidewaysbob says:

    So there we go, Max says ..”oh alright i’ll stand down” and suddenly it’s all sweetness and light once again.

    the storm in the teacup is over and the nurse is picking up the toys around the pram.

    Perhaps the big boys can get back to sorting out their cars so we get a good end to the season now.

  14. Henri says:

    So what was the outcome James? I hear rumours that Max won’t stand for re-election at the end of his term, and that the budget will be lowered to the budget of the 90′s, but over a couple of years. Can you please give us more details as and when you get it.

  15. rpaco says:

    It has puzzled me how Mosely can equate a budget cap to signing up for five years, there is no connection between the two, one does not logically affect the other.
    The only way to connect the two is to see it as an appeasement to Bernie and/or a way of saying if you sign, I’ll change the rules back in year two.

  16. Chris says:

    forget my above post. Here is the FIA confirmation:-
    http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/wmsc/2009/Pages/wmsc_240609.aspx

    No news on FOTA agreement yet

  17. James Allen says:

    No, it was Mosley. Ecclestone said ‘if the teams sign up…” big difference

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