Some unfinished business
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Drivers join forces with teams against Mosley
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Drivers join forces with teams against Mosley
Posted By:   |  07 Jun 2009   |  4:55 pm GMT  |  42 comments

The drivers working for the eight remaining FOTA teams got embroiled in the 2010 entry crisis today when they met with team principals and agreed to stand solid with them in opposing the 2010 rules package.

Afterwards, rumours began to circulate that a repeat of Indianapolis 2005 might take place where the drivers would do the formation lap only and then park the cars, leaving only the Williams and Force India cars to race.

Much as Nico Rosberg, looking for his first win and Vijay Mallya, looking for Force India’s first points, would have loved it, there was no substance in the rumour.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said this evening, ““It was a joke that came out I don’t know from where. It was never discussed.”

However it is quite significant that the drivers are now engaged. Many of them have little choice, they are under contract so if their team decides not to enter they will have to look at alternatives. Fernando Alonso has been saying for several weeks that he has no time for the type of F1 the budget cap rules will bring and today other drivers have made their position clear. They have lined up with FOTA, opposing the FIA’s plans for 2010, as Jarno Trulli explained

” All the drivers have the same feeling: to follow FOTA and respect above all the work they are doing on the coming rules and the running of Formula 1 in a serious way for the future.Mosley must understand that there are some things that cannot happen,” he said. “The rules for 2010 are absolutely not good because Formula 1 must remain the number one sport in the world, with great technology and with the manufacturers.

“You can’t try and bring in other teams that maybe have never had any idea about what it takes to compete with the cars and in a championship of such a high level. Above all, with the rules we are completely out.”

The drivers have already found themselves opposing the FIA this season, on the issue of superlicence fees. The FIA planned to increase the fees, but back in March retreated from that position after resistance from the drivers. At the time a statement from the FIA said, “A reduced fee would reflect the major cost reductions that will be brought into the sport for next season.”

This evening Ferrari’s Felipe Massa added his voice to the chorus against the budget cap,

“We want to race for the best teams in the world and against the best drivers, for the moment, it’s a night mare and we wanted to know what’s going on. We want to race in the best category with the best technology, the best teams and the best drivers, in a top category in motor sport.

If we do what Mr Mosley wants we won’t be on top of motor sport we’ll be on a different level we’ll go down a lot. That’s why we are together with the eight teams of FOTA so I hope they can find a solution because we would love to carry on on F1 but if F1 is not possible because it’s not F1 any more we’ll go and race in another championship.”

As to how likely it is that a solution will be found before Friday’s deadline of June 12th when accepted entries will be announced, Domenicali said tonight, “Discussions are going on but we need to find a solution. If the solution is not there we need to see what is the action, but I hope that common sense will prevail. Friday is the deadline from the formal point of view but not from a substantial point of view. If you want to be sensible you can discuss up to next year.

“The 12th could be a day when you could see some interesting things or it could be a day when you have to consider what is F1 and what is the future of racing. At the moment we are damaging this sport. I feel as a normal guy that we are all too involved, we don’t have an overview of what is going on. It’s the moment to wake up and make the right decision because no one wants to spoil the sport. Ferrari love F1 and we want to make sure the values of F1 stay for ever.

“I think that we need to do everything to make sure that the FIA F1 world championship will stay in the future and then we will see.”

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42 Comments
  1. Mahendar Jain says:

    good for him…
    but this is turning into one of d boring season f1 in a long time….
    don’t even feel the worth to watch the race….
    i hope he crashes in the next few races to make racing interesting….

  2. Dominic J says:

    Alonso has been speaking out against “new F1″, whilst Raikkonen has long been rumoured to be on his way out. If the two of them could persuade Hamilton to release a joint statement condemning the proposed rules (and just them, the world champions) how would that go down?

    Or is it just unfeasible that Fernando, Kimi and Lewis would gather to discuss such a thing?

  3. Rich says:

    “However it is quite significant that the drivers are now engaged. Many of them have little choice, they are under contract so if their team decides not to enter they will have to look at alternatives.”

    So, in other words, it *isn’t significant at all, is it.
    They’re just employees reiterating the Company line, thats all. What else would you expect them to say? Its simply the Teams trying to put more pressure on the FIA.

  4. Peter says:

    At the end of the day there is one important question remains: If we had a championship called F1 with Force India, Williams and the new teams – and with all respect to them – and an other one with Ferrari, McLaren, Toyota, BMW, Brawn etc called “the other one”, wich one will be followed and watched by millions around the world? F1 because its called F1 or “the other one” because it has the most prestigious teams, companies – with long history -and the best drivers? F1 as a brand name would disappear and “the other one” would be recognised by fans in a short period of time as “the old F1″ with stronger brand values.

  5. Mark says:

    I wonder how much of this is what the drivers really think and how much is ‘doing what the boss says’.

    It also occurs to me that the drivers could be concerned that if the budget cap comes in then salaries will go down.

  6. jw1980 says:

    James,

    to a certain extent some credibility has been lost because so many new teams have requested an entry for F1 for 2010. However, who do you think will win a GP first? Toyota or Prodrive?
    So many people are putting so much faith in the manufacturer teams. I can see a scenario whereby they get what they for next year but come the Autumn they will pullout of F1 because of some bigger, external factor.
    F1 needs new teams as well as keeping the majority of the existing teams.
    Some people have made reference to the millions that some teams have spent and as a consequence deserve greater respect from FIA. However, you have to say that Toyota have squandered absolute millions for a very small return. They in part have caused this budget crisis.
    You can see why Trulli wants to keep the status quo. In a new world order for F1 he would be a big loser in terms of who he would end up racing for and what he actually earnt….

  7. Simon says:

    Who’s going to blink first?

    FOTA….without a doubt.

    They’ll all eventually fall into line (save one) eager for those TV revenues, even though they only get 50%, its a damn sight more than they’d get from their own series to start with. Oh, and there’s the start up costs and the organisational costs. I’m sure all these big manufacturers who are running rivers of financial blood are very eager to put even more money into motor racing! These team bosses are just living in another world.

    To those people bemoaning the possibilty of ‘small teams’ coming in and under performing I say just one word. Toyota. I’m sure they’re all nice guys in the Toyota garage but really…….spending more money than the Almighty and what have they achieved? An obvious point I know but worth mentioning to those who eschew new blood without mega budgets onto grid.

    Of course, its just my opinion………….

  8. jw1980 says:

    James,

    have you seen the comments from the drivers about the attendance at the Turkey GP and the likelihood that there will only be two more races at Istanbul? This is proof that the current crop of new grand prix are just not sustainable. No doubt this year’s Abu Dhabi GP will be well attended but thereafter if Bahrain is anything to go by it will become a huge white elephant of dizzying proportions.
    An article on this subject would be very interesting perhaps when there is a quiet week on F1 news.

  9. chuck says:

    James,

    you probably know the answer to this: which part of a F1 team’s budget is spent in the wind tunnels?

    De la Rosa said today in the Spanish TV channel broadcasting the race that they bring about 15 to 18 small changes to each circuit. But I deduced most of them are aerodinamic changes.

    If, as I presume, a big effort is done from an aerodinamic point of view, this reinforces my view that the F1 should block this kind of expenditure. F1 is today more of an aeronautical sport than a 4 wheels motorsport.

    They should fix a standard body for everyone and let them work in the mechanical department (motor, gearbox, suspension) within a set of easy rules. Do you think this would lower the budgets considerably?

  10. Attakorn S. says:

    How about this, probably will sound abit crazy..would be good to hear what you guys think:

    No budget cap, but to keep refreshing the pecking order, at the end of the year, the blueprints of all cars are revealed to all teams. This means all the teams can start off next year with more or less the best car from last year and then they develop their own car on their own for the rest of the season. This way, the big teams with alot of money doesn’t just win on their own but in a way, helps the smaller develop too albeit not in-season of course where competition must remain. It also contributes to the image that F1 teams are collectively building a faster machine every year with the big teams contributing more money but are rewarded with more wins (if they do develop their cars better with that extra money!)

  11. rpaco says:

    Maybe now FOTA and apparently some drivers, have pushed Max to a point where he will declare their conditional entries void, thus settling the matter finally.

    He (Max) has ample entries for 2010 without the FOTA member teams.

    A great pity that KERS will not be developed (by FOTA teams next year) since there could have been application in road cars, Audi now have a watered down form of it they call “Recuperation” In order to get KERS to work well a lot of development in battery and high temp superconductor would be necessary, and with KERS being allowed on all four wheels next year (capped) the scope is huge.

  12. Howard Hughes says:

    Heady stuff. I wasn’t aware actually that the FIA’d backed down over the drivers’ fees. But regardless, Mosley is, as he’s proven time and again, vindictive enough, begrudging enough, and possessed of a long enough memory to always exact revenge on those who cross him. He’s a modern Machiavelli – the drivers must be confident that they can remain strong in unity, otherwise they could be picked off one by one in years to come by a vengeful Mosley for minor infractions.

    And isn’t it sad that what is meant to be an independant, objective regulator is in truth [mod] shaped round the whims of an individual?

  13. Pat says:

    Not sure how to comment on this article but did anybody else notice from the TV images available, only Button didn’t need to use the right hand side of his cockpit as a head rest through Turn 8 throughout the entire race ?

  14. PaulL says:

    In my view F1 this year should be testament to why a budget cap shouldn’t be in place.

    I think the big teams are well funded, resourced, and with the best people to build and develop a car due to their successes. If we’re without top teams and thus seats available for the top drivers, I see F1 continuing along the lines of this year where Massa, Hamilton, and Alonso, and Kubica scrapping for points places.

    Furthermore, I don’t see genuine heart-warming achievements like Vettel and Torro Rosso last year because the lower teams can vault up the order partly through rule changes which hurt the top teams rather than through building on genuine success steps and hard work. I don’t feel like all the achievements this year from Brawn have been genuine.

  15. Ray C says:

    Formula 1 is my favourite sport, haven’t missed a race in over 20something years,yet never attended one.
    Here in Australia, it’s late Sunday night in winter or the wee hours of Mon if it’s in the Americas.
    I’ll still get up at 2:45am Mon to watch The FOTA World Championship (8x3cars teams), as opposed to the F1 (midlife crises) c/ship.

    F1 is survival of the fittest, the #1 in F1 is there for a reason,and that should never change…but if it does, we’ll still follow the best drivers in the best cars, even if it was called Superfast Cars Number 1.

  16. Sinker says:

    James,

    Please check my understanding here, but I believe the only reason the budget cap was introduced was to prevent another Honda happening, i.e. to provide a way forward for manufacturer teams to stay within the sport without spending excesses and keeping the board of directors at BMW, Toyota et al happy?

    Or am I being naive here? Or was it simply a way to allow new teams to enter the sport? Or something more devious?

    If the former then I’m not sure how Mr Mosley can look in a mirror in a morning and be happy with what he sees. What FOTA are offering is exactly what he wanted.

    If the latter then he’s certainly achieved that, but at what cost? Even if FOTA capitulate and unreservedly join next year the sport will be a mockery of it’s former self and any power FOTA think they have will just be an illusion and the association may as well be disbanded.

    Between the FIA’s budget capped / non capped system and the FOTA offering; I’m with FOTA. Their offering seems to be more thought out, more relevant, better for [serious] new teams, better in the long run, better for the fans, simply much better for the sport.

    I think the following, all of which has come from FOTA members, would provide a better sport:

    - Limit updates to the cars to twice a year.
    - Reintroduce in season testing but make it two ‘events’ involving all the teams, the media and the fans, linked in with the above point.
    - Reduced cost of drive-train packages for new teams.
    - Cheaper materials (World First Racing have proved different, environmentally friendly materials can be used in a race car).
    - Remove expensive practices that the fans don’t really see (e.g. heating wheel rims).
    - No budget cap and only one tier!

    I like the first point because once the last updates have been fitted to the car the teams can all start concentrating on the next year’s car, thus avoiding the situation BMW, McLaren and Ferrari have found them selves in.

    I’m not so keen on removing fuel stops from the race. Surely, over the entire race, if the car is fuelled to the finish it’ll need more fuel than if it kept getting topped up, as it has to use more fuel to carry the increased weight around. That’s not good. Also, during the Practice sessions the teams will have to test high fuel, low fuel and then both again on the other tyre option. Fuel will be going in and out of the cars and there will have to be some mechanism for that (may as well be the current one). So what exactly is not being transported all over the world with the new proposal? More fuel’s going, refuelling rigs of some sort are going. What have I missed? I was sceptical at first when they first introduced mid-race refuelling, but it does add an exciting extra element.

    That’s enough for now, me thinks.

  17. I just don’t think Ferrari would be so intent on stirring up trouble through FOTA if they were winning races…

  18. milkboy says:

    I think Max will declare them void and just publish a list with Ferrari, Williams, Force India and 3-5 new teams.

    Ferrari will race next year due to their contract. They will make a lot of noise and threaten to pull out at the end of their contract, but by then they will have gotten used to things. They will push FOTA to carry on fighting, knowing full well that they are already in.

    At some point FOTA will break. One or two teams will break away and then we will see a scramble for places. I still think Toyota will take this opportunity to pull out.

    While I was completely against the cost-cap I must say I now agree more with Max. He has tried for years to bring down the costs, with little success. Has been very draconian in the way has introduced these new rules, but I think that comes from years of dealing with the teams. Additionally I think he hoped this would lead the teams to start talking seriously to him. While they did come up with a proposal, it was very last minute (and only after the shock announcement of the new rules. No drastic suggestions during the winter, when things really looked bad for everybody). Since then there has been very little give from the teams, being prepared to reduce costs, but on their terms and always leaving themselves the possibility to spend their way out of trouble. There has been a lot of shouting and saying we will not do it, not many productive suggestions. The attacks of Ferrari of their website were just pathetic and only harmed FOTA’s cause.

    I think Max felt enough was enough. He knows that both manufacturers and privateers are essential to F1. Manufacturers bring international brands, prestige and a lot of money, but they can pull out with very little notice. The privateers represent a lot of the history and spirit of F1, plus they usually stay in as long as they exist. As it stands today F1 has a two tier system. Small independent and new teams rarely have a chance to really challenge for a win or championship, due to the astronomical amounts of money spent by the large teams. Please don’t point to Brawn, we all know why they as an “independent” are currently succeeding.

    So after years of fighting Max decided to bet the house. And to me it looks like he is winning. With Ferrari in the pocket and enough teams to stage a world-championship next year he does not need to back down. Without Ferrari any other FOTA championship would not be a serious threat for at least 3-5 years. So they will eventually sign up. My guess is the next step after that is they might try and unseat him at the next FIA election (but that is a future story).

  19. Kookiez says:

    Hi

    Thanks for this site. I believe this has been mentioned before and I like the sound of it so thought I would run with it, apologies if I make no sense or if it a second rate gp2 as I admit I have no idea on gp2.

    How about having two divisions of F1 where both promotion and relegation take place. The premier league being uncapped and the second league being capped but running the same degree of cars. At the end of each season the bottom teams of the premier get demoted and the top of the second being promoted up. You can use the second division as a better support race and even its own race if wanted and allows these smaller teams to take part if they are successful they can make the step up to the premier teams where they may attract more sponsors thus being able to compete.

    This also allows the smaller teams to grow and not be in for one year only before they fail and lose as it would give them more support, again the main teams already in place could help out these new teams.

    Not sure if that makes sense but I would be happier to hear anyone’s thoughts on this as I love reading all your comments, thanks.

  20. Matthew says:

    I agree with Peter’s point about watching the best motor racing sports category out there.

    The FIA have got to come to common sense by July 12th and find a compromise solution to allow new teams to get financial and manufacturing help but still allow the top teams to design their own cars and spend their own budget. It would be very bad if Formula 1 were to split.

  21. stringy says:

    The FOTA should prove that they are serious. What they should do is try and organise a non-championship race, just the FOTA teams, probably running 3 cars each to make up the numbers. They should pick one of the classic tracks which has been dropped this year, such as Canada or France.
    I bet they would be able to draw a serious crowd.

  22. rpaco says:

    Whilst deviating from the subject as seems to be the trend on this particular thread, how about using Thursday as a test day on track at the venue with the third/test drivers allowed to drive. Then there would be time to try several more setups, new bits, dongles etc.
    Scrutineering can still carry on as before. In fact isn’t that what we used to have in the good old days before things were improved.

    If FOTA back down and accept all Max’s rules they will look like Gordon Brown after the Euro elections and FOTA will disband itself out of shame that they were such wimps. The only way is a split and I now think that likely to happen.

  23. Pauls says:

    Max Moseley has to be held responsible for the image that F1 is portraying. Now what is this image currently. For some it looks like a great soap opera and for others its frustrating, looks bad, and just want to see the best teams and drivers race against each other.
    If we see a split, then it will not be the case that F1 is the best showcase. Now the challenge for Max is to keep this principle alive. The problem as I see it is he is pushing the boundaries too frequently and without due engagement. This is not a sport about him, it is about the sport.

    His indiscretions are an indicator that he loves power and yearns for it, and this is starting to show. That he got caught, and has no where out, he is abusing his power onto the sport.

    Its time for him to resign. I would like to raise a call for him to step down.

  24. phil c says:

    F1 is the only manufactures world championship. Technically you should be building the car from scratch. I agree with standardisation of certain parts, Aero upgrades have been around for years, and for a reduction in costs it would help to an extent, but it will ruin the spectacle as teams wont be able to claw back deficits. Cost cutting should be done along the lines of standard univerisal parts which every team automatically benifits litke, standard rims, standard materials (non exotic) standard gear boxs, standard ecu, standard diffs. Design can be limited to aero and suspension design. You could also include a standard rear wing and diffuser which would help overtaking issues. But im not necessarily a fan of this it would better the show.

  25. George says:

    I agree with Phil, also if you make all the aero standardized the cars would look the same apart from the colour scheme, I already have enough trouble telling the red bulls apart (thought I was seeing quadruple in the race yesterday).

    Also correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the reason they froze the engines to begin with was because they were the most expensive component of the car to develop.

    I think Mosely had the right idea with encouraging technical freedom but limiting the budget. Of course the problem there is that the more you loosen the regulations the wider time spread you’re likely to get between cars.

  26. phil c says:

    Max knows he cant afford to have 3/4 of the teams leave. of these new teams, None of them have started to even design a car and apart from 1 maybe 2, i doubt any of them have enough funding to compete even with the cap. If the teams leave we may have some cars race, but lapping as slow as gp2, all sounding the same, and no big name drivers.

    The championship to watch next season will be FOTA world championship.

  27. Thomas in Adelaide says:

    Max is a stubborn old guy, and he is so out of touch with the world it’s not even funny.

    The previous two seasons WDC’s were decided in the final race of the season. Max/FIA come in with their brilliant new rules and what do you know, we end up with the most boring season in living memory in which the WDC has already been wrapped up.

    F1 is better off without Max and the FIA.

  28. Antoine says:

    You are more interested by the battle (outcome) than F1 itself. It dark days for real F1 fans.

    Look at soccer, how many people know who the FIFA president is? or even care…

    Bring back F1 plz, anybody

  29. Alistair Blevins says:

    I was mulling this over last night having read Mark Webber’s comment about the spectator turnout at the Turkish GP.

    I may be wrong but at no stage in the recent off-track politics have I read about the cost to the spectators as being an issue.

    With the economics of the sport under the microscope would it not also be wise for the powers-that-be to address the reasons for the empty grandstands we have witnessed in all but Australia and Monaco?

    Are the demands now being placed on the circuit owners so onerous that they must charge unreasonably high admission prices, or are these prices set by FOM?

    Regardless, we are now in the situation whereby circuits are now becoming increasingly vocal about their ability to host races in the future.

    The empty grandstands (and featureless circuits in the back of beyond) don’t do much for the spectacle on TV either…

  30. Rich says:

    JW you can’t apply “western” ideas of sustainability to the newly wealthy places in the Middle East. For them its all about status.

  31. George says:

    I think he said on the grid he wasn’t using the infamous cushion? Maybe he was the only one?

  32. George says:

    Haha love the title, hell I’d watch that.

  33. John Kilmartin says:

    That doesn’t really hold up.

    For one their salaries are outside the cap.
    Secondly if a team has sponsors money to spend and can’t spend it on the car there is nothing to stop them spending it of the other differentiator, the driver.
    Thirdly if they go to a new series the money will simply not be available there nor in F1 for some time.

    Lastly spending will come down massively regardless of whether there is a cap or not…so will salaries.

    There is no such thing as the status quo.

  34. Peter says:

    just a quick note there that there are at least 2 people called Peter that are interested in the politics of F1 and so it sometimes looks like we are both the same person. the above comment was not made by me.

    Having said that, the politics is fascinating. Allot more so than the racing this year. Some of us find the idea of a breakaway series finally shedding the shackles of FOM and FIA a thrilling one.

    What would you rather watch? a series with cars that are ugly and massivly restricted with empty grandstands and huge ammounts of money dissapearing into the ether, or a new series with the finest racing cars ever to grace planet earth with names like Ferrari and McLaren and the buzz of F1?

    The most frustrating thing is that i feel if they dont make thi split now then we will be talking about this yet again in 2 years time, and 4 years time and 6 years time……

    Peter (the other one)

  35. Peter says:

    ..and I am the other Peter who dos not need to be told what I am interested in. I have been working in the automotive business for ten years incl. motor racing and had been a professional sportsman for 17 years. So I do not think I am here for politics.

  36. MrExasperated says:

    Plus if you think about it, transporting the F1 circus to ever more far flung places will eat up more of the budget than if they kept more of the classic European circuits that have been disappearing off the calendar.

  37. Snail says:

    I don’t feel like all the achievements this year from Brawn have been genuine.

    So the Brawn is good by just “pure good luck”, rather than engineering excellence (and genuine hard work)? What rubbish.

  38. Rich says:

    Only if you want another IRL, Phil. And, personally, I think *one is quite enough.

  39. phil c says:

    Rich
    I understand what you are saying, however things like rims, ecu, engine etc etc are predominately standard anyway, why have 10 different sets of rims, they can all look different, provided they all cost the same money and weigh the same will limit money wasted. ECU is standard anyway. Steering columns and fly by wire technology are all identical in these cars, radio’s are identical etc etc. It is pointless having 10 designs for things which appear 95% identical across the grid. There is no competitive advantage in having different radio gear and simple straight forward parts.
    The only development that is essentially different is building materials and aero and suspension design. Capping the material will reduce cost significantly. You probably find, building material are identical at this stage any way.
    Development freedom should be allowed. In terms of cutting cost, standardisation of parts as suggested which are almost identical should be pursued. I think when the sport recovers the scope can be increased.

  40. Rich says:

    I’d agree. I think they realize Brawn is ahead this season only because they abandoned last season to concentrate on this one.
    So, they are going to do likewise and actually participate seriously only every other year.
    All this other “stuff” is just cover for their fiendish plot.

  41. GP says:

    jw1980,

    You are assuming that the only value Toyota gets is from winning races.

  42. jw1980 says:

    GP,

    without trawling through all the record books Toyota have achieved I believe a couple of poles and second place finishes. When they entered F1 surely they envisaged achieving more than that.
    May be I am wrong and essentially making up the numbers is their marketing strategy.

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