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Is there any talking to be done?
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Is there any talking to be done?
Posted By:   |  18 Jun 2009   |  6:14 am GMT  |  68 comments

A tense day ahead at Silverstone for everybody. The teams have proposed that the deadline be moved back to July 1st to allow more time for discussion but that was rebuffed by FIA president Max Mosley yesterday. The FOTA teams sent a letter to Mosley with suggestions for a compromise to the issue of budget caps, and the method of financial control,

“We detect… that a solution might be possible based on the FOTA resource restriction proposal but with measures introduced,” the letter said.

“We would propose in this respect that we nominate a top firm of independent accountants who will devise an audit methodology that will be implemented by all of the teams.

“This methodology and the annual results would be disclosed to the FIA… we can see no reason why such a system based on objective verification of compliance would not be acceptable to all parties.”

But later in the day Mosley wrote back in a letter which was widely circulated, with his version of a compromise he would be prepared to accept. Once again this was based on the teams all signing up unconditionally and then negotiating changes to the rules from within. Mosley has said repeatedly that there has to be a cap. He has offered for an ‘mutually acceptable auditor’ to be the investigator should policing be required.

Mosley confirmed that there would be no two tier system of rules, but that Cosworth, which has not built a new F1 engine for three years, would be allowed to run their engine unrestricted.

A letter will go out today or tomorrow in Silverstone requesting signatures from all the FOTA teams with the deadline Friday.

With their actions last week, the teams have got themselves into a position where they seem to be suggesting that a deal can only be done if Mosley doesn’t stay in his role. Mosley, for his part, is sticking to his guns.

Who will blink first?

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68 Comments
  1. Peter B says:

    Mosley wont go of his own accord [mod].
    The manufacturers have the board approval to withdraw, so they wont blink.

    If the manufacturers withdraw all support who makes the engines, so Brawn and co will go with the motive power wherever the manufacturers go.

    Williams may be nervous over their Toyota deal

    Going to be interesting

  2. Harveyeight says:

    The worry is that no one will blink. Mosley and FOTA are respectively holding guns to their own heads and threatening suicide unless the other drops their gun.

    FOTA is quite clear on its objectives: it wants Mosley’s power reduced as far as policing and punishing and especially with regards to any concorde agreement. Mosley ran roughshod over the previous one so cannot really expect the offer of a new CA will placate the teams. It would be, after all, merely a restriction on FOTA and not on Mosley.

    My concern is that Ferrari has already decided they will not remain in F1 unless Mosley is replaced or has his powers reduced considerably. They have other options. There is always the ACO’s LM series, seemingly enjoying a bit of a boost despite the current financial crisis.

    But this is British GP week. What should be on this blog is the likelihood of a British driver winning, whether McLaren will be just as bad, or whether Coulthard will lamp Eddie jordan. But instead we have the prospect of this being the last time Silverstone will be used and probably not GP in Britain next season. That would be bad enough but we also have the prospect of F1 without the big teams.

    I cannot see Mosley agreeing to have his authority reduced. I cannot see Ferrari staying in F1 without some compromise on Mosley’s behalf – over and above the umpteen he’s allowed already. I can’t see the manufacturers being too happy with their engines being restricted on power and Cosworths having no limits at all. And I can’t see a breakaway series being a practical alternative.

    That F1 has been brought to this. I can see GPs only running on sand and rice circuits. 60 years of history despoiled.

  3. Joaquín Correa says:

    I’m getting sick of this. Anyway maybe FOTA should sign in, they know the fans are with them (at least 85% according to the polls) and wait till October for the FiA electons and try to lobby against [mod] Max.

  4. easy, the teams will blink first. this is a good attempt that has failed. max will win and we will be stuck with him for another 4 years and he will be more powerful than ever before.

  5. Leon says:

    Isn’t it really unfair to allow Cosworth to run unrestricted? Surely by not competing in F1, they had 3 years in which they could do engine developement, not currently allowed to the F1 engine builders? If you want to compete in a series the current rules should apply to you. You cannot allow exceptions just because they are new.

  6. Ross Dixon says:

    Seems to me Mosley is trying to get the teams to sign up as he knows that not all the teams would agree (especially the new ones) on changing the rules. Then they would be stuck with them. Does Mosley think we are all stupid.

    Can someone start a petition on Twitter for a breakaway series????
    I would do it but have no idea how to as I have just joined

  7. Jay says:

    Going to Silverstone this weekend – hope all this BS doesn’t spoil the atmosphere!

  8. Finn says:

    I fear the teams will lose their collective nerve and cave in to Max.

    For the love of the fans, please don’t do that.

    If you build a new F1, we will follow.

  9. Lee Grant says:

    Once again, Silverstone provides great action!

  10. Iain Thacker says:

    Sadly I feel that the teams will ‘blink’ first – unless they really do wasnt a way out of F1. People talk of Toyota and Renault pulling the plug and looking for excuses but they’re prepared to commit to F1 until 2012 which shows that to not be the case.

    There are a number of FOTA teams that are, despite the name above the door, just racing teams and they can’t exit F1 without something concrete to go to.

  11. SteveK says:

    I’m now completely bored with the whole FOTA/FIA rubbish. Brawn and McLaren should just sign up for next year – after all, add the real numbers up (£40million cap, engine allowance, hospitality, drivers, etc., etc.) and the budgets stay about the same. Just hire a decent accountant and everyone will be happy.
    Fiat and the Red Bulls can whinge and moan but will still be there come 2010 – Torro Rosso should be sold to one of the new boys.
    Toyota, Renault and BMW need to make up their minds if they still want to play or make their excuses and just b**r-off – no great loss.
    So, 2010 will see Brawn, McLaren, Fiat, Red Bull, Williams, India, US, Manor, Campos, Prodrive, N Tech and Epsilon.

  12. Chris says:

    Presumably the teams will bite at Cosworth being allowed to run unrestricted engines? Of course the current engines have been modified in order for them to run as quickly as possible under the rev limit, but there’s bound to be some sort of advantage from that…

    If you allow Cosworth to run restricted engines then you have to let everyone. Might even help overtaking slightly, rather than everyone hitting the rev limiter halfway down a straight…

  13. Kirk says:

    Hope it’s Mosley – the man is recking F1. Sick and tired of his ego trip farce now.

  14. Tim says:

    Glad you’re keeping us informed James, a lot of the media, Autosport.com included, seem to be too nervous to say much this week.

  15. Ben G says:

    Surely allowing Cosworths to run unrestricted is a two-tier system by the back door?

    The new teams will take the more powerful, and cheaper engine, and begin with an automatic performance advantage against the manufacturers. Barmy.

  16. Ben says:

    “Mosley confirmed that there would be no two tier system of rules, but that Cosworth, which has not built a new F1 engine for three years, would be allowed to run their engine unrestricted.”

    What!? Surely this can’t be right? They would easily get 21,000rpm out of those engines! Compared with the other teams running 18,000rpm that would be a huge advantage!

  17. john g says:

    has max thought about the cosworth situation at all? their engines are 3 years out of date and other engines have moved on, so he says they can run unrestricted.

    current engines have been restricted to 18000rpm specifically so that they can last longer. therefore, these smaller teams, with smaller budgets are going to need more engines than everyone else (presumably with a special quickly thought up dispensation from the FIA). and given that cosworth apparently can’t even update their engines over the next 6 months, how are they going to be able to produce more than 8 engines for (at least) 3 teams! especially when they haven’t even been involved in F1 for a couple years and therefore don’t have the available workforce?

    as for the current situation, a lot of it is now down to trust. max says “sign up to teh current rules, then we’ll work together to change them. we might even agree to change governance”. there are no guarantees about either though, and would you want to commit to the next 3 years or so with him still in charge, still able to impose poorly thought out and arbitrary (and more often than not, costly) rules as he see’s fit, based on the pretence of saving money or making the sport safer? he needs to give some solid assurances that this isn’t a trap for the manufacturers.

  18. SiY says:

    The Cosworth factor was something which I hadn’t heard about until yesterday: they will be allowed to run to 2006 engine regulations, which I believe means a 20,000rpm limit and only two race weekends per engine.

    The justification for this, given by Max Mosley in one of the array of documents published by the FIA over the last day or two, is that Cosworth does not have time between now and the start of next season to do any work on tuning or reliability.

    Cosworth are in this position because they won the tender put out by the FIA as recently as October last year, but it now seems the basis of their tender was “we’ll dust off the manufacturing drawings for our 2006 engine, take it or leave it”. Apparently this was the best offer the FIA had, or was the most politically convenient… which surely suggests, as seemed likely at the time, that the whole charade of going out to tender for a single engine supplier for Formula One was another of Max Mosley’s classic bargaining techniques, to exert pressure on the teams to offer cheap engine and gearbox combinations to the independent teams.

    The FOTA manufacturer teams point out that they had far less time than is still available to Cosworth to adapt their engines to the engine freeze, rev limit and reliability changes in the rules. I would certainly agree with them that it seems unfair that they will be at an immediate disadvantage to any teams which choose to run the Cosworth. If the FOTA teams do end up in F1 next year (fingers crossed), I would not be surprised if Brawn and/or STR, which both submitted entries without specifying an engine supplier, end up with Cosworth.

  19. Rich says:

    Mosley never blinks first. He doesn’t even have eyelids.

  20. Caron says:

    But surely FOTA teams can’t sign up individually – it has to be none or all of them because of that $50 million bond that they all signed.

    If Mosley was serious about wanting a solution, he would surely move the deadline back to accommodate any individual teams who wanted to break away from FOTA and sign up.

    It seems to me from the FIA’s statements this week that they have just completely lost all sense of rationality and are actively working against a solution.

    As fans, we have zero power in all of this but it’s useful to note that over 5000 have signed a petition in support of the FOTA teams and on the only online poll FOTA’s lead is so big it’s almost embarrassing – 83% to FOTA, 7% to FIA and 10% don’t know.

    I’m feeling very gloomy about the whole thing – the thought of not seeing Ferrari, Brawn and Red Bull particularly race next year is in grave danger of becoming a reality.

  21. Glen says:

    In some ways I think this FOTA/FIA dispute detracts from the important issue of how the new regulations haven’t worked as planned this year.

    I don’t get excited by KERS induced racing, it’s too artificial. The system I think would be better deployed instantly to boost performance, rather than a limited driver-operated system to aid overtaking.

    Part of me hopes they would revert back to the 2008 regulations for next year.

  22. sean says:

    James
    When does the FIA expect an answer from the provisional teams.Could we have the scenario that 8 teams are excluded from next years championship but expected to practice/race this weekend.

  23. Alex M says:

    Moseley MUST GO ……….. it really is that simple. Trying to force a budget cap on the teams, seemingly “because I thought of it” at a moments notice, then threatening them rather than setting up sensible discussions is just plain idiocy and sums up why we must be rid of this power crazed old man.

    PlanetF1 has an excellent piece “10 Questions For Mosley” http://planet-f1.com/story/0,18954,3261_5384436,00.html that makes damning reading, Ed Gorman of the Times has stuck his neck over the parapet with this perfect summary of Moselsy’s deranged ‘governance’…..

    “I am not used to the Max Mosley style of governance which is: 1. Create a huge crisis; 2.Then stir it up as much as you can; 3. Bring the sport to the very edge of anarchy, and 4. Pull a spectacular iron out of the fire and claim you have won. I don’t know. I just find it hard to believe that a global sport and business of the stature of Formula One should, or needs to be, run in this manner. Did no one ever learn the lesson that a concensus-based approach is the best way ahead, especially when you are dealing with public companies?”

  24. Peter Hermann says:

    The FOTA holds the biggest part of the fans. There is no reason for them to ‘blink’, and i hope they won’t.

    I have yet to see fans with FIA- flags or placards. It would be like cheering for the referee in a soccer game, no?

    People go to see races because they are fans of the teams and/or the drivers, they don’t go there because they are fans of the FIA. Maybe Max forgot that.

    In my oppinion, he has to rethink his own role. He is turning everything into a courtroom, using the fans as his personal audience. Whats that to do with the sport? The less i see and hear of FIA the better. They are the referees; they have their position in the game and instead of trying to destroy it and blow the whole thing up they should be the ones to negotiate and compromise and helping to hold it together.

    P**g off the teams who put a lot of money into the sport and acting like a dictatory regime is not the way to do it.

  25. Chris says:

    I would assume that there would be legislation for this but…..
    What is there to stop Team A (one that is opposed to a budget cap) from starting up an independent company that carries out R&D for F1 technology. Then Team A obtaining information from the R&D company for say a nominal sum of €1 (well below the budget). The R&D company runs at a loss but are benefactors of “donations” from outside of their organisation. An R&D company might make a €200m loss but sells its company knowledge for peanuts to Team A.
    As I say, the FIA and others (who have been known for donating large sums of money to organisations in the past!!) have probably looked into loop holes like this. Does anyone have any ideas / views on this??

  26. Dominic J says:

    Who will blink first?

    Presumably sponsors, (or fans), followed by those teams most dependant on sponsors and fans.

    If the Red Bull pair, and Brawn are convinced that Mosley’s is a bluff worth calling, then so will the manufacturers.

    But I don’t remember Max ever blinking first in such a situation before….

  27. reason42 says:

    How can there be just one tier of rules when some teams will be running an engine based on 2006 specifications and unrestricted at that too? If this is not a logical contradiction then square circles exist.

  28. Sasquatsch says:

    There are two things which I don’t agree with!

    1. Cosworth running unrestricted.
    This will mean that the rules are not equal for everybody.

    2. breaches of the budget cap rules would be ‘financial against a pre-agreed formula.’
    This means that anyone can spend as much as they want. Because there is only a financial penalty, competitors can run in cars developed with huge amounts of money and can become world champion, and have an unfair advantage to someone running in a car developed within the budgetcap.

  29. Spenny says:

    What needs to be clearly understood is that Max is offering nothing. He is saying “make a binding commitment to race in 2010, regardless of what the rules end up being, and then if you can get everybody to agree to your rule changes without exception, then the FIA may let you change the rules.” He is saying he does not have the power to change the rules – though this is disingenuous because it must be possible to call together the WMSC and vote through a rule change to allow this.

    There is a reasonable chance that Williams would refuse to certain of the rule changes as it would seriously disadvantage them. I would presume that the other new teams might be reluctant to oppose given that there was a promise of technology sharing around.

    On the other hand, Max is claiming that he can let Cosworth run with an unlawful engine – he does not have the power to allow that rule change without the sanction of the teams surely? If he thinks he can without the blessing of the teams, then he can make any other rule changes if he so wishes. If I were FOTA, I would make it clear that they would not sanction such a rule change and no FOTA team will supply engines to new teams under the existing rules. How many entries would Max have then?

    I don’t see how the teams can sign up unconditionally – I think they will be forced to withdraw or give in to the rules.

    There is another nasty sting in the rules on engines. Brawn do not have an engine supply for next year, and the budget for engines for 2010 outside the cap is only for those with an existing engine supply agreement. Brawn could be seriously disadvantaged under the budget cap vs. the other teams.

  30. Darren M says:

    James, you’ve mentioned a few times before how people from inside F1 actually read these comments on sites like these to get an idea of what the fans think… well if that is the case then surely FOTA will realise that the true fans are on their side. I’ve read comments from so many people who, like me, seem to think that F1 has become so rotten, due to Max Mosley’s dictatorship and Bernie Ecclestone’s profiteering, that a breakaway championship would effectively be the lesser of two evils.

    I know it wouldn’t be perfect at first, and a lot would depend on any FIA/ Ferrari court cases, but in the long term it should be by far the best option. A lot of people are comparing this situation to the CART/ IRL split, but I think those two sides were relatively equal. If FOTA could get all the big races like Monaco on their side once there F1 contracts expire, F1 would have little going for it other than its name.

    Of course, it’s easy for us fans to say these things, but far more difficult for the people in charge of the teams, who could put their hundreds of jobs at risk if they make the wrong decision. But if FOTA could just be brave and stand up to Mosley for a little bit longer, hopefully the ‘good guys’ will prevail and we’ll come out the other end of this mess with a true sport, whether it is called F1 or not.

  31. mdubash says:

    It doesn’t really matter how good Mosley’s ideas are.

    That any sport should be run in such an unaccountable manner by just two men is unbelievable in today’s world.
    It seems to be little better than the one-man-show Balestre days.

    That’s especially so given that the teams – who, as they remind us, pay for the cars, the engines, the drivers, mechanics and designers, and then put on the show – seem to have no formal mechanism for input into the decision-making process other than quiet, behind-the scenes chats or today’s brinkmanship.

    F1 really needs to seize this opportunity to bring its decision-making process up to date.

  32. The Flying Finn says:

    Guess its over, ball back in FOTA’s court, Max forcing them to prove their unity and trust in each other to push through rule changes after signing up to his rules. And there is no odds long enough for me to make the bet that it would happen! Elegant way to make FOTA guys shoot at each other, now Brawn/RBR/Mac + whoever else .. will sign since of course they will stand by FOTA being able to stick together and push through changes afterwards … even knowing there is zero chance of that happening and they are probably secretly happy with a cap. Note how Ross was certain to be racing next year in the interview from couple days ago?

  33. roberto says:

    Small Poll,

    What will you do if you were Max Mosley?

    A) Accept teams new offer and leave at the end of the term.

    B) Accept teams new offer but with the condition that teams will support him for a new term.

    C) Keep your stance and if teams don’t accept it proceed to fill the spaces and get Ferrari and the Red Bulls to court

    Answer this as a reply and I will make the count at the end of the day.

  34. Fudce says:

    Max Mosley says that there wont be multiple tiers, but surely with unrestricted Cosworth engines there in itself is a seperate tier?

    I really hope there is a compromise reached before the end of tomorrow though, and one that doesn’t disadvantage either the newly arriving or the currently active teams. All of the politics and dealing is getting old. I watch Formula One for the racing, not the politics. If I wanted to watch old men arguing all day, I’d change the channel to BBC Parliament.

  35. Chris says:

    Mosley has to go.

    Who their right minds signs a contract without agreeing the terms and conditions first? I though he was supposed to be a QC, surely he knows this? I wouldn’t have my driveway resurfaced without first reading the contract, let alone a multi-million multi-year contract.

  36. gourami says:

    Looks like the FIA is being as reasonable as possible at this late stage, offering a 100M cap for 2010 and removing the two-tier formula, except for Cosworth being allowed to run their engines at maximum revs, possibly an unfair advantage, but anyways… oh yes, removing their pesky mother of all rule makers clause… so Ferrari, so Renault: if you truly don’t want to kill the sport as we know it, it’s time to walk halfway, no matter how outrageous the FIA has been, it’s not an excuse to e outrageous yourselves.

  37. Pete says:

    I really do hope this gets sorted out.

    James, if Cosworth are allowed to run their engines unrestricted, doesn’t that mean that they will have a huge power advantage? How does their 2006 V8 engine running at 20,000rpm compare to the current 18,000rpm ones?

  38. Leo Allen says:

    At around 23.59 hours Friday 19th June after a whole day of gloomy statements of impending doom, a settlement of sorts will be grudgingly agreed and then, with breathtaking insouciance, all will declare that they got precisely what they wanted out of the debate.

    Furthermore, each individual team or organisation will claim that their side won hands down…..

    Hey ho !… until the next cataclysm !

  39. artorwar says:

    I am sure I am not the only one who is beginning to feel somewhat alienated by this whole pantomime. I have been a loyal F1 fan since the days of Senna and Mansell, watching the old BBC broadcasts as a fresh faced young boy. Never since then have I felt so disconnected from the sport. We share a bizarre relationship with the teams, unlike football or rugby most of us will never compete in motorsport, save the odd karting day out. We are bound to these teams by passion and fascination and they are in danger of breaking this crucial connection. I have everything crossed that this soap opera will be over soon. I can see both sides of the argument, but they seem to be forgetting our side, the side that wants top flight racing without constant rule changes and the threat of financial ruination. Come on guys, fix up look sharp, to quote a wise wise man. We don’t need another horrible American-esque split series.

  40. Jon says:

    “Who will blink first?”

    Well.. if FOTA do blink then this entire thing will have been for nothing, and the problems of revenues and governance will be unsolved (which means more wacky FIA decisions in the future, and more favouritism).

    FIA punished McLaren 100 million for bringing the sport into disrepute. Ferrari on the other hand, Max said that F1 could survive without Ferrari, took away their veto because they were bringing the sport into disrepute and then FORCED them to join conditionally.

    So McLaren get 100 million fine and threatened to be booted in future (if they reoffend), but Ferrari is punished by having their name on an entry list that they don’t want. In other words, Ferrari can’t get booted from F1, even if they TRIED. Where as McLaren are targetted.

    I am not a McLaren fan, but even so it’s all a bit silly, and it’s not like these things will dissappear once the teams sign for 2010.

    Here is another one.. Max is now the champion of the privateers and wants to bring in new teams with the cap. But up until this season, he was one of the main reasons new teams couldn’t join because of a 50 million entry fee. Now he wants teams to have a team budget that is below the previous entry fee.

  41. Even if FOTA members hold a meeting at Silverstone and unanimously agree not to blink, do they have sufficient trust in each other not to sign their individual letters ?

    Could we find that, say, after the deadline, on last minute legal advice, Ferrari have signed up but nobody else has ?

    The position of McLaren looks very exposed here :

    I put the chances of their getting back on board in those circumstances as a lot less than zero.

  42. Fulveo Ballabeo says:

    If the teams blink, they’ll get the governance the deserve (and not the governance they want).

    Signing-up u-n-c-o-n-d-i-t-i-o-n-a-l-l-y based upon a future ‘opportunity’ to revisit governance? A fool’s errand. At that point, what leverage have the teams got?

    Plus, during his sex scandal, didn’t Mosley say he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2009? Does anyone think it looks like he’s bowing-out and releasing the reins of power? Mosley says what needs to be said to get past the issue of the moment. When he doesn’t follow-through, he deals with it then (or, thanks to short memories, people forget completely: ie- what sex scandal?)

    The teams have too often blinked in the past: that’s exactly how they’ve arrived at the (deserved) situation they’re in now. Stick together, however, and they can do what FOCA did with FISA. Blink again, and noone will ever believe they mean business. They’ll get the governance they deserve, and this whole thing will have been a massive waste of everyone’s time.

  43. Amazing, isn’t we all seem to agree, as do the vast majority on other forums.

    This really is the one chance the FOTA teams will have to rid themselves of Moseley and at the same time take control of the championship budget.

    If they back down now, they will only have themselves to blame when Moselely screws them over again and CVC will continue to take $500m out of the sport every year :

    Yes, that really is $500m p.a. ( Source Autosport.com )

    How many new teams could FOTA assist for that amount of money ?

  44. Mike says:

    Regarding the engines, couldn’t they tune them down? I remember Minardi having tuned down ferrari engines to comply with standards in the past.

  45. Caron says:

    This isn’t a comment as such, and is not for publication, but I’m wondering what I’ve done to offend as I’ve made a couple of comments that you haven’t published in the last few days.

    I certainly haven’t intended to cause offence and I don’t think I’ve said anything defamatory about anything or anybody.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been blocked from anything in my life, so I am a bit concerned that I’m doing something wrong somewhere.

    If you could find the time to drop me an e-mail after the weekend to explain what the problem is, then I can work on wording my comments in a way that makes you able to publish them.

    Cheers

    Caron

  46. The Kitchen Cynic says:

    I’m reminded of the drivers’ strike where they bunkered down in a hotel and Elio De Angelis played piano.

    Will we have the FOTA team principals locked in a backroom of the BRDC building as midnight approaches?

  47. Rudy Pyatt says:

    I look forward with hope and pleasure to a breakaway. Here’s why:

    FIRST: All of those wringing their hands over an IRL/CART scenario are citing the wrong precedent. The real model is the CART/USAC split of 1979, a split that occurred after the team owners got fed up with arbitrary rule making and governance, and inequitable commercial arrangements. Sound familiar? The teams took control of the top tier of open wheel racing. USAC was left with one big name (AJ Foyt) for awhile, and a bunch of under financed and under prepared teams — so much so that at least one post-split USAC race used upright front-engined cars to fill out the field. And you can look that up.

    SECOND: The CART teams, in other words, had the guts to do what F1 teams never have. FOTA is exactly equivalent to CART, the FIA (capricious, dictatorial, with governance and rule making done by an older generation clinging to power, threatening dire consequences to those daring to challenge them) to ’79-era USAC. History shows that CART went from strength to strength for almost 20 years and that USAC sank to regional status, never again achieving the prestige and significance it had pre-split. Whither then (wither?) the FIA post-split?

    THIRD: The dire threats of lawsuits against the FOTA teams by Ecclestone and Mosley are again pre-figured by the USAC/CART wars. USAC tried to prevent the CART teams from racing at Indy in retaliation for the split, a move rejected by the courts via injunction. Given the state of EU anti-monopoly laws and regulations, there is no reason to believe that the FIA and FOM will achieve a different result in the event of a FOTA/FIA split.

    FOURTH: Someone may have numbers to prove me wrong, but a FOTA/FIA/FOM split will not allow a NASCAR-style takeover of public attention and sponsorship: There is no sign of another series on the rise with new young stars and recognized veterans as NASCAR was in the early and mid-1990s, ready and able to fill the void. LeMans remains significant — with Indianapolis, one of two races even non-race fans have heard of — and doubtless the factories will now mount campaigns there of varying degrees, with or without a split. But the LeMans Series is certainly not in the already strong position NASCAR held at the time of the CART/IRL split.

    FIFTH: There are plenty of places to race, and, unlike the situation here in the USA after the CART/IRL split, multiple highly visible TV outlets for FOTA to stay in the limelight. To name only three broadcasters, ITV, Eurosport and ESPN are all experienced in, and quite capable of, putting an open-wheel show on the air. Eurosport, after all, has already demonstrated affinity for a series outside the sponsorship of the FIA with the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.

    As to venues, it would be more tedious than difficult to list them all — for present purposes, it is enough to observe the following: France is off the calendar; Great Britain is in danger of the same; there are no races in the Americas save Brazil; Belgium has been on and off the calendar over the past decade; Austria is long gone; the races in Germany and Italy are financially untenable, as is Australia, where Bernie is making the same sort of take it or leave it rumblings with which he bludgeoned Silverstone and Indianapolis off the calendar.

    In short, without government support for the venues there, the FIA (via FOM) has priced itself out of everywhere an audience already exists, as opposed to where audiences have to be built up from scratch. There are MULTIPLE internationally/FIA/FIM graded venues in all of those countries, enough that you could have two rounds in many of them. That they may lack the ultra glitz facilities demanded by Ecclestone is of no moment, and probably to the good. Costs will automatically be less for the track owners because they won’t have to continually upgrade to Monaco-style glamour or Sepang-style gigantism.

    Put it this way: If Brands Hatch, Assen, Road Atlanta and Philip Island (to say nothing of Silverstone and Indianapolis) are good enough and safe enough for MotoGP or World Superbikes and their national equivalents, FOTA cars will pose no problem. Maybe Long Beach will come back into the schedule, a move long coveted by Ecclestone.

    SIXTH: A GPWC has been talked about for so long that it would be surprising if a plan isn’t already in place and ready to execute for next season. The apparent FIA/FOM assumption, complete with ultimatums and dismissive insults, that FOTA has nowhere to go and has no choice but to remain with them, is, therefore, dangerous.

    If FOTA has the courage to pull the trigger, they’ll win. Let’s see if they have the guts. I hope so.

  48. phil c says:

    If i were the teams, i would tell the FIA to get lost. See how long it will take for the F1 owners to tell the FIA to bugger off.

    Not only will f1 be restricted to an unrealiable cosworth engine which will cost millions to spec up none of the teams will have an ECU or a gearbox, i see it impossible the new teams could build a car anywhere in comparison to the current spec mclaren let alone brawn or williams and no doubt money would leave the sport in the 100′s of millions. Tracks would sue, tv networks would sue, sponsors for the new teams would renegotiate deal, products outside of f1 like minchamps and other side deal would be sueing as there contract rights have no been fullfilled.

    What will happen then. The whole industry would be turned on its head.

    The reason for this and qiuetly supported by Bernie and CVC is if spending is capped, the teams have no finanical arguement to ask for a more equal share of the money earned. Were they should be recieving 90% of total revenue, they are only getting 50% of tv revenue. Cap spending they are almost breaking even with money distruibuted vs money spending. CVC and Bernie is happy as there wallets are looked after and they continue to screw the sport.

    Teams must leave and make this hurt the FIA, Bernie and CVC financially. Once they feel the pain, with lawsuits and viewing numbers dropping in there 100′s of millions and contract breahes all over the world they will have no option. Not only this the f1 brand would be worth 1/3 of current value.

  49. graham says:

    Breakaway! Hallelujah!

    Max can stuff it! Silverstone 2010 possible! Bye bye Bernie and CVC.

    Where can I buy my tickets now?

  50. Steve says:

    They have carried out their threat… http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8108488.stm

    It’s going to make for an interesting weekend!!!

    Steve

  51. Snail says:

    If I wanted to watch old men arguing all day, I’d change the channel to BBC Parliament.

    Boom, Boom! I thang you.

  52. Julian Smallwood says:

    Agree. I have never built an engine but as a novice would Max allow me to bring a Jet in the “one tier” system?

  53. Snail says:

    Completely agree. They have protested then folded too many times. Time to call his bluff and start a better run series.

    Short term, it’ll be expensive.
    Long term, they’ll win and reap the rewards.

    F1 is finished without the big names.

  54. Michael C says:

    Well said. I’m not sure what the consequences will be if FOTA stick together and call Max (and Bernies?) Bluff – but after all this I’m not sure if I really care any more either.

    It certainly seems time that this show was in the hands of more than two individuals where the rug can be pulled (so to speak) from under the competitors at will.

    Perhaps the scenario of a farcical US type British Grand Prix this weekend (sorry Jenson and Rubens) – as referred to elsewhere on this site over the last few days -would demonstrate to Max where the power lies

  55. Nika Wattinen says:

    Exactly – I could not have said it better myself! You and I should head up the Formula One Supporters Association (FOSA, for short) and demand a seat at the table.

  56. Julian Smallwood says:

    It surely comes down to “will Luca blink?”

    I hope he doesn’t, otherwise it’s classics for me….

    Max did this to keep manufacturers in (ostensibly) but if they baulk now they should leave.

  57. James Allen says:

    That’s enough long posts, please. Keep them to 200 words max, especially at busy times like British GP weekend (moderator)

  58. phil c says:

    Great read and yes they did have the guts.

    The losers out of this are FIA, F1, Bernie and CVC. The winners will be the fans. We get the same product for 1/3 of the cost. Hell even half the cost.

  59. virtualmark says:

    Rudy, I see James’ comment about the length of your post, but god bless you all the same. Good stuff.

  60. Frenchie says:

    Oh well, it looks like they had the guts to pull the trigger.

    Great analysis mate – well done.

    I look forward to Philip Island next year!

  61. David T says:

    Brilliant post, give that man a Gold medal.

  62. James Allen says:

    Yes, of course and at the rest of the races this year

  63. James Allen says:

    The Cosworth is 3 years old and heavy and thirsty. Even more thirsty at 20,000rpm and still not as powerful as a 2009 engine, then factor in no refuelling so you are carrying around a lot of extra fuel at 3/10ths sec per lap for every 10kg – doesn’t sound too competitive to me

  64. artorwar says:

    Now thats a great idea! Can you imagine how much more complicated it would be if there was another partisan organisation stirring the pot? FOSA does sound like a damn good idea and I would imagine we would get a fair few members, but what do we know, we’re just the fans….

  65. Rudy Pyatt says:

    Sorry about that. As you can tell, I’m wound up over it!

  66. Widefoot says:

    A long post, but well thought out and informative. I really
    like the analogy he made on the CART/USAC split.

  67. ROBATCLAXBY says:

    Chris, MAX is a barrister, but surely not a QC. Otherwise Prince Phillip would have been made King by now,with a Whip, instead of an Orb. or Max himself would be KING.

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