Two days to go until the entries are announced for the 2010 F1 world championship and the situation is finely balanced.
The FIA has said that there is ‘no question’ of the Concorde Agreement being signed by Friday and Max Mosley has urged the FOTA teams to make their entries unconditional (there are strings attached currently) in order to change the system from within.
The idea would be that once they had all signed up to be budget capped next year, they could then agree a new set of rules which was more in line with FOTA’s suggestions. But it has proved notoriously difficult to get unanimous agreement in the past.
His letter to the teams said, “It is of course up to you, but the simplest way to ensure that all entrants run under the same rules would be if everyone entered under the cost-cap rules as published and then all entrants cooperated to agree modifications to those rules which would make the proposition workable for all parties.”
The plan would then entail FIA looking at FOTA’s proposals for next year. This looks to me like Mosley’s way of saying, “We can give you want, but I need a win from this.”
And that is probably what it boils down to now. I think the teams might be happy for Mosley to be seen to have won, as long as they get the key elements they want, which is not to have a budget cap and to re-instate the rule making procedures laid out in the Concorde Agreement.
Meanwhile the teams have been letting it be known that they have examined the option of an alternative series. Carmelo Expeleta, the Bernie of Moto GP was in the F1 paddock recently and there are rumours that his organisation, Dorna, has been approached about helping the FOTA teams fast-track a 2010 world championship. I’m not sure that there is any truth in that.
Some of the recent F1 venues no longer on the calendar have been sounded out about hosting events.
I’m not sure anyone has the stomach for a split. It would destroy a good business and neither side would win ultimately, because the public would get confused and lose interest as they did with boxing and with CART/IRL in the USA.
I don’t think either side is feeling totally confident about their position.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said on Sunday that “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.”
FOTA responded to Mosley’s letter, but no details of what they said have emerged. It was suggested that a deal was imminent, but team sources I have spoken to today say that is not the case.
The FOTA team principals met today in London. Afterwards Domenicali commented on the theory that the FIA will publish an entry list on Friday with Ferrari’s name on it, because they consider Ferrari to have a legally binding contract, “Ferrari’s position has not changed,” he said. ”
Back on 29 May, we put in a conditional entry with the other teams that make up FOTA. Along with this entry, we put forward to the FIA a package of proposals which included among other elements, a significant reduction in costs. As always, we will do all we can to find a solution that is acceptable to all parties. If this is not possible, then the FIA will not be able to include Ferrari in the list of teams entered for the 2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.”
Meanwhile Bernie Ecclestone has issue a threat to sue FOTA in the event of a breakaway, should they attempt to take away any of his contracted properties, like broadcasters or circuits. Speaking to Bob McKenzie in the Express he said, “Apart from my contracts with teams, if somebody went to any of our contracted people, companies, television contractors, we would view it very seriously.
“That would be inducement to breach contracts and I don’t do that myself, so I won’t stand back and let it happen. Any action could run to hundreds of millions of pounds, who knows how much?”