F1 Winter Break
Mosley expects half F1 field not to enter
Mosley expects half F1 field not to enter
Posted By:   |  18 May 2009   |  3:46 pm GMT  |  67 comments

FIA president Max Mosley has said that he expects perhaps half the current F1 field not to lodge an entry by the deadline of May 29th. This deadline is now less than two weeks away.

Tomorrow the Ferrari injunction against the FIA over the process by which it drew up the 2010 rules package will be heard at the High Court in Paris. If the injunction succeeds it opens the way to a full legal challenge of the way the rules for next season were drawn up.

“I think that we will probably get anywhere between three and six teams by the deadline, depending,” said Mosley, he told Autosport.

“After that they become a late entry and if there is a space they can take it, and if there isn’t space they cannot.

“They have to make up their minds what they want to do. If they want to continue racing in F1, then they can come and talk. And if they want to go and do something else, then they have got to start making a car.”

There are believed to be several teams seriously thinking about entering a team in the 2010 world championships, including Lola, Prodrive, USGPE and GP2 team I Sport.

One of the options for the manufacturers is to start their own series and, as it happens, they commissioned a detailed study into the feasibility of this when they were formed into the Grand Prix Manufacturers Association a few years ago. But that was at the height of the economic cycle, when car sales and media rights were at a peak.

Now the landscape is very different.

It is a huge undertaking to start a new series and there couldn’t be a worse time to do it, with the car industry in a once in a generation global crisis. The manufacturers involved in F1 all have far bigger problems to deal with than investing heavily to start their own series. This is the calculation Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone are making.

They could join forces with an existing series, but in either case one of the hardest parts would be getting a really good television package together, because without that there would be no sponsors and no wider media interest. The deals for F1 are signed up well in advance and with many of the world’s leading broadcasters, like the BBC. A split, whereby Ferrari and other manufacturers race in one series and Brawn, Force India, Williams and others are in Formula 1 would not work for either series.

F1 would be a pale shadow of its former self and the new series, despite Ferrari’s presence, would be quite a tough sell in the current TV market. They would probably be able to get some prominent space with terrestrial broadcasters if they offered the coverage for free, or subsidised it but it would be extremely hard to sell rights to a new series for the many millions F1 commands.

Something similar happened in America with the Indycar series in the mid 1990s when Indianapolis boss Tony George split with the CART teams, so what had been Indycar was forced to rename itself Champ Car and lost its most famous race, the Indianapolis 500. TV deals were divided and it was a disaster for both sides, one they have yet to recover from.

I don’t think it will come to this, but there is no doubt that were are passing through a very painful moment for the sport.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

James, I'm just curious, would it be possible for Bernie E. to go with Ferrari et., al. and use his television contracts to air a breakaway series and abandon F1 and the FIA in the event that all the big teams decide to leave F1?

Chris Johnson

I don't think the manufacturers will commit to a new series, but if they did, it would a million times better than Brawn vs Williams vs Force India vs Anonymous New Team.

Is there any better way for the teams to get what they want -- better governance, a bigger share of the money, rules stability, etc.?


Why not stop being irrational Max and sit down and discuss what an acceptable level of budget cap is to the current F1 teams?

A budget cap should be a 'cap' not a 'chop', in my opinion. With the cap at £40 million, everyone will spend £40 million - a 'chop' - and that's not acceptable to to some teams. Set the cap at £100 million or so and some teams will use it all, and some won't, depending on how successful they are, and it will operate as a true cap - an upper level of spending.

It should not be this difficult to agree a reasonable level of budget cap. One party is clearly not doing their part (looking at the FIA).


But Mosley is assuming that the breakaway teams will want to carry on racing immediately in 2010.

In fact, for a manufacturer, a year's pause would be perfect. They can save costs while the global economy recovers and they repair their balance sheets.

Then, in 2011, after a year spent sorting TV and circuit contracts, they can go racing free of Max's onerous regulations, and Bernie's tight rein on the cash.

It'll happen!


I absolutely agree that a breakaway series is a huge undertaking financially, and not the best idea in the current economic situation.

However, in my opinion, F1 has been a walking corpse for many years. Both FIA and FOM are killing/have killed the sport.

FIA because of their meddling with the rulebook, in a dictatorial fashion. I think FIA should be referees only - they should have a seat at the rulemaking table, but should not be able to push *any* rules through, nor should they hold a veto over the competitors.

FOM because of the huge debt they have gotten the sport into.

It would be far better in the long run, if FOM were dropped altogether, and the FIA put into it's place. A shame the new series couldn't take the name "Formula 1/F1" - however painful, it is the right choice.

The current mess between FIA/FOM cannot be allowed to continue.


I do not agree that setting up a new series would be that hard...

Absolutely most of the fans ( an no doubt track owners/promoters and tv channels) are sick of the madness of the FIA, and hard line negociating by Bernie.

Do you think Silverstone or Canada, or Hockenheim etc would say no to the series. Plenty of TV channels such as Eurosport would jump at the chance. I think the BBC would have a case against Bernie for not providing the product they bought into.

TV revenue would not be an issue, and with the manufacturers getting 100%, they could do a better deal than Bernie could.

Courage is what is needed.

Yes times are hard, but the oportunity to make the cost cuts the manufacturers want, but done in their way, could lead to profits even by independants, but without the overheads of Bernie, or the bureacracy of the FIA.

The series should belong to the teams... not the FIA and Bernie.

James couldyou let us know how on earth it ended up being a Max and Bernie show. Some time ago, I remember that the FIA could only impose rules on Safety grounds... somehow at some point that changed to ' the rules Full stop'


If the new series had all the 'big teams' currently in F1, including Ferrari, then surely it would be regarded as the 'real' F1 and TV deals would not be that hard to come by.

I woldn't be surprised if some current F1 TV deals are contingent on Ferrari being in the series.


Did you see the Mosley interview James on BBC website?

Two reasons I bring it up, 1 - because Max dropped names and gave details away. Naughty, but that's Max for ya, more political games to break unity of the teams. 2 - He said Howett from Toyota tried to get them to leave the meeting and they ignored him.

It's interesting that Toyota are making so much noise about the cap. All the media are focussing on Ferrari. NO ONE has focussed on RBR at all, even though they were the first to announce their threat. But for Toyota..

If Toyota have had the (little) success they have had so far by spending so much.. imagine how they would be with the same budget as everyone else.

Still, no one in the media has talked about all the changes in the 2010 regulations, other then the cap, things like how they give penalties, and basically arming themselves with more power to control the teams. But what can ya do.


Interesting that Max says the FIA are happy to sanction a manufactures breakaway series, which actually removes a major obstacle to it happening.

However, the pre-split Indycar was the best racing series I ever saw. I remember Montoya brushing wheels with Michael Andretti and the concrete wall at 240MPH as he crossed the line at Michigan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5AoTROb0H0), and Zanardi's legendary charges through the field - but the series was killed off because of the split (Thanks Tony).

There is a lesson there for F1.
(Although I cannot really see a series run by the manufactures working long-term...)


I feel for the majority of the people working for the Formula One teams and their suppliers right now. Amidst the political games and wrangling of those in charge, it is the people working at the sharp end whose livelihoods and futures that are on the line. The uncertainty of the situation must be awful for them.


The 2010 regulations as published give the FIA total power and control, with the right to change the rules at any time, as they have just done to SEAT in WTCC. They can also change the budget, not just from year to year but from team to team if you appeared to overspend. What sort of shifting quicksand is this on which to build a racing series?
I understand Lola thinking this is an ideal moment to get into Formula One but they have been around long enough to see that long term planning is impossible with these rules. Perhaps if the new teams promise to be loyal and do as they are told they will get a special bonus.
I quite like the fact that Max is saying more and more while the teams are saying nothing as Friday week gets ever closer. I can't see the FIA changing the regulations without perhaps some prompting from the EU parliament and if they don't I believe the manufacturers would be devaluing their worth by signing to race against the new teams [if any are silly enough to sign up to the present rules].


It's going to be a very interesting 3 or 4 weeks.
I think the idea of teams setting up their own series would be disastrous; better to be joining F1 than leaving it right now...


The row is of course no longer about the budget cap. Hasn't been for a long time. Max has given so much ground that the cap is a pale shadow of its former self at anything up to £100 million per annum. Whatever you desire. That being the case, as is indisputable, you have to ask what all the current histrionics are about. Pretty obvious isn't it? It's about Ferrari making a stand and establishing its unchallenged (and unchallengeable) supremacy over Formula One, regardless of the havoc they cause in the process. It's about Ferrari's right to be above any form of regulation and control by the sporting body which has to make the rules for Formula One. Of course without rules, no sport of any kind can exist for five minutes, but mere trifles like that are never likely to worry the team that "made F1".

Perhaps the biggest joke of all about this ongoing farce is the way Ferrari has gathered some poodles to tag along behind them. Those poodles are teams whose very survival next year might well depend on the application of a measure of financial discipline to a sport that got into the habit of spending like there's no tomorrow. Or is it simply a way of wriggling out of committing to spend money that isn't there any more, owing to the plunge in car sales, by contriving to blame someone else (Max) for their exit?

It's a funny old world, isn't it?


Well if it does split like Indycar, at at least we wont have to watch cars driving in circles with no timing information other than the speed at one point on the track, which is what Americans seem to have to put up with.

The year that Indycar was televised in the UK, (because Noige was in it) there was no info on lap times, gaps who was catching who, tyres, fuel loads, setups, or anything other than speed at one point. Having watched the series then I could only think that it was the high likelihood of mass pileups that got the audience there in the first place an extremely "dumbed down" form of racing---boring!

No, if F1 is diminished then it will have to be LMS, the only other well known formula which allows full technical development (why did I say other? scratch "other")

Did you note Max's assumption that the FIA would automatically be involved with a breakaway series on the safety side? Last thing they would allow I should think. F1 has many qualified people to take that on, as it does to handle the tv/promotion and money side, hopefully kicking Bernie into touch as well. A new arrangement where all teams got a proper share would be welcomed, back room, under the counter deals favouring one team could be a thing of the past.

Before, when the field was over-full, we had pre-qualifying and plenty of DNQ's which must have been heartbreaking for the teams concerned as they didn't even justify their sponsor's expenditure by circulating last.

So if Ferrari et al, do come to be the last late entrant and the field is full will Max turn them away?


James, great site, great post, but please update the GP tables and results... Spain should have gone up ages ago and it's Monaco in a few days away...



I have lived and loved this sport for 30 years and feel sickened at what it's become. Particularly as it's in the midst of one of the greatest comebacks in sporting history. That's what we should be talking about. That's what the sport needs to focus on. The Hardest Button to Button, the flowering of Vettel, Mark Webbers brutal determination to succeed, Alonso's magisterial talent, Hamilton's coming of age and Massa's spectaculary ill-considered facial hair. But, instead, we are forced to look into the [mod] eyes of Max Mosely and consider his limitless self-interest. He has come to embody the sport more than the drivers and, as such, makes us all look bad.

All right-minded followers and fans of F1 should petition the FIA to have him removed.


I think it will be a disaster if more than 1 or 2 manufacturers leave. Just imagine Monza every september with no ferrari in the field!! would there be any fans there? I went in 2005 and probably saw tifosi at its lowest in recent years but...it would be a disaster if ferrari left F1.

Just interested to know James how you think the BBC would react if all the manufacturers left F1. Presumably they would very much regret doing the deal with Bernie?! I think F1 would be crap with the manufactuers - would lack so much gravitas which is exactly what, for me, A1 GP lacks.


Again... excellent piece James.

Right now if I had to pick one and a 50:50 choice was available to me, I would choose to watch the manufacturers series.

As you quite rightly say though, I don't think the manufacturers can gather boardroom will to even plan such a proposal, never mind take it to the shareholders at the moment.

No wonder B & Max feel they're holding the trump hand but also want their next signing to be a long-termer... the manufacturers must be thinking that if they could only bide their time for another season or 2 until the economy finds its feet again....

Could always sit it out but then they'd lose all their talent to the competitor series in what will become F1.

Tricky.... it's become the highest stakes poker game in the history of gambling.

Whatever happens, the outcome of this is going to be momentous.


I really do understand Hamilton, even though I am surely not his greatest fan, but me too, I am so tired of this, old men fighting against car makers, it is just not working.
Mosley wants to go back to old times, weak teams and an almighty FIA, but these days are long gone, Ecclestones just thinks about how much money he can squeeze out of everybody, but who really cares about the sport and its fans, nobody it seems. Maybe this is just the way it is, but it is sad, nonetheless



I am getting a kinda feeling that MAX taking his bluff too far this time. I feel this is part to self destruction. Since bernie has also more or less shifted his camp towards the team.

Can this be the end of MAX in F1? . i have this doubt since it was ferrari with its clubs that saved him from being thrown out of his chair last time. wonder what will happen if ferrari is on the opposite side this time.

I also have a wicked feeling that Ferrari was behind the NEWS OF THE WORLD story and that why MAX is going all guns blazing on them. who knows?????


Can Bernie and Max be divided and conquered?

The bottom line for me is whether their bond is stronger than Max's desire not to give his [mod] ego any chance to deflate or Bernie's mission never to use any of his own readies to pay [ ] enormous debts...


I am surely not the greatest fan of Lewis Hamilton, but, me too, I am tired of F1 politics, spying, rule changes, ugly cars, diffusors, budget caps, you name it.

It is just old men against car makers, again. Mosley wants to go back to old times, weak teams and an almighty F1. Ecclestone only thinks about how much money he can squeeze out of everybody (going as far as dropping a British GP, really, no car manufacturers series could do worse than that.) But who cares about the fans of F1 all over the world, apparently nobody. This is really sad...


I'm not sure I hold with this idea that the "manufacturers" are the be-all and end-all of F1.

I've just looked at the entry list for the first GP I attended, 18 years ago. Renault, Honda, Ford and Lamborghini were all involved, but as engine suppliers only. The only "works" teams in the line-up were Ferrari and Lotus.

The sport seemed to get along back then and I'm reasonably confident it would get along in future. Brawn v Williams v Force India (Jordan) v "Anonymous New Team" (let's say Lola, who managed about half of that 1991 race with Aguri Suzuki 8 years before Toyota had even thought about getting involved) would be a series of proper racers with a bit of variety.


This does appear to be a knife edge moment for F1. Will the manufacturers break away? I have to be honest and think, no. I believe this will be brinkmanship of the highest order, but at some stage an agreement has to be reached.

I'm not a Ferrari fan, and have been critical of the apparent bias from the FIA to them over the years (a bias which is now confirmed by the veto clause), but much as it pains me to say it, F1 would miss Ferrari. Not so much the other manufacturers, but Ferrari is an essential name to F1.

A different question, James: if there were to be a breakaway series, which would the drivers favour? I presume that they would have to follow their contracts - or maybe there are escape clauses if the team does not compete in F1. Could we have the best drivers split across two series? I suppose ultimately one series will attract the best drivers, and whichever one that is will become the premier series...


I to saw the interview on the BBC the impression I got was this is a man who will not back down this isn't about what's best for the sport it's him thinking Im right and to hell with anyone else.He has yet not given a breakdown of how the budget was come to just that he now's it will work.
In regards to a TV deal it is a matter of getting a meeting and as long as you have the right names in the field you will get the money in reality with the amount of publicity there would probably be a bidding war.
In regards to the tracks they could use all the countries that bernie has dumped and with ferrari's profile in the middle east they would get all those races .
The biggest hurdle would be MONACO but I personally believe they would go with the teams as they wouldn't want to close down their streets for a bunch of nonames.
Remember that the only people moaning about the price of F1 is MAX all the teams want is to reduce cost's at a reasonable time frame.All MAX seams to be interested in is the right's of the new team's they seem to take priority over everyone else I hope he enjoy's sitting in a empty stand watching a field of nobodies and wondering what happened .We all know that won't happen he'll have jumped off the sinking ship like the rat he is.


Without the major teams, the TV companies (and the fans) will pull out of F1 and break their contracts with Bernie. Hardly anyone will watch a bunch of third rate teams and third rate rules .... F1 lipstick on a pig just won't be enough to save third rate F1. Remember that the best drivers will follow the best teams and their money.


I would be dancing with joy if Ferrari leave F1. They bluffed with their threat and Max called them out on it. The court case is a desperate attempt to save face.

Stop whining and quit already. Shut the door on the way out. No one will miss you.


I think the real question is: how serious are Lola, Litespeed, Prodrive, USGPE, ISport et al.?

We had this before in the recent past, when the FIA said it was going to allow customer cars and invited tenders for the 12th franchise (we still had Aguri at the time). There were many applicants, although arguably none were really all that serious/plausible, and indeed the one that did "win" (Prodrive) were effectively stymied because Max basically couldn't get the proposed rules through - which is a scenario that could easily be replicated if the manufacturers try haggling with the FIA over the rules.

Anyway, even with the current cap, it's still a formidable amount of money to raise for a new team. If I squint, I can just about believe USGPE are serious, as they seemed to plan to come into the sport before any budget cap was ever the plan (unless they knew something we didn't). I don't doubt there will be other teams who will "evaluate" the situation, but can they really deliver? I'm not overly convinced.



I'm curious to who will replace Bernie when he dies. Is all of this madness soon to be gone with Bernie growing near the end?

Also, who's up for election to replace Max and are we to expect the same from the FIA in yrs to come?


We have written the letter in Ferrari.


Dear friends,

We thank you so much for your e-mail and your support.
We hope everything will be sorted out.

Best Regards
Melissa Cavicchi
Ferrari Press Office


Some of the manufacturers have showed alredy that they can make a pretty strong series such as DTM...I would not underestimate them. They still have a couple of very clever people on board in every area, too and how about getting partners like Red Bull and Co. or Eurosport and other national sports channels to support them.


Those suggesting that the FIA should just be a "referee" and have a "seat at the rulemaking table" sound like they want the teams to drive the sport.

But the teams have vested interests - the manufacturers want to create rules that benefit them more than independents.

Because they're trying to _spend_ their way to success. And until the rule changes that came in this season, you'd have to say it was (mostly) working for them.

With a level playing field - an attainable budget cap - all the competitors are forced to compete. At an engineering level.

Someone that _isn't_ a competitor needs to set and enforce the rules. The FIA seem to understand this, while fans of (insert team name) might wish it otherwise.


The arrogance of the FIA is alarming, hopefully it is just the reporting but I am astounded that they continue with this. People have different opinions on this however all I can see at the moment is everybody associated with F1 is going to lose. We have 10 teams on the grid, (the show), the people who spend $100million plus a year saying the new rules suck. 5 of those ten teams saying they wont sign up, and potentially 2 more that will leave. Why is it so hard for the FIA to understand what the teams are saying.
Next year championship will be Williams, brawn and maybe force india, dodgy lola, and usgp, big deal, a worthless championship because they haven’t beaten the heart and the real f1 teams of Ferrari, Mclaren, Renault etc etc. What will f1 be without the manufactures, we will end up with potentially 8 no name teams, that have no manufacture support, will have no KERS, (apart from Williams, if they stay), and all running Cosworth engines. (this is not f1). F1 needs Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, etc etc.
Some people think Ferrari are bluffing, but the reality is, Ferrari, who sell cars doesn’t need F1 to survive, People don’t decided to spend upward of $100,000 on a Ferrari by watching f1, Ferrari is established already, they can walk away and invest in another series, They choose to be there, they don’t need to be there. Them leaving the sport will only take viewers away from f1. They are the only car company making a profit to date.
The only way this will work and costs decrease is standardisation in parts which is the best way forward, standard materials, wheels, brakes, electrics, control engines, etc etc. They can standardise front and rear wings to so cars can follow more closely, and teams can research areas of mechanical grip, efficiency only, etc etc.
With the manufacture teams leaving so do the drivers, so we can safely assume half of the f1 viewing audience, the driving factor behind the money in F1 I might add, will leave. There goes Spain (Alonso), Italy (Ferrari), Germany (Merc, BMW and vetell) etc etc probably 50% maybe 60% of the viewing public will stop watching f1. Not only this, other manufactures will not be attracted to f1 as there is no direct competition. Why would Aston Martin join if there is no Ferrari, or Merc there direct competitors I wont watch it, it will be a pathetic championship. Not only this with the viewing public leaving in droves so do the sponsors. Bernie and associated partners, go broke, the FIA will be the villain and the teams go to other series. The big winner out of this will be Lemans or potentially another championship. Has the FIA also considered the devaluation of f1. Sponsors attach themselves to a team because of their success and prestige. Williams has only survived because of its name, same goes with the other big names teams. Brawn has won 4 races this season and we only have Virgin on the car. Why is that, Vodafone attached themselves to Mclaren or Ferrari because people know the brand. Nobody knows the brawn brand. This will be the same for all the other f1 teams. This series will become a glorified A1 championship.
F1 has become popular because of the manufactures and there promotion of the sport. I don’t see the FIA selling F1. For the fans sake, the people who watch f1, I hope the FIA listens to the teams.


Did Max Mosley comment as well: "And if they did a breakaway, they could write their own rules and we would check them over for safety. And that would be it."

But is this not implying what the role of the FIA is and that FOTA is right about the the fact that FIA cannot impose the technical rules as they are doing now?


You are right, James, with your "this will not be allowed to happen comment" ... I hope.

But the very fact that it *is happening* as a political spat is turning people off. If the FIA/Bernie had any competence, this situation would not have been allowed to develop at all ... and it is that lack of competence which is truly toxic.

The Premiership broke away from the rest of the football league and flourished. I think FOTA should do the same in F1. The road ahead will be difficult, but every problem has a solution. I'd be very happy to work for FOTA and put a series together and get tracks and TV money sorted out.

Northern Munkee

I'm now coming around to thinking that the F1, needs to be saved from BE & MM, and their commercial relationships. There is an argument that this is MM is deliberately driving a wedge into FOTA, I'm now beginning to think this is at BE behest, in case they organise themselves properly and attempt to take F1 back, or the basis for setting up an alternative to, BE & MM. Otherwise it will just continue as a cash cow being milked by BE, or his business partners, he sold it on to for his own benefit.

I was directed to a investigative piece from the The Economist. I won't post a link here as it'll probably not be welcomed here.

I think it explains an awful lot about why, in the first place BE, had managed to take control of F1, and the relationships with FIA, businesses, and for instance BE wants our government to put money into the gp, that was how he makes his money, how much control he was exercising, which would appear to continue, that for instance as the promoters don't even get the trackside advertising nor can they nor the teams use footage from the gp that they promote.

The EU anti trust settlement 2000 was supposed to have divorced (on paper) BE from (FIA) MM, but how many times is it described as the Max & Bernie show?

While not sad to see Ferrari go, I can't imagine how they will be able to take the high ground to argue they have a contractual veto enshrined in a contract.

I'm not sure if F1 wrested from and saved from BE. And out on a footing where it serves itself.


With the BC, lewis & kimi can join forces to create their own team... this is not what fans want to see, god I feel like am divorcing 🙁


I have been trying to understand why Max M. is so adamant about the cost "chop". I have been against his idea. But looking at it carefully he is trying to save F1 in a way. He is protecting the teams, even the big manufacturers. Imagine if all the manufacturers were to suddenly walk away from F1 because of the economic crisis? What would we have left? There is no guarantee that at any moment in time, any team will just pack up and leave just as HONDA did.
What if all the manufacturers (and they all contemplated hard on this point) were to say, not much sales so we cant afford F1.

I can now see Max's point clearer now.
But the way he has gone about it is stupid.
I agree with Bernie, Max has lost his touch. He should have presented it better, "a box with a nice ribbon knot, not a string knot"


The little [moderated] guy stepped up the other day and all of a sudden the two tier system is GONE.What's the bet he step's back in just at the right time and everyone is happy we all move on F1 front page news for all the right reason's.I follow this site religiously and all the point of views put forward are all well thought out and structured and [mod] he isn't stupid he will not let this happen he can see all the thing's we are saying.He know's that he will not get people to watch a series of nonames and he is going get to much grief from his commercial partner's that he will stick with the status quo.He will bring them all back together and he will be the hero.All I hope for is that Max get's the archer for his involvment.


I agree with Socratis, Max is trying to bring some degree of long term stability to the regulation of the sport. No-one else can do that or is in a position to do it. Bernie, of course, is doing what Bernie does, looking after number one as he always will, which is why the whole financial structure of the sport is so tragically and damagingly distorted, and always will be.

At the moment the manufacturer teams, with the spoilt brat of Formula One, Ferrari, leading the charge, are trying to prolong the era of reckless and unnecessary profligacy. But the mass market car manufacturer teams do not control their own destiny. Their destiny lies in the hands of the main board directors, and for them F1 is nothing more than a SIDE-SHOW. That is something few who write in here seem to comprehend.

The problem with the manufacturer teams writing the rules to suit themselves is simply that they may not even be in the sport next year, because demand for family cars (and trucks) has fallen through the floor. That's real world stuff, and it's what counts. Those teams have no power to determine their future whatsoever.

To try to mitigate this, Max has attempted, I believe, to get teams to make a commitment to the sport for at least five years. As they are trying to shape it for their own ends, that makes a lot of sense. Unsurprisingly, no such commitment has been forthcoming, because they know perfectly well that they can't make it. And so this silly, farcical confrontation is set to continue, as long as Ferrari and Fiat seek to prolong it

I have to come back to another point I have made before. Are Toyota, BMW, Renault, et al, preparing the ground in case their main boards decide to exit F1, so that they can hang the blame on Max Mosley? It looks very, very, much like it to me.


Thanks for your reply James. And apologies for my - pretty significant - typo as well! It would of course be crap without the manufacturers, i meant! I hope you are right but, as you always used to say James, time will tell...


Trap, I would agree with you that communism doesn't work, but sport is a phenomenon altogether unconnected to communism. The principle behind sport is that the competitors start off on an equal footing and then attempt to out-compete each other by using their drive, talent, skill, ability. So sport is about inequality of outcomes, about elitism. Communism is about the very opposite, equality of outcomes, levelling down. In practice in sport it's never possible to start from a perfectly level playing field, but the greater the disparity at the start, the more one-sided the competition becomes, and the more boring and predictable the outcome. That's what happens most years in F1, with the result that the majority of teams are there to make up the numbers, with little real hope of figuring in the results.

However the idea behind the cap isn't even just about attempting to start from a reasonably level playing field. More important is the real possibility, with mass market cars not selling, that more manufacturer teams will go the way of Honda, unless budgets become more sensible. As has been said time and time again, the vast sums spent in recent years haven't gone on innovation and radical design, but rather on endless fiddling, expensive refinements, each designed to gain a few milliseconds here or there. That kind of spending is pointless and wasteful at the best of times, and these are hardly the best of times.

I cannot for the life of me imagine what is the point of competing on the amount of money people are prepared to spend to buy a result. I like to see skill and ingenuity triumph.

Of course all this leaves out the crack-brained monopolistic financial arrangements that F1 is impaled on, where precious little of the millions in receipts goes to sport itself, but is diverted into somebody else's pockets altogether. That of course is the crushing, underlying problem that F1 has, and I see no possibility of that changing, as I have said in a previous post. Remember that, even if Ferrari could create a breakaway series, which is rather unlikely in reality, whatever it were to be called, it couldn't be called Formula One. And you can bet it would be there as a vehicle for Ferrari to look good, and not anyone else. That of course is precisely what Ferrari think Formula One is for at the moment.


I guess I should add the word "allegedly" in regard to the meeting.

Though common sense would dictate that any threat by Ferrari will have been well thought out and they they would only talk about leaving if they were sure they could get a deal elsewhere that would be strong enough to attract other top teams and drivers. And sponsors, of course.

I am 1 million percent sure that if FOTA want to walk away from F1/FIA/Bernie, they will be able to finance and resource a new F1 which will obliterate the remnants of what Bernie will be left holding.

Will sponsors and fans want to watch Lola and Litespeed with Sato following Piquet Jr around in bog standard cars, or will they all switch to support Alosno and Hamilton and other world class drivers racing in Ferraris and RBRs?


To add to my comment above ... it isn't just Ferrari involved in the meeting. Some UK based teams as well.


I hear that Ferrari having a meeting with a company this weekend that reckons it can deliver TV companies and tracks to FOTA .... if the major teams break away they will have the budgets, cars and tech rules to attract the top drivers and the audience will follow the top teams/drivers.

If you have a choice on a Sunday afternoon to watch the BBC with a host of new teams and third rate drivers and capped/controlled/same engined cars, or you can switch to ITV and watch Ferrari and other well-known F1 teams with drivers like Alonso, Massa, Lewis, Kubica, Vettel, etc - which button on your remote control are you going to press?


"There’s no way it could possibly work out for the breakaway teams."

You sure about that? With Alonso driving a Renault or a Ferrari on the new series in 2010 - what would the Spanish fans be watching? That or F1? Same goes with Massa+Piquet and the Brazilian audience. British fans if Hamilton is in a McLaren. Fins with Heiki and Kimi. Germans if Vettel is in a Red Bull. Australians with Webber in Red Bull. Italians will follow Ferrari.

This is where this split differs from the Cart/IRL in the US - they both suffered after the split because IRL had the Indy 500 but didn't have many top team or drivers, and CART had the top teams and drivers but lost the Indy 500.

But with F1 there is potential for the new series to hold on to top drivers and teams - so the majority of fans will probably follow that as well.

It would then be a question of arranging traditional venues to race on - and without Bernie charging them the earth to host a race it wouldnt be difficult to get races in Kyalami, Silverstone, A1Ring, Hockenheim, Monza, Spa, Magny Cours, Montreal, Indianapolis, Suzuka and Interlagos. Maybe even Monaco if they play it right?


Exactly. This statement to me only indicates the FIA wants to impose itself and show everyone who actually owns and dictates what happens with the F1 brand. Show of power just for the sake of it.


Die hard racing fans will watch f1 for the racing only. But as i said F1's success is from sponsors and it huge viewing audience. It is these viewers that makes Bernie cash. F1 does not exist without these viewers and sponsors. The drivers, and the teams are the ones that attract those viewers and sponsors. You talk private teams but the only successful private teams in the last 2 decades have been williams and Mclaren. All other private teams have fallen over. The reason these teams are successful is because they have an established name (brand) and could attract big sponsors. Furthermore in all there success they were supported by a car manufacutures or partly owned by one. If you get rid of the manufactures, you also get rid of all the big commercial sponsers. Vodafone is with Mclaren because people recongnise Mclaren. People dont recongnise Force India or Brawn. All the manufactures are the ones that bring the millions of dollars in investment at the track and on tv. If Ferrari, Mclaren, renault, toyota, redbull, bmw leave so will the viewers and sponsers and f1 as we know it will be dead. You say manufacuters come and go, but apart from ford, which marketed the wrong way and honda which i thought was premature and they would be regretting it as we speak, all the other teams have stayed firm for a long time.

If Man United is dropped to the second division in the Premier league, there die hard supporters will follow them, and the Premier league will be poorer for it. Same scenario in f1. You cannot promote a product for a decade with manufacutres then have 70% of the teams leave and not have a huge effect on a sport. Thats why this whole thing the FIA is doing is not in the interest of f1, it is in the interest of Max only. Bernie will not let it happen, or if it does, Bernie will follow the teams. He has all the contracts, not the FIA and the FIA will suffer.


I hate this analogy with the Premier League. There is absolutely no way that any breakaway from F1 would be as clean as that.

Williams have already received money from a Concorde Agreement that does not yet exist, so they are committed to the FIA's version of F1 for the time being. Brawn and Force India are likely to stay in F1 because the budget capping rules will suit them.

So you have the manufacturerers, plus Red Bull, going out and building their own series from the ground up, in the middle of a global recession, with an extremely strong and experienced competitor....it's madness. There's no way it could possibly work out for the breakaway teams.

Plus there is this argument of "What would the fans do?" Well we, the hardcore fans, are in a real minority. The vast majority of F1 viewers are the Sunday-afternoon-what's-on-the-telly type, and they will watch - and contribute, indirectly, to - whatever series is the most accessible. And that will continue to be F1, because Bernie wouldn't have it any other way.


You say the cap would create a level playing field - but since when has it been any different in F1 and motorsport in general?
Ever since Frank Williams setup his team in the 70's Ferrari were probably spending more than anyone else, so why does it HAVE to be different now. Agree it would be fairer, but why didn't the FIA do this 10, 20, 30 years ago then? Why now? And why not put budget caps on GP2, British F3, WTCC and WRC series teams if thgis is being done with a moral/ethical reasoning?


if you take away the confrontational aspect of this situation, you've hit the nail on the head of the logic behind Mosley's argument.


You are assuming that Brawn, Williams and Force India would not leave F1 as well, and join the manufacturers on the new series.

In my view these independent teams would have no interest in staying in F1 if the brand had been so badly damaged by the loss of Ferrari, McLaren, BMW, Renault, Red Bull and Toyota in a sinle swoop. And in damage I mean the inevitable fall in TV audiences, track attendance, bad press and their current sponsors putting pressure on them to leave - on the basis that the new series is the place to be (teams will control revenue) and you don't want to miss the boat.


Dont forget all of them will be running cosworths. That going to be real great viewing. Max will only be remembered for ruining the sport billions of people love to watch.


but if they did, it would a million times better than Brawn vs Williams vs Force India vs Anonymous New Team.

So,by implication, if it is not Ferrari vs McLaren it is not worth watching? What a bizarre viewpoint.

Do you want to watch racing (any team) or an orchestrated battle (Ferrari vs McLaren)?

Also, why include Williams in there? Sure they aren't that hot right now, but they have a pedigree, a history, a track record of winning championships. Its not as if they have not done this before.


Phil - why are the 'manufactures' so special in F1? Right now we have Brawn and Red Bull at the front, and I am loving it.

The history of F1 has primarily been about private racing teams - Williams, McLaren, Brabham etc. Ferrari is the exception perhaps, but even they (and Lotus) started off as racing teams, and only branched out into road car manufacture to support the racing team.

Also for years and years and years, F1 did consist of 'Ferrari, and a bunch of teams running Cosworth engines'.

History also shows us that Manufactures do come and go from motorsport very quickly. The long term future of any racing series depends on having strong, competitive private teams who can fill the void when the manufactures do decide to call it a day.

But how will private teams fare in a series owned and run by the manufactures?

I will watch F1 if the racing is good. Manufactures are welcome, but not 'be all and end all' for me by any means


well said Phil, well said.

F1 grosses around 2.7 billion a year. There are 10 to 13 teams.... they should be entitled to atleast 120million a year per team on average. If the teams get their rightful due, that goes a long way to making F1 commercially viable for them without having to implement any stringent caps that kill the sport and renders thousands of engineers jobless in this climate.

A more sensible FIA that is much less tyrannical, has the sports best interest in hand and not just about a power trip will go along way in eliminating all the political rubbish that F1 is constantly involved in.

So you can see, the main cancers in the sport are Bernie n Max and alot of fans sooner or later are realizing that.

A new series will surgically remove them and for that reason will most likely be successful and become an F1 killer over time... before buying the F1 brand name at a cutprice after Bernie goes bankrupt.

All it takes is courage. The teams (Ferrari, Mclaren etc) are F1...not FOM or FIA. If they all leave to form another series, that series becomes "F1".

As for artificially levelling the playing field. That communism doesnt work. It will kill the sport if suddenly Ferrari and Mclaren are forced to throw away all they'ved worked for over decades just so they can compete with Litespeed.

There is a sensible way in doing these things but Max or FIA have hardly been sensible.

and Bernies CVC ponzi scheme is the main cancer eating the sport from the inside. How can a sport be viable when more than half the revenue generated is always taken out to pay some venture capitalists that should have never been there.


Phil, what you outline are the very reasons why this will not be allowed to happen. We have a stand-off, but at the end of the day a deal will be struck, there is too much at stake for any other outcome.


As Phil says, the financial basis Formula One is run on is completely wrong, but unless Bernie suddenly has a rush of blood to the head and decides to become a not-for-profit charitable institution (unlikely), that isn't going to change very quickly. Even when BE pops his clogs and graduates to that great starting grid in the sky, FOM will still continue. You can bet the suits and the lawyers there won't be in any great hurry to jump ship in a show of selfless public spiritedness. Like most of us they'll not want to jack in a nice little number that's paying the mortgage, with a bit left over besides. Remember that ever since Elvis went into hiding, the suits still continued to rake in royalties worth hundreds of millions every year. Similarly FOM will do the same, I guess, when the time comes.

Face it. A long time ago, one man hijacked Formula One and turned into his own personal cash cow, and nothing in the world that you or I can do, or anyone else for that matter, is ever going to change that. Maybe the apparently rational notion that the vast sums Joe Public spends at the ticket booths should go to the protagonists, the teams and the circuits, impresses you (and me). Maybe, but I doubt that you or anyone else will ever get Bernie to agree with you, and there's the rub.


Am I the only person who thinks that if a deal is struck then we will all be having this exact same discussion again in 2 years time?

I know a breakaway would be tough to start with but I think its the only way to sort this out once and for all.


James, I hope your correct, but the reality is, the whole funding, money distribution is wrong and f1 will fail sooner or later. The teams are getting screwed and the tracks, countries hosting GP's are losing money. The whole system needs to be overhauled. Bernie, FIA should only get 10% maximium 15% of revenue. The teams should get the remainder distributed evenly with the winner of the championship getting extra cash. I have no doubt each teams would easily survive if they received the money they are entitled too.

What will happen when Bernie passes on. Who will run the sport then. He is 78 isn't he.


Chris did not say it is not worth watching.

Where did you get the idea that a new manufacturers' series would be orchestrated?

Williams haven't got any money, and sadly, their past glories cannot overcome that problem.


With the greatest of respect, Eurosport is not the same as BBC or RTL (Germany) or TF1 (France)


Is you were Lola, Litespeed, Prodrive etc. then you'd be mad to sign up for 2010 not knowing what the rules you'd be competing under....

Can't see any new entries until the FIA and FOTA sort it out!


I hope Litespeed are not accepted. Simply because their name is horrible, "lite" for heaven's sake. And I'm not even religious. Its just horrible. Its like going to a "nite" club. (Vomit).

And anyway, they have a full 2 years worth of experience of a lower formula. Not exactly what you'd call pedigree when compared to say Lola or Prodrive.

Prodrive would be excellent. DR has unfinished business in F1. Shame he was a casualty in Button-Gate. I think Jenson would have done well if DR had stayed around.


No the rules as published say that the FIA can NOT change the rules unless they are proposed by either the TWG or the SWG.
For 2010 even the Concorde agreement para has been deleted as a source of authority.

And especially note that major changes must be announced by 30th June for the season after next. eg June LAST year. Article 2.2 of the tech regs applies and ALL of Appendix 5 of the sporting regs.


The FIA owns the F1 world championship and Bernie's company acquired the commercial rights to it for 100 years. The deals are struck on the basis of F1. To do what you are suggesting you'd have to start all over again with something not called F1 world championship.


I don't think it will come to that, Joe. But it's certainly a more nervy time than the last time the manufacturers threatened their own breakaway series in 2004.

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!