The meeting between the F1 teams and FIA president Max Mosley and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone failed to reach any conclusions today, but Ferrari has followed through on the threat of mounting a legal challenge. An injuction has been filed with the courts in France, where the FIA headquarters are situated, and will be heard on Tuesday.
If it fails then the negotiations can move swiftly towards finding agreement on a £40 million budget cap and from there setting the details of what is included (engines, drivers, specific research programmes?) and the process for checking the accounts. It sounds like a way might be found for auditing to be independently handled and therefore less intrusive.
If the injunction succeeds then things will get very messy. Basically the rules will have to be unpicked and new rules drawn up.
It is understood that Ferrari’s case is based on what it perceives as the breach of an agreement Ferrari signed with the FIA in 2005 in which it was given a right of veto over rule changes in Formula . This was done at a time when the FIA and Ecclestone needed Ferrari to split with the other manufacturers who were at the time threatening to start a breakaway series.
Mosley knew he would have to tread carefully when framing the 2010 regulations because of this veto clause and that is why the second class of entrant exists; the uncapped team which is allowed to run exactly as it has this season. The FIA’s argument is that as the same class in which Ferrari has been running still exists, their rights have not been infringed.
It will be for the French courts to decide if these special rights have been breached.
As he left the meeting in Heathrow, Mosley said,
“It was a friendly meeting but the teams have gone off to see if they can come up with something better than the cost cap,” Mosley said.
The teams then went into their own meeting, summarise the situation. This lasted half an hour. There will be no formal statement.
It sounds as though Mosley was quite conciliatory towards the teams who said earlier this week that they would not put an entry in for 2010. It also sounds as though Ferrari, Toyota and Renault have taken a strong position.
Mosley said that he would like to drop the two tier system and that he will listen to the teams, if they are able to come up with something significant,
“We explained we cannot put back the entry date, as this has all been published, and we cannot disadvantage the potential new teams who will come in. But we are prepared to listen to whatever they have to say.
“In the meantime, the regulations are as published. We have explained that we want everyone to race under the same regulations. We have explained that we would like all of the teams to come in under the cost cap and that is what they have gone off to consider.
“We have said that we cannot see why anyone wouldn’t want to operate under the cost cap, and it would mean a gradual relaxation of the technical regulations – which all the engineers would want. We said in the end the choice was between intellectual freedom and financial constraint, or intellectual constraint and financial freedom – which is what they have had up until now.”