The drivers working for the eight remaining FOTA teams got embroiled in the 2010 entry crisis today when they met with team principals and agreed to stand solid with them in opposing the 2010 rules package.
Afterwards, rumours began to circulate that a repeat of Indianapolis 2005 might take place where the drivers would do the formation lap only and then park the cars, leaving only the Williams and Force India cars to race.
Much as Nico Rosberg, looking for his first win and Vijay Mallya, looking for Force India’s first points, would have loved it, there was no substance in the rumour.
Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said this evening, ““It was a joke that came out I don’t know from where. It was never discussed.”
However it is quite significant that the drivers are now engaged. Many of them have little choice, they are under contract so if their team decides not to enter they will have to look at alternatives. Fernando Alonso has been saying for several weeks that he has no time for the type of F1 the budget cap rules will bring and today other drivers have made their position clear. They have lined up with FOTA, opposing the FIA’s plans for 2010, as Jarno Trulli explained
” All the drivers have the same feeling: to follow FOTA and respect above all the work they are doing on the coming rules and the running of Formula 1 in a serious way for the future.Mosley must understand that there are some things that cannot happen,” he said. “The rules for 2010 are absolutely not good because Formula 1 must remain the number one sport in the world, with great technology and with the manufacturers.
“You can’t try and bring in other teams that maybe have never had any idea about what it takes to compete with the cars and in a championship of such a high level. Above all, with the rules we are completely out.”
The drivers have already found themselves opposing the FIA this season, on the issue of superlicence fees. The FIA planned to increase the fees, but back in March retreated from that position after resistance from the drivers. At the time a statement from the FIA said, “A reduced fee would reflect the major cost reductions that will be brought into the sport for next season.”
This evening Ferrari’s Felipe Massa added his voice to the chorus against the budget cap,
“We want to race for the best teams in the world and against the best drivers, for the moment, it’s a night mare and we wanted to know what’s going on. We want to race in the best category with the best technology, the best teams and the best drivers, in a top category in motor sport.
If we do what Mr Mosley wants we won’t be on top of motor sport we’ll be on a different level we’ll go down a lot. That’s why we are together with the eight teams of FOTA so I hope they can find a solution because we would love to carry on on F1 but if F1 is not possible because it’s not F1 any more we’ll go and race in another championship.”
As to how likely it is that a solution will be found before Friday’s deadline of June 12th when accepted entries will be announced, Domenicali said tonight, “Discussions are going on but we need to find a solution. If the solution is not there we need to see what is the action, but I hope that common sense will prevail. Friday is the deadline from the formal point of view but not from a substantial point of view. If you want to be sensible you can discuss up to next year.
“The 12th could be a day when you could see some interesting things or it could be a day when you have to consider what is F1 and what is the future of racing. At the moment we are damaging this sport. I feel as a normal guy that we are all too involved, we don’t have an overview of what is going on. It’s the moment to wake up and make the right decision because no one wants to spoil the sport. Ferrari love F1 and we want to make sure the values of F1 stay for ever.
“I think that we need to do everything to make sure that the FIA F1 world championship will stay in the future and then we will see.”