Formula 1 looked into the abyss, didn’t like what it saw and has has stepped away from the brink today as a deal has been struck for the FOTA teams to commit to race in F1, ending the threat of a breakaway.
The commitment from the manufacturers and teams appears to be only until 2012, not it would appear the 2014 commitment that Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley were looking for from the manufacturers.
Details are still to emerge of the deal and what is entailed, but early indications are that Mosley has agreed not to stand again for office in October. He is afforded a dignified exit in October, having secured what he was looking for, which is lower costs, new teams in the sport and a commitment of sorts from the manufacturers to stay in.
However, he has always maintained that upon his retirement he will be moving on to the FIA Senate and the issue of his successor will be of great interest now, with ex Ferrari boss Jean Todt always considered a candidate. Stability of rules and the re-introduction of the F1 commision in the rule making process will have been a central part of what Montezemolo negotiated.
Thus whoever becomes the new FIA president in October they will play an intrinsic part in the next stage of Formula 1. The teams will be looking for a completely different style of governance and it will be interesting to see what the FIA comes up with.
Mosley pushed the teams to the edge in recent weeks, as the two sides failed to find any compromise over how to control costs in a way which would satisfy both sides. However, by bringing things to a head with the announcement of the breakaway, FOTA has forced a deal to be struck. Sponsors, circuits and TV companies were screaming and it would have caused immense damage for the uncertainty to have lasted long.
FOTA had a powerful hand to play and by making moves to set up their own series, they showed they were serious. There is no doubt that Ecclestone’s partners in the commercial rights ownership, CVC, will have applied intense pressure to find a solution.
“We have agreed to a reduction of costs, ” said Mosley. “There will be one F1 championship but the objective is to get back to the spending levels of the early 1990s within two years.”
This sounds like something around the £40 million mark and the significance of the two years is that it gives the teams the ‘glide path’ they were looking for. There will be mass redundancies in F1, but not all at once, as teams downsize and recalibrate for the future.
Details will emerge throughout the day and the official 2010 entry list is expected to be announced later.