F1 Winter Break
F1 budget talks hit dead end
F1 budget talks hit dead end
Posted By:   |  16 Jun 2009   |  9:51 am GMT  |  88 comments

Another day, another statement. This one, from the FIA, again suggesting that the wheels are coming off the negotiating process between the FIA and the team’s body (FOTA) and that it is FOTA’s fault.

As I posted yesterday in the Ross Brawn story, the teams want to talk about ‘resource restriction’ which they control, rather than ‘budget caps’, which an outside agency controls on behalf of the FIA.

The teams feel that it is a fundamental right of a competitor to manage its own business autonomously. They are also concerned about how it would work if there was a disciplinary hearing, of the kind we have seen in recent years involving racing incidents, where a team was investigated for ‘financial irregularities’. A manufacturer could not afford the damage to its image that this might entail.

So FOTA put a plan to the FIA for a system of financial self-regulation, which it believes would achieve the same ends as a budget cap, but without the intrusion. That is what the two sides met yesterday to discuss and this is what the FIA has to say about it today,

“As agreed at the meeting of 11 June, FIA financial experts met yesterday with financial experts from FOTA.

“Unfortunately, the FOTA representatives announced that they had no mandate to discuss the FIA’s 2010 financial regulations. Indeed, they were not prepared to discuss regulation at all.

“As a result, the meeting could not achieve its purpose of comparing the FIA’s rules with the FOTA proposals with a view to finding a common position.

“In default of a proper dialogue, the FOTA financial proposals were discussed but it became clear that these would not be capable of limiting the expenditure of a team which had the resources to outspend its competitors. Another financial arms race would then be inevitable.

The FIA Financial Regulations therefore remain as published.”

In other words, the budget cap stays, take it or leave it.

The FOTA teams last week went over the head of the FIA president Max Mosley, questioning his style of governance and appealed to the FIA senate and FIA World Council to ‘facilitate solutions’ in this week’s meetings, which they described as a final opportunity to find a solution.

So far it doesn’t look like the appeal has had much of an effect.

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You know, when Bernie announced that there would be no race at Silverstone in 2010, we all though it was Bernie playing his usual games.

What we didn't realise is that there would be no F1 at all in 2010.....


And so the Ego War continues...



Given this, how long before Bernie and CVC step in and tell the FIA to back off.

Do you think the teams will leave f1, and bring it back to the dark ages. Because from a passionate f1 fan, I cannot see how f1 will survive without the manufactures, If renault, toyota, ferrari leave, we will only have 2 engines at most on the grid. One will be a bullet the Merc and the other will be a slug the cosworth. Thats if merc stick around which will be surprising because, they would want to race against the elite in sport, the manufactures not teams which will be struggling to build a car within 6 months let alone a quick one.

I dont see how f1 can be what it is without all the manufactures. They supply the three essiential things for a car, engines, gearbox and electronics and the most important thing, money and sponsorship.


just out of curiosity, which series would your blog follow next year? F1, FOTA or both?

Peter (the other one)


I find the CVC element in this fascinating. A rival series wont kill F1 in and of itself, but surely it will make the valuation of the commercial rights far lower than what CVC paid for them. Also, what sort of loan covenents exist with RBS?

Would the dramatic fall in revenues, the sort a rival series would see, cause CVC to go into breach? And what would happen then?

The FIA apparently have some veto over the transfer of the commercial rights which we heard a little about during Max and Bernie's sideshow last year during spankgate.

It would be deeply amusing if the manufacturers went off started their own series, the wheels fell off CVC's F1 investment vehicle and FOTA ended up securing the commercial rights to F1.

I dunno, what seems clear now that FOTA really aren't looking for an agreement, they are spoiling for a fight. Something I don't think Max was counting on. He provoked a fight thinking at the end of the day no one actually wanted one.

I think he rather underestimated how irked Montezemelo and co are. And Ron Dennis...what's his role in all of this. I can't believe for a single nano-second he isn't in the frame here.

Maybe that would be the sweetest irony of all (and I'm far from a fan of Dennis). That Mosley won the battle to push Dennis out of F1. Only for Dennis to win the battle over F1 itself.

Anyway, these past 5 years would make one hell of a fiction novel. If only it were fiction...


all soundign quite childish isn't it, the FIA adn FOTA telling on each other to the press... sounds like they probably both need a good slapping, an hour in the corner holding their ears, and then to make up.


Staggering - every time I think F1 cannot get any worse they manage to pull another trump out of the hat. This takes airing dirty laundry to a whole new level.

Most people I know openly ridicule me for liking F1 - seems they have good reason.

I hate to say it but this seems to be above and beyond the usual political manoeuvring - not sure I can really see a way back. I'm happy with change, change is good, really good, as are new teams, but this constant back stabbing, political, rule changing environment provides zero stability.

JB is having a storming season, please bring back the racing.


"...the FOTA financial proposals were discussed but it became clear that these would not be capable of limiting the expenditure of a team which had the resources to outspend its competitors."

I simply do not understand this logic. If the team has the resources to spend hundreds of millions of euros on building a car, why should the rules explicitly forbid them from doing that. That is not a proper way to solve the issue. If you want smaller teams to be able to effectively compete with the big teams, make the rules such that, for example, pouring fortunes to find the slightest aerodynamic tweaks will not yield decisive advantage, and keep them unchanged for a while instead of tinkering with them all the time. If there is no incentive to spend, no one will!


As a passionate fan of F1 it's very sad to see the demise of F1 as we know it... even if the the warring factions agree a cease-fire and agree a way forward in the next weeks the damage done to the reputation of F1 will leave a very deep scar.

I'd love to see an independant series bring back some of the older circuits like Silverstone, Magny-Cours and Hockenheim etc and have another go of re-entering the U.S. race tracks.

But unfortunately I doubt very much this can happen in time for the 2010 season... but maybe if a new federation(called for example Auto Racing Union (A.R.U.) you heard it here first - ha!) is established with a view to start afresh from 2011... I'll be the first to buy tickets to at least one race a year!


I have to say I can see both sides of the argument, but the problem I have is that the teams think they can manage themselves, when they've proven over and over again that all they're good at is finding loopholes and sniping at their competitors.


I don't know if it's just me but there's a massive slice of irony here that everyone seems to be missing.

Honda left at the end of '08 due to bad performance and being unable to justify spending squillions on their F1 programme.

Max saw this as an opportunity to impose his budget cap scheme which he was waiting to do for ages, TO ENSURE NO OTHER MANUFACTURERS LEFT THE SPORT.

I have nothing against that idea after all it's used in other sports, particularly in America.

However with the way in which he's applied it, all he's achieving so far at least is SCARING ALL THE OTHER MANUFACTURERES OFF and replacing them with unknown (to the general watcher) startups.

Aim achieved? I think not.

So... one then has to ask why he's doing this. Is it solely about the power politics? If so do they (FIA and FOTA) not see that a split will be damaging for everybody? It seems like both sides are using that risk to back up their position and force the other's hand, and much like nuclear war it's a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

Interesting times.


I struggled to understand what's happening here and why both parties can't find common ground for the good of F1.

Then I realise that, the good of F1 is not the driver. It is about money, ego and power.

Mosley has lost sight of the real goal with his quest for more power and his eventual re election.

The Formula does need regulation and change, but gradual change. Formula 1 will become a nothing series that does not have the money to set itself apart from other low budget series.

A constructor championship with Audi, Porsche, Ferrari etc would be something to watch.

The Kitchen Cynic

I'm afraid the teams have themselves to blame for this.

First they came for Ron Dennis, and I didn't speak up because I was not Ron Dennis...


Surely the key to the break away series is now how the major TV broadcasters contracts are written, as this is where most of the income for the sport from.

If there are break-clauses for specific teams (Ferrari?), or a specific number of teams on the grid, the FIA could have a problem. If the broadcasters are locked into the FIA, and contracted not to broadcast a rival series for the term, then FOTA have an issue as no TV coverage means no sponsors, and no sport.

It's a long shot, but given you worked for ITV for a while, I don't suppose you have an idea of the state of the contracts James? 🙂


But the fundamental problem still remains and, with the apparent intransigence of both the giant manufacturers on the one side and the sports governing body on the opposing side, surely Ecclestone/CVC needs to act as a policeman and bang a few heads together !

Both sides have sensible objections to the other sides arguments. Both sides agree that the currently insane costs of operating in F1 has to be brought to an end.

It's quite easy to understand FOTA's objection in principal to forensic intrusion into their manufacturers private affairs. For a start, shareholders wouldn't stand for it !

On the other hand the FIA is forced to introduce a regime that cuts costs massively. The huge number of significant and realistic new applicants to enter F1 are telling proof that there has to be change. And it has to come in immediately.

With all this, and with a lot less strutting, posturing and points scoring from everyone involved, it must be possible for intelligent men of goodwill to find a workable solution.

But us fans, standing helplessly on the sidelines and completely aghast at the prospect of our magnificent sport being threatened with extinction by these warring factions, don't see a lot of signs of goodwill and decency....

Bernie Ecclestone: you and your employers control all the important commercial levers, for gods sake make these idiots realise what havoc they are causing and get them shackled to a table until they sort the mess out once and for all.


Dear James,

The FIA has done anything to level the waters, since FOTA said that they will publish the reasons of their stance and how bad is the FIA style of governance for F1, Mosley and his team has make every kind of announcements and press releases, it is clear the FIA wants the manufacturers out and keep a short leash on the old and new teams that will stay. This will be the F1 world champrionship presented by Cosworth (as was Indy not so long ago)


Enough already.


All this politicking and bickering is driving fans away.

It feels like this is all about Max having some kind of revenge for what happened to him with his sex scandal.

I am sick and tired of F1 being kicked around by old men who have no respect at all for the fans.

All respect to you James, but it is a sad state of affairs when the best thing about F1 at the moment is your blog. Good as it may be, it shouldn't be the highlight of the F1 world.

Where has the racing and the real sport gone to in all this mess?


It stikes me that Max is so full of pride that he can't stand the remote idea that he might have to compromise on his ideas of how the sport should be run. He can't accept that his suggestions may be wrong or need improvising and when this is pointed out to him he digs in even further refusing to compromise thereby creating a bigger rift.

Having read the recent articles I can actually completely agree and understand how the manufacturers wouldn't want their accounts looked into by other parties. Ross Brawn is 100% correct when he said that they should self-regulate.

This is just a totally crazy situation more about Max Mosley's ego and pride than anything else. The sooner he's out of the FIA the better.


I'm almost 100% convinced that a breakaway is going to happen and we will have 2 championships. Max will enlist the remaining new teams from the reserve list to fill the gap left by the FOTA teams, there will be a court case against Ferrari and Red Bull (as they leave to take part in the FOTA champiionship) and Williams will walk the FIA F1 championship whilst the others battle it out in a new one. I'm sick of Max Mosley and the FIA and I don't think he is fit to govern after all the revelations about him in the papers a while ago! I think the FOTA teams should finally GO FOR IT and setup their own championship, I will definately switch my allegiance to them!


He says he is willing to listen to what FOTA have to say but when they put forward some alternative suggestions he just ignores them and try to put spin on it to look like they refuse to negotiate, negotiation works in both ways Max!


The full statement makes very interesting reading, especially with Ferrari's behaviour. Not voting against the two-tier system for example.


Do you think the FOTA dossier won't be published until Friday?

The sad thing though both sides mention the fans, the real issues that concern them are for all the teams being more competitive resulting in more exciting races.


also, the less money that the teams spend, the less income they need therefore the teams argument for the last 10 years that they need more remuneration from FOM goes out the window - it maybe even calls for a reduction in remuneration to the teams. There is something for CVC and Ecclestone to gain out of having a budget cap so they are probably willing to sit at the sidelines and watch until first sign that the sport is on the brink of destruction.


Michael Grievson

I'm with the teams on this one. The FIA have no right to intrude on the finances of other companies. I'm sure the FIA would not allow teams access to all their finances.


Unstoppable force and immovable object spring to mind.

It's a massive battle of egos, and I'm on the side of FOTA - whilst the solutions might not be pretty, the FIA's constant bullying tactics are just killing F1 from the inside. FOTA are playing hardball, and there's bluffs to be called on both sides. Can F1(c) Survive without Ferrari, McLaren, et al? Tell you what, If they formed a breakaway series, I'd watch it. What's in a name?

A little give from both sides would safeguard the sport's future, and that's surely more important than KERs or the odd 10 mill here and there?

Why hold a negotiations meeting if there's no intention of negotion?!


The statement says 'Good governance does not mean that Ferrari should govern.'

I wonder if that's the fairest summary of the whole dispute that anybody has yet written.....


Not that this will make a blind bit of difference to anyone at FIA, CVC, FOM or FOTA but I need to vent...

I've had enough of this saga and I'm not sure any of those involved have come out of it looking good. Max is looking a bit dictatorial, FOTA like spoilt kids refusing to play by the rules and CVC/FOM more than a little greedy.

Someone needs to take control, bring harmony to the interested parties, and fast because the sport I love is slowly suffocating amidst all of this.


Despite the endless to-and-fro bickering, one thing is 100% clear.

If F1 splits, it will be a damning indictment of Mosley's presidency of the FIA, and no amount of spin will be able to persuade anyone otherwise.


Speaking as a fan of F1, I wish the FIA and FOTA would just take some sensible pills. It’s us, the fans, who suffer, and who have been in one way or another for several years. At first, I assumed all this would blow over, but I’m now being to doubt it. Remember the farcical 2005 US Grand Prix? That could have been resolved if the Max and the FIA hasn’t been so stubborn. I’d hate the 2010 season to go the same way.

Come on guys, remember the whole reason you “do” F1 is for us, the fans.


From Mark Webbers BBC coloum.

''It's now got to a point where £80m is paid for one player to play football but you're asked to run a whole F1 team and travel the world for £40m. How can you do that overnight?''

Really puts this budget cap idea into perspective.


The thing that Mosley seems to have forgotten in all this is that really, the fans do not care about how much the teams spend, or how many cars are on the grid. They watch the sport because it has the best teams, the best drivers and the best racing cars in the world in it. Take away the best drivers and best teams, as this budget cap looks set to do, and we are left with something that isn't all that appealing. F3 in drag, basically.

Mosley seems to be favouring teams who are about to enter, who have done absolutely nothing for the sport. Compare this with the teams likely to depart: Ferrari, McLaren, Renault. They have done a huge amount for the sport and we watch to see THEM, not Mosley trying to create as much confusion and anger as possible just to get one over the manufacturers. To not even bother listening to them says a lot about the character of the man.

The whole matter is just insane, and judging on this, it is no longer Sir Jackie that is the certified half-wit...


Some huge egos involved. Its gone on so long now noone is willing to lose face. Personally I feel if Mosley had listened to and adopted the teams orginal budget limit plans...they wouldnt be playing this game. Then again, if what the FIA has just said....the teams werent even prepared to talk about it yesterday.... then they deserve what they get. Regardless, what a back and forth bunch of nonsense, and what a sad pathetic business F1 has become. I think ill start watching Indy Car.


Well...FOTA pointed the gun at the FIA some months ago about the £40m budget cap and the governance of F1.

Max is now, in simple terms, asking FOTA to shoot the gun and leave F1 if they dont like the rules.

FOTA have either now got to follow through with the threats to leave or step down and look like fools.

It's all going to end in tears with a watered down F1 full of new teams and a breakaway series that may or may not happen.

And the main ones to loose out in all this...the F1 loving fans!!


"the FOTA financial proposals were discussed but it became clear that these would not be capable of limiting the expenditure of a team which had the resources to outspend its competitors. Another financial arms race would then be inevitable."

So what? Why should everyone have to spend the same amount?


And so, we say farewell to F1. It will be fun to watch LeMans next year, I wonder if the F1 teams will just make a full body kit for their current F1 chassis - and all would be out of the race in 5 hours LOL.

James, what are the chances that A1GP becomes the new FOTA F1?


See ya later manufacturers! Good luck building your own series. It's so easy to do, and so cheap! You'll love it. 5-6 years and it should be running smoothly. Then in 15 years or so you might break even. Excellent. A wise choice.

PS. I'm taking the p**s. They do not have stomach nor the wallets for it. It will NEVER happen.


'So FOTA put a plan to the FIA for a system of financial self-regulation'...
Lol - I think we all know how effective that would be!


James, what I want to know is if the FIA and FOTA can not agree a deal, how will FOTA arrange a championship in time for next year, or do you think they will miss a year.

Julian Smallwood

So, are we in the death throes of F1? It must be sorted soon to allow either (or both, more probably) new teams to prepare for Formula 1 2010 and existing teams to prepare for Formula One/GP Racing 2010.

I now hope the split happens, and as posted previously we see the "good guys" who wanted to join (Prodrive, Aston, and others) electing to follow FOTA.

It is clear already that ITV and RAI would be there to broadcast in two key markets and that a few vaguely reasonable circuits would be available: Silverstone, Indianapolis, Imola (Monza?), Fuji/Suzuka, Zandvoort, Kyalami, Montreal, Monaco (?). Clearly this could snowball rapidly to ensure a well-covered series in core markets. It would be a bit rough around the edges in certain media senses but that may be no bad thing after the circus.

Less money overall but more equitably shared and supporting the true values of the business.

Time to say goodbye to Max, Bernie and CVC.


This is a great game of poker. Who is bluffing? Who holds the cards?

The problem the manufacturers have about setting up their own championship is the lack of cars. Even if Ferrari, Red Bull 1 and Red Bull 2 are not contracted to the FIA series, this only means eight teams of two cars = 16. That's not really a full grid. If that had happened in F1 my understanding is the eight teams would have had to run three cars each. Now if that is what FOTA is proposing for its own series it just proves they are not serious about cutting costs.

On the otherhand, F1, (with or without the conditionally unconditional three teams) has Williams, Force India, Campos, Manor, USF1 plus a queue as long as their arm. I don't see anyone else lining up to support the FOTA series.

I think the FIA should call FOTA's bluff.


I am totally sick of hearing about this - can't a happy medium be found for just one year, and then within that year (or years) a gradual change be made? From what I have gleaned over various news sources, the FOTA understand that costs have to come down, and are willing to conform to some sort of cap in the direct future. Doesn't this show the FIA thieves that some progress is at least being attempted to be made? If each team got its own percentage of return in deserved revenue from TV rights, race/ticket attendence etc, there would be no need for any 'team expenditure' as the rule could be that everybody (Teams) decide on a budget and rules, and then FIA enforce and police it. Is it that flipping difficult honestly? Polls that i've seen indicate that a landslide majority feel that the FIA are the villains, and are making a mockery of the sport. Never before have I seen a governing body so detrimentally involved with a sport - I love love love formula one, but i've had enough of this. James what do you think?


when you look at todays F1 cars, they look ugly.. last year cars were looking beatiful... on board cameras, when you see the car on the track, it was all fine... but when i look at this years cars, i even dont want to see them... last 2 years, it was mclaren vs ferrari and it was also fine... lots of people really enjoed F1.. and this year, button winning everything, and like me, people believe he is not a top class driver... as james said some time ago, there is a fine line between a good driver and best driver... and he said button was a good driver but not one of the best... so people dont like to see a good driver winning everything just because his car is almost 1 sec faster than the field..thus people do not want to watch races... it will soon get more boring as button continue to win... the fact is i dont believe button deserve this success and some more people may feel the same... the point i want to make is it is all about rules getting changed every year... what was the point to introduce KERS last year ? when i see the cars on track, they look slow... even i feel i can drive them... and probably it became quite easy to drive F1 cars now... even nakajima can handle it... so how we can see the real difference... i mean if there was V10 or V12 engines, then we could see what raikkonen is capable of and what nakajima is capable of... but unforutnately FIA have been too much careful about cars speeds and they introduced some silly rules just to make them slow.. but now cars are too slow... to cap, FIA needs change and FOTA is right...in premieur league, it is always arsenal, manunited, liverpool or chelsea who gets the trophy...and i did not hear people were unhappy about it.. i did not read any comment that suggest "reading" should be the champ... so it was also fine mclaren, ferrari, reanult were top teams and there was no need to change it...


If the FIA (ie Max) really want to find a soloution, why do they keep on releasing these inflammatory press releases? Nothing is coming from the FOTA side.

It really does look as if Max has lost the plot, and that the FIA has lost all perspective.


It's clear that it's going to be a sad ending for all
a breakaway series wouldn't be as attracting as F1, and F1 will lose it's "charisma" or whatever it is without Ferrari, Mclaren ... , and wouldn't be the F1 we know, it's a lose-lose situation.

I've been a fan for many years, but here in the middle-east F1 is just starting to get attention from the youth, especially after Bahrain and the new AbuDhabi circuit, it's important to keep F1 in it's best shape or the sport will probably lose the oppurtunity to increase the number of fans out there, and certainly manufacturers breaking away isn't going to help at all.


Thanks to Max's increasingly dictatorial behaviour over the last two years and more we seem to be edging ever nearer to a breakaway series.

If this releases millions of $ currently taken out of the sport by CVC for the benefit of the teams and the circuits, ticket prices can be reduced for the paying spectators and at the same time more money will be available to upgrade the traditional circuits like Silverstone, Spa and Monza which we all want to see retained.

For example, I calculated that at the British GP last year, FOM / CVC took about £85 from every ticket sold and this money went straight out of the sport.

In the long run a new series free of CVC and the FIA must surely be in the best interest of our sport ?


Well, on the plus side, it is looking increasingly likely that I will either be watching an entirely new manufacturer-run series with no Mosley or Ecclestone stirring the pot next year, or I'm going to be able to reclaim every other weekend to get out and do something constructive with my time.

Either way, I won't be watching a budget-capped F1. There are lots of other motorsport categories I'd find vastly more interesting.

Max Mosley will go down in history as the man who killed F1 almost single-handed on an ego trip.


Let me assume the worst and the 8 FOTA teams do not compete in F1 from next year, to be replaced with 11 new teams. I would probably stop following F1 for a while, maybe a few years, maybe for good.

I have been following, watching and supporting F1 for over 30 years, missed only a few races over that time. Yes, teams have come and gone, including many very well respected teams. But never has the entire field been decimated. As teams go, others have replaced them and either succeeded or fallen by the wayside.

Williams have a proven history, Force India are building one and the 11 news teams will take a many years before they earn my support.

Max, you have done a lot of good in the past, with some regulations, especially related to safety, but the last few years of constant changes (forcing huge costs on the teams) has got to stop. Together with Bernie you have helped to create F1 to be what it is today (ignoring the politics). Please see reason and take on board what FOTA are proposing.

11 new teams, Force India and Williams will not be enough for me to ensure that I watch all races, qualifying and practice sessions from next year. Also, other businesses that rely on F1, including media, magazines etc, will not be getting my business.


I think almost 10 years ago I was so excited to hear that Toyota, Renault, BMW and Honda will join F1 as factory teams and compete with Ferrari and Mercedes. And I think FIA was thinking the same. So I wonder what the fuss is about now? Is it because FIA soon realise the manufacturers as a group are too hard to 'manage'?

James, if there really is going to be a breakaway series, I hope to hear you as commentator again. I think the new series should be called "Formula Won".


surely CVC are going to fight tooth and nail to ensure that the likes of ferrari/bmw etc are in f1 next year - dont they still have a massive loan to pay for the f1 rights purchase - if so then an f1 with lola, superfund and prodrive instead of ferrari, renault and bmw will have far less commercial appeal, ticket/merchandise sales will fall and they'd have a lot of broadcasters trying to get out of their tv deals (or at the very least renegotiate their deals) which would massively affect their ability to repay their debt, so surely its in CVC's best interests to play ball with FOTA on this issue?


More than 50% of existing F1 fans will leave. And if the 2010 new teams don't perform up to par another 50% of the balanced 50% will follow suit. The dropping %tages could be far worse. The mood of F1 is disappearing rapidly. SIGH.


Random question.

McLaren were fined £50million (or something around there) for the spy scandal.

What would happen if something like that was to happen again, considering they will only be on a £40million budget?


What the FIA is effectively doing is the equivalent of the FA getting rid of 80% of the teams in the Premiership (is that what it's still called?) and bringing in the likes of Inverness Caley Thistle to make up the numbers. Now, much as I love Inverness Caley Thistle - it is the only football team I care about really - most people don't have the first clue who they are and would have no great affection for them. I can't see a match between Caley Thistle and Ross County, however much it would arouse passions in the highlands, filling stadia and attracting large tv audiences.

Taking away Ferrari and McLaren is like taking away Man U and Arsenal - F1 would be pretty much dead in the water without them and there just wouldn't be the fan base.

The thing is it's all so completely pointless - like you say, the FIA and FOTA are not a million miles apart, but the bitter tone of the FIA's statements both today and yesterday make it look like it's the dramatic end of a long love affair between Ferrari and the FIA.

The FIA dossier just looks so much like a hatchet job on Ferrari more than anyone else, although John Howett gets a bit of a slagging, too that I wonder if this is another machiavellian Mosley plan to split Ferrari from the rest of FOTA.

The whole thing is completely ridiculous, and while FOTA are not blameless, they have been more constructive all along and the FIA are increasingly looking like they don't want a resolution.

What I don't get is why? Why would they want to kill the sport and significantly reduce the revenue it's capable producing?


A breakaway series is just unthinkable. This would be the worst possible scenario for everybody. There would be no winners in this situation, both championships would be devalued. Who would have the TV rights to a breakaway championship? BBC are contracted to show F1, I'm not sure ITV would be interested in showing it now that they have switched their focus back to football, so it could end up on Sky, and consequently wouldn't generate the mass viewing figures the manufactures would want to showcase their brand.

And F1 without the benchmarks of McLaren, Ferrari and co. would just lose all creditability as well.

Let's just hope common sense will eventually prevail, it's something that has been missing in F1 for a long time.


The FIA seem to be gambling that if there is a split they can force Ferrari to side with them, as a result of Ferrari (presumably) signing a contract which ensures they compete in something called F1.

Do you think its likely such a contract would forbid them competing in another series? Say....a manufacturer lead series (presumably organised by them)

In other words, surely they could wriggle out of it by doing the equivalent of running a poor and under supported car in the FIAs series (the Maranello equivalent of a Ford Escort painted red perhaps)...and investing their efforts in their own series at the same time.


This whole ordeal is getting really tiresome. There's so many issues with Formula 1 at the moment that it's all become a bit of a farce.

I actually liked the way FOTA were going about things earlier this year. They were finally united as teams and had banded together to save Honda F1.

Something changed for me though. FOTAs mantra is largely based on 'being reasonable' about the situation. They talk a lot about that. So it's easy, as a fan of F1, to side with the teams who we support. There's also a lot of talk from FOTA about the issues in F1, but I feel they are keener to promote the fact there are problems rather than offering concrete solutions.

The question of governance does have some merit. The FIA have allegedly rushed through rules without consulting the teams. The difference between the FIA and FOTA is that the FIA are willing to take action. They've made amends to rules to make teams more profitable.

With the numbers of cars on the grid dwindling, new teams are necessary. A budget cap is essential to getting these new teams on board. It seems like the manufacturers are afraid they may well get beaten by a 'Formula 3' team. I would love to know why the racing pedigree of Force India or Toro Rosso is so much stronger than Campos or Litespeed. The manufacturers throw their financial muscle at issues with their cars, which is why they remain at the top.

There's so much ranting about the core values of F1 but what are these values? For me it's simple: I want to see the best drivers driving the fastest cars and jostling for position. There's just no passing anymore. Watching a race really isn't that exciting now. The sad thing is that I don't expect this to be fixed in any way because at the moment the 'key issues' involve politics and not motor racing.


I love this blog, James - it has become my first stop for F1 news but I don't really read half the stuff on here anymore (or anything anywhere else) as I'm so sick of the same old row! Roll on Friday, hope something happens to end this and then let's have a great send-off for Silverstone.


FOTA has gradually morphed into a trade union, albeit a trade union for top people (who should know better). As is frequently the way with unions, it is now dominated by a vociferous and militant minority, whose aims are primarily political. In this case those aims are quite openly to overthrow the regime (the FIA), regardless of the damage that they know will be caused in the process, i.e. by a breakaway series and a split with the FIA.

Again, just as with trade unions, the rest follow, in the interests of solidarity, in spite of the fact that their needs clearly conflict sharply with the aims of their leaders. In this case, Ferrari are determined to continue spending at a level which many are beginning to think is quite unjustifiable, and also, frankly unnecessary. They know of course they would be uncompetitive if they didn't. As for their acolytes, the family car manufacturers are closing factories and laying off workers, but simply can't admit now they are desperate to make economies. The actual FOTA core business racing teams are tagging along in the rear. They have no hope of ever matching the big spenders anyway, and hence are at best consigned to the role of perennial also-rans, making up the numbers. The only thing that unites this rag-tag bunch is that trade union thing, solidarity.

You have to ask how for example it can possibly be in Brawn's interests to end up in a breakaway series dominated by one or two teams that continue spending up to £400 million a year each? That is what Ferrari will continue spending unless they are reined in by the FIA. And despite their transparently false protestations to the contrary, what they are hell-bent on making happen is a breakaway series they can dominate with big money.

So car manufacturers are indignant at the idea that the FIA might seek to control their spending? Well maybe then, if that doesn't suit them, they should leave motor racing to motor racing teams, and find other ways of marketing family cars.

To think, all this came about because Ferrari didn't read the 2009 rules, got left behind, and couldn't get their own way by causing a rumpus (as they always did in the past). Funny thing is, the double diffuser was probably worth no more than a couple of tenths a lap anyway.

If these shenanigans don't demonstrate conclusively just why an exceptionally strong hand is needed to control the monster egos that inhabit Formula One, whether they like it or not, I think nothing ever will.


If there is a breakaway, how will this affect engine supplies.

I remember that Williams had some (may still have) anxious moments over Toyota. There may be a contract, but a law suit wont power a racing car.

At the moment Brawn is dependent on Maclaren, Red Bull on Renault, and Torro Rosso on Ferrari.

It may not be possible for them to be independant in any meaningful way.

Is there any firm opinions on tha matter of the things that make other things go fast


Flying Finn, I think FOTA has more of a Moral right than the FIA in these present arguments, the Dictatorial attitude of Max is the nub of discontent in F1 TODAY.


Couldn't agree more.

It seems only 5 minutes ago that Ferrari and Max were bosom buddies with him electing their shared ex-PR employee Allen Donnelly as an independent referee and the other teams being forced to pay the Italian team a larger share of the series profits in recognition of their "special status" in the sport.

No one is more spiteful than a lover spurned ... and all that.


Kevin M writes that there is no passing anymore. True.

So why is there no passing? Aerodynamics is why.

Why do we need aerodynamics? Well isn't it because it has become accepted that racing cars should go faster (around the bends) than they went before aerodynamics came to dominate. You could still have exciting racing without aero, cars with monster power, but they just wouldn't corner as fast. For instance you could ban wings, etc., in F1. Trouble is, you could have much more exciting racing (with overtaking) but lap times would be down on lesser formulae, and that wouldn't do, would it?

It has become accepted everywhere, that racing cars should now be in essence upside-down aeroplanes. And that's why, the better refined and designed they are, the more boring they are to watch. Which is a wee bit self-defeating for any spectator sport, and especially for one that people have to spend so much money to watch.

Can there be a way out of this impasse?

You could ban aero from all racing cars, maybe? No, you couldn't really, because the aero genie has been let out of the bag.

Well if you want to go faster than a racing car should be able to go (without wings that is) there is, was, another way.

A non-aerodynamic way. A fan.

A fan car can go faster around corners than a car should be able to go, just as an aero car can. That after all is something people have got used to, and apparently demand, isn't it? But a fan car, sucked down to the road, is largely unaffected by the aerodynamic disturbance caused by the car in front. Overtaking is possible again, and really close racing.

Would mechanical reliability rule the fan out, as it did before? Maybe, but mechanical reliability has improved beyond belief. Engines run at stratospheric revs now, without failing and are reused. The fan unit could be strictly regulated, even standardised, and proven by testing. Cost: peanuts, technology: sheer child's play by F1 standards.

Did F1 take a wrong turn when the fan car was banned?

Just a thought.


In fact I now think that a breakaway series would suit Bernie very well indeed. He may juggle the various income streams from rights between Delta Topcon, Alpha Topcon, Gamma Topcon, etc. etc. etc. all companies owned by CVC who have little if any debt. (mmm strange that :-)) With the top teams gone he will be able to keep an even higher proportion of the taking from the circuits. The air fares should be less too. He can sit back and leisurely sue Ferrari if he likes, but nothing will come of it. If Ferrari's contract is binding on them to compete in F1, then the veto clause is also binding on the FIA, I think it will grind, slowly and expensively, to a stalemate.
Without the major FOTA teams F1 will loose its appeal and it's audiences.

However as I said on a previous thread here, if a new series is to be devised, then a controlling/negotiating body will be needed to sell/handle the rights for the series. Remember that this is how Bernie ended up with everything in the first place. It's ok chaps I'll do all that work for you, handle everything, take the load off your shoulders, I've formed a company, only a formality, just sign here and here will you. (Put your soul in that box on the way out)
What 100 years? No don't bother, it wont affect you directly.


I was fimly in the FOTA camp, having long had considerable disregard for the way that F1 is run by Max and Bernie. However, having read the whole statement very carefully, and accepting of course that it is accurate, and for that we will have to await FOTA's response, I am now minded to suggest that FOTA has certainly handled things pretty badly.

As always there are two sides to the debate, but IF the FIA statement is accurate and comprehensive I suggest that FOTA is in trouble and the cracks will appear any moment soon.


Split is the worst thing to happen. It will be the repeat of IRL - CART thing, when masses were following CART and no one really cared about IRL. Same here. It's a 50-50 gamble, coin toss who will be on the 'noone cares' side, and I don't think that nor FIA, nor FOTA and manufacturers can take that risk.


Er thats because the cap doesn't include everything, and we all know football transfers are extortionate. The cap doesn't include drivers. marketing, travel, engines. The FIA estimated £200million to run a team like Ferrari – hardly peanuts. Some staff would go, sure, but the majority would stay in F1 by going to a new team or to a team like STR (who are hiring staff). I agree with Max on this – Ferrari voting for a budget cap would be like turkeys voting for Christmas, but it's a better option than 8 teams in a championship with two from the same company.


I'm not sure using the money in professional football as a benchmark is going to win much sympathy in any quarter.


absolute clarity from Mark, great post Pete


That`s the best commentary i read since this saga began.

Super Max is bringing the sport into disrispute, please can the WSMC do something?????


AH, never seen that before, thanks for clearing that up.


It's been said a few times that the budget cap will exclude, among other things, FIA imposed financial penalties.


Is there anything to stop Ferrari entering a 'mickey mouse' car in the FIA F1 if obliged to, perhaps pulling in at the end of the first lap AND racing in the FOTA series?


well said sir!!


I'd rather see Honda, a worldwide name, winning than some dude's racing team. With absolutely all due respect to Ross Brawn's genius, this is absolutely a Honda car, made through Honda's genius and investment, but led by Ross.


It is about lowering costs, not about running an F1 team for the budget you run a 2nd or 3rd division team in Italy or Spain


get off the fence James ;o)


Well, for a bloke I'm quite good at multi-tasking...but hopefully I won't need to.


I think that is unlikely.


If the thing moves towards breakaway the key then will be the law suit over whether Ferrari has a binding contract to race in F1. That could take months to sort out and without them there is no breakaway series. Max will have thought this through very carefully. But that Ferrari contract is the key to everything.


Maybe there will be a race at Silverstone next year after all where we see the likes of Mclaren, Ferrari and Brawn - just a breakaway series race.


Seems more likely we'll end up with two "F1s", and Silverstone will get "the other one". It really sounds increasingly like we will have a breakaway series next year, and then the next round of arguments and court cases, regarding which one is really "F1". Personally I don't mind, as long as the racing is good - I watched both Champ Car and Indy Car when they were running in parallel - but all this uncertainty and probably litigation will surely damage the public perception and dilute the brand. They should just sort it now.


I agree with you in that I can't see how F1 would survive if all the manfacturers pulled the pin at once. I think you missed the other important thing they provide - prestige. All the new teams coming into F1 are coming in because they want to race McLaren, Ferrari, BMW etc.

Sure if one or 2 went - say Toyota & Renault - I think there'd be an adverse effect, but the new teams would ultimately fill the void. Mind you if the one or two teams happened to be McLaren or Ferrari, then that's a slightly different story.

Bernie is well known for being a hard-nosed negotiator, but he must be wise enough to know his product would be damaged, probably beyond repair, if all the FOTA aligned teams pulled the pin. I can't see how he'll let that happen. If he does I would say he's lost his marbles. I'm sure he'll step in at some point and tell Max to cool it.


On the contrary, I think CVC are all for the new budget-capped regime, as it leaves them free to carry on creaming off revenue to pay their big debt, while possibly allowing Bernie to lower his race fees to promoters, thus stopping several traditional venues from folding and bringing back fans to the grandstands.

The last thing CVC want is a strong manufacturer grouping demanding a bigger cut from a pie that's already rapidly shrinking due to the credit crunch.

Of course, whether a series next year called F1 but without all the big manufacturers will end up causing revenue to plummet even further is another matter...


phil, I have to disagree with some of your point about the manufacturers leaving F1. You talk of the "dark ages" but for how long have we had 5 or more full manufacturer teams. Even if you include Mclaren, it can't be more than 4 years. I feel that the "corporate" feel that F1 has now completely detracts from what it was in the early part of the decade.

Is Renault a better brand than Benetton to have in F1? Do Toyota make the same impact that Super Aguri did? Did anyone (outside of Italy) support Ferrari when they weren't winning, and were they a significant crowd puller before Schumacher started dominating? My guess is no to all of these.

It is the people that made these manufacturers (Pat symmons, Ross Brawn, Flavio) successful are also what make them interesting. I love BMWs as cars, but as a racing team I find them a bit sterile, like Toyota.

I don't want to see a one make series even with the engines, but manufacturers have left before without significant impact to the sport, whereas I for one was sad when Cosworth left. Do the gear boxes and electronics contribute that much.

Final point: Who would you rather be watching; Honda or BrawnGP?

The Flying Finn

Not so sure if a few manufacturers leaving will bring F1 back to the dark ages, as the dominance of manufacturer teams is a 2000's phenomenon. They werent around in early 90's, 80's, 70's ..etc .. and it seem to me that the on track racing was lot more fun to watch..


It's not about the manufacturers. There was a time where You couldn't imagine Formula One without Brabham or Lotus. Now they are gone, and is F1 less exciting? No. Someone wrote here recently that Sauber or Benetton aren't any better because they're named BMW or Renault. From my point of view with ACEA involved the manufacturers and FOTA are trying to make pressure on FIA to gain more control over F1.

Some of FIA's proposals are simply wrong (e.g. the 'medal tally' system, KERS etc.), but they are still the name behind the Formula One. It is out of mind for Nike or Adidas to make pressure on FIFA/UEFA about football rules, and noone is asking Real Madrid or Manchester United about them. Rules are rules - and that's the point. When You disagree them, You should complain and discuss, but not the way it's done here. You cannot step and say: do what I want or I quit. Is it any differ from what Max Mosley is doing?


From what I hear, CVC people have been involved in the vetting process for the new teams, looking at the financial stability and business plan etc - so on that level they have been working with the FIA on this process



If you're correct, it would suggest that CVC/FOM & the FIA beleive that F1 will remain marketable. They'd better be right on that one! I just cannot see some of the multi-national sponsors staying or renewing their contracts, likewise the TV Companies, and if they do it will be at a reduced rate. Do you think Bernie & Max beleive that the new teams can help them retain & attract new sponsors. Having worked for a sponsor of F1, I'm pretty sure that they are whatching this situation closely. If they jump ship it won't be for the "lack of money" or a "credit crunch", I would suggest that it is because of the way F1 is conducting itself. Better enjoy Silverstone!


What's the debt level for CVC now? Last time I heard it was $350,000,000+.

They can't possibly make this money back in a series without a manufacturer, let alone losing them all in one hit...surely not?

Mark Webber had something interesting to say to the BBC in his column today, available on the BBC website...he said that the whole thing was insane. He mentioned Ronaldo's transfer fee of 80 million pounds, and how ludicrous it was that a team was expected to build a competitive car and travel around the world racing for half that cost.

While he might just be doing it to satisfy Red Bull and Mateschitz (disregarding his relationship with Max Mosley, which I've read here is excellent), he is also at the front of the GPDA, and they know what is going on too after the meeting on race day in Turkey.

I'll leave with a quote from him;

"All the drivers share the same view. We want to drive for the best teams and race against the best drivers. If it's not the FIA Formula 1 world championship, so be it. It'll still be the most prestigious championship."


That is as maybe, but there will have been discussions at CVC over the Domesday Scenario, where thier Billions could easily turn to dust in the aftermath of Max's powertripping.

Interesting to see how Real Madrid just paid $80M for C.Ronaldo, why ever are FIFA not forcing budget caps on the Football teams ? Maybe it is because it is a well run sport with decent men in charge who run it properly, not according to their own whims and perverse Vendettas.

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