The end is near
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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
F1 power struggle coming to a head
F1 power struggle coming to a head
Posted By:   |  16 Jun 2009   |  5:04 pm GMT  |  117 comments

I have a feeling that the end is in sight in the battle between the FIA and FOTA. I’ve spent the day on the phone to many of the interested parties and read the statements issued by the FIA. It looks like Friday will be put-up or shut-up day.

The first statement this morning was about the negotiations over how budget restrictions are controlled and this stated that the negotiations were now over, the budget cap stays.

Later on the FIA put out a long document recounting the history, as they see it, of this process and of FOTA’s conduct through the process.

The FIA document suggested that FOTA, Ferrari and in particular its president Luca di Montezemolo have been obstructive all along. Although there is no official response to this, the word I’m getting is that the teams feel there are some misleading statements in here.

“The FIA and FOM have together spent decades building the FIA Formula One World Championship into the most watched motor sport competition in history,” says the document.

“In light of the success of the FIA’s Championship, FOTA – made up of participants who come and go as it suits them – has set itself two clear objectives: to take over the regulation of Formula One from the FIA and to expropriate the commercial rights for itself. These are not objectives which the FIA can accept.”

Ferrari would argue that they have created the history, but this sentence isn’t aimed at them. A bit further on there is a memorable sentence which is, “Good governance does not mean that Ferrari should govern.” As a sentence that is almost Obama-esque in its balance, but the meaning is one sided.

It goes on, “Ferrari now claim that the procedures followed by the FIA are contrary to their agreement with the FIA, but in reality they never objected to these procedures (indeed they voted for them) until they were not happy with the decisions themselves. Ferrari has been officially (as well as unofficially) represented on the WMSC since 1981 and never objected to the process or decisions until April and May this year.”

Attached to the statement is a raft of correspondence. There is a letter from Mosley to Montezemolo dated 26th May which indicates that the FIA would accept a budget cap of €100 million ‘but we must have a cap’ and we must have certainty’, writes Mosley.

For 2011 Mosley suggests a cap of €40 or €45 million. He offers to drop the two tier rules and the technical advantages originally offered to the budget capped teams, if the teams will engage in an exchange of know-how with the new entrants for 2010 and ‘possibly’ 2011.

I seems to me now that the talking has stopped. After the finance meeting on Monday, the FIA’s Tony Purnell is reported to have said that the parties would meet again on Wednesday or latest Thursday. But now no meeting will take place.

The time is fast approaching for the five teams, whose entry in conditional, to either enter the championship or go off and start their own series. Of those five, Brawn GP and McLaren are under the most pressure. Surely they will have to think very seriously about the wisdom of not entering, while the other three manufacturer teams, Toyota, Renault and BMW would have to either do a dramatic U turn or leave the sport. Many people in F1 circles believe that this is Mosley’s agenda. If that were to happen then there would be spaces for Prodrive and two other new teams.

The alternative for the five teams would be to start a breakaway and hope that Ferrari won its legal battle with the FIA and FOM. That could take months to resolve and it would be hard to plan a breakaway without knowing that Ferrari was definitely part of it.

The FIA believes it has Ferrari, Red Bull and Toro Rosso under contract, the same contract as it has Force India and Williams under. I’ve spoken to Williams’ Adam Parr on this, he is a barrister and he says the contract is watertight, which is why they have entered. Ferrari say it isn’t because the FIA breached it when drawing up the 2010 rules.

Red Bull and Toro Rosso have stayed in the FOTA camp this long so as to be able to see the whole picture and have put their name to every letter and statement, but Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has always been close to Mosley and despite protestations from the Red Bull team, I wonder whether they will sign up on Friday, as racing is all those two teams exist for.

The end is nigh…as those men with sandwich boards are wont to say and it looks like it’s heading for the worst outcome.

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Julian Smallwood

As you say, so much hinges on Ferrari's contract with the FIA. But how "watertight" can it be? If Max declared that next year F1 cars would have 50cc engines and cycle wheels would it be binding?

More importantly, Max may fancy the legal battle but can the global FIA really start legal proceedings that may take years with billions at stake and find themselves against the bulk of the global motor industry (Europe + Toyota + Nissan)? Surely that would result in the meltdown of the FIA itself, not just Max.

Bernie is now key but can even he now intercede between Max and Luca?

Hopefully either Max goes or there is split and the sport we all love can move on without his megalomania.


Thank You James. I've spent the entire day/month/year wondering what the hell is going on and your insightful posts continue to make interesting reading.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't all this seem very similar to the struggle in the early 80s when Bernie & Max wrested commercial control of F1 from Jean-Marie Balestre?

F1 truly goes round in circles!!!


Mosley is nothing more than an insane, ego maniac. It is obvious that he wants total control. He would smash the toy rather than let it slip from his control and grasp.

I thought I would never say or feel this but, F1 is becoming a complete joke.

Whilst Mosley is in charge, its tainted watching. You cant run an innovative race team on £40m. its silly. If i won the lottery, I could start my own f1 team (would not pass due diligence).

F1 is a corporate circus, thats why its so great, the money, the glamour, the mind boggling technology... its not sandwiches, an old ford transit, bum cracks, greasy overalls with a 10mm spanner and duct tape.

Get a grip !


Well...I guess that's it then.

60 years of history gone.

60 years of tradition gone.

60 years of racing tradition gone.

And I right this comment as an 18 year old in Australia, who has enjoyed the sport for only 12 months, and who has already flown over 6,500km round trip across Australia to be able to watch the cars race.

Needless to say, and it saddens me desperately to say, that I won't get to make this trip next year.

I won't be able to make a trip to Singapore next year.

I won't be able to go to Spa or Monza to see the best of the best drivers drive the best of the best vehicles.

I won't be able to go to Montreal and spectate there.

Because, at the end of this, manufacturers are the reason F1 is where it is today, whether CVC, Bernie, Max or anyone else want to accept it. Without the money they have poured in, we would still have a championship, but one that...would not be as important. As...distinguished.

I put it to you that Michael Schumacher's name would not be known in just about every household in the world, if not for Ferrari. If not for BMW. If not for Renault.

But then again, I haven't been around to experience Formula 1 before manufacturer dominance...but even if the series was still dominated by independents, would CVC have coughed up the massive sum they did for the commercial rights? Probably not.

Would we have situations where circuits such as Abu Dhabi and New Delhi are purpose built just for F1, just for 13 independent teams to race around? Nope. I suppose these tracks and others (South Korea) have a serious problem in gaining revenues for their tracks now, if the contracts block break away series races being held.

Of course then, at Abu Dhabi on November 1, we will ask ourselves, all of us will: "Who was right?"

No one was. The FIA had a point with costs, so did FOTA. That's the common ground.

Max (and by extension, presumably, the rest of the FIA) insisted on budget capping. Not going to budge on that.

FOTA insisted on no budget capping. Not going to budge on that, but they did have ideas for resource restrictions, among other things.

Both should have worked together far better than they did. The FIA should not have been as ridiculously hard lined, and FOTA should have been more open to proposals from the FIA.

But they both insisted on not budging (or at least some hard liners in Max and Ferrari/Toyota), and as a result, we have a situation that cannot be resolved.

Whatever the cost, whatever the faults of men who could not compromise to satisfy their intense ego's, whatever the manufacturers do next year...Formula 1 is dead as we know it.

Instead we will have a break away series that will have trouble getting off the ground, (the ACEA who in itself is split, companies with teams already, and those who wish to compete under a budget cap, let alone finding the money for this) and an FIA Formula 1 World Championship which will really become an A1GP style debt ridden mess. (So A1GP isn't there yet, but if it weren't for the middle eastern owners with pockets as deep as the oil fields, it would be).

So I can't enjoy F1 any more.

I can't attend a European race held in the same prestige as it has been for the past 60 years.

I can't dream of ever working in a championship where what you do really matters, and people recognise you for what you've done.

I can't dream of working for the media, travelling from race to race, following what I love like James does every race weekend.


Instead, just 12 months after the Formula 1 bug bit me, suddenly a miracle cure is created.

If only Swine Flu were this easy to cure...

lower-case david

just for context, y'know to get a rough idea of the options and restrictions: anyone care to hazard an educated guess as to what a contract with the FIA to race in f1 actually entails ... specifically are ferrari allowed to enter any other series, or does the contract demand complete exclusivity.

covenants regarding restriction of trade and all that jazz.

i s'pose you could start getting philisophical about what exactly a 'team' is ... Ferrari are currently allowed to make A1 cars without issue, could they make a coupla FOTA F1 cars and have them 'privately' entered in any breakaway.

also, i guess recalling indy we see that teams probably need to at least attempt a formation lap, but what else is required to satisfy the FIA contract that mosley is currently clinging to? how cheaply could Ferrari do 17 unmarked, unliveried formation laps in a season, with this years car tweaked, two old engines, and some apprentices from the factory with a crib sheet on how to start and F1 car, especially if your 09 FOM points are still good to cover shipping costs. you could probably run the pantomime at a profit with your fom/ferrari sweetheart deal still in effect.



I was wondering; are Ferrari just contracted for 2010. If so are the FIA not being a bit short sighted as Ferrari could easily plan a breakaway and execute it for the 2011 season.


To be honest, a conclusion... any conclusion will be a relief.

Roll on Friday, but please let's not have any u'turns afterwards no matter who stays or goes.


If Ferrari has been represented on the WMCS since 1981 and never objected to any processes or decisions until this year, shouldn't be a clue to the FIA that what they are attempting to do now is completely ridiculous?


This is incredible drama and quite exciting as to what the outcome will be. Someone will have to give although the power of the manufacturers holding their nerve is against the FIA is something we haven't seen for a long, long time. It looks like a revolution is approaching and this could be a new beginning which is a really positive thing for the fans and constructors alike.

It seems mad that the FIA is prepared to let 8 top teams walk away in what will effectively diminish the FIA's credibility. It seems that FOTA has grown up now with some balls and I wonder if Max will now regret his actions. No one wants to see F3 cars with F1 badges. Lets see a series with some innovation and rules freedom.


Well, after all, who would have said at the beginning of the year? I believe everyone thought some way or another a solution was to be reached but here we are at the fringe of dissapearing this fantastic sport.

Fortunately we'll always have MotoGP, LeMans and the WRC. I hope that after this, FIA (Mosley) and FOM (Bernie, who in my opinion has been quite silent throughout the whole process) don't start thinking about making any of these the "most watched motorsport in the world."

Christian Stewart

Who stands to lose the most should agreement not be achieved by Friday? Brawn and McLaren are of course candidates - but only if FOTA buckles. The combined resources of FOTA ought to give them a safety net.

So instead I would suggest that CVC stands to lose the most. A protracted legal battle would destroy the business of F1 and render their investment almost worthless. Ferrari, Red Bull/Toro Rosso, Toyota, BMW, Renault would lose little, especially if efforts are directed elsewhere. Ferrari and Red Bull might lose in the courts eventually, but only after the damage has been done.

Mosley is almost incidental here - CVC are surely likely to do everything to broker a deal. They must avoid a split.

As a side note, any legal action involving Ferrari would surely have to be instigated by the FIA, not the other way round. Ferrari have already stated their beliefs and intentions.


Of course the FIA have the abiltiy to throw a spanner in the works of any rival series.

They though their member associations handle licencing, tracks etc etc.

The Flying Finn

I thought that Ferrari's stance of FIA breaching their rights was already thrown out by the courts a while back ? This is getting tiresome but the lesson on strategy here is tops, better than anything taught in business school for sure ! The bottom line is would Brawn/RBB/Mac bet their own existence on the manufacturers being able to convince their boards and get $xxx millions to race + $xxx millions extra to set up a new series, all on a short timeframe, when it would be so much more palatable to shareholders, politically/financially/whatever, to pull the plug on racing entirely. The are in the business of selling cars, not racing, or running racing leagues. Even in the scenario that it does happen, one must suspect that all the FOTA cost cutting unity shown now will probably go out the window and its every team for themselves again, just with Ferrari in place of Max. Budget and arms race anyone? Would Ross think he got a better chance in that game, or in the FIA proposed one? Which would an aspiring manufacturer like Hyundai go for ? Its time to bid farewell to Renault Toyota and hello Prodrive / Epsilon / Flavio ..



I wouldn't hope for a split - the IRL/CART split pretty much destroyed open wheel racing here in the U.S. Just over a year after the reunification, the car count has dropped back down and the racing has been less than stellar. I still have hopes that it will improve, but it has not been a good thing for anybody.


Question: Why would Max Mosley and the FIA care who has the commercial rights to F1?

I can see why Max and Co. don't want to give up control of setting the rules, but where the profits go should be of no consequence to the sport's regulating body. Any ideas?


Dear James, as an impartial journo i will appreciatte your opinion on the following:

Every contract has an escape clause and also exists arbitration, and surely Ferrari already will have calculated this cost in a worst case escenario.

As an F1 fan i think this battle is over, 99% sure FOTA will have to decide on run their on show and leave F1 for good.

If you were Ferrari, BMW or Mclaren, how will you downsize your operation from US$300 - $500 million to only $65 million + some other expenses, simply impossible. The value of the teams and the value of the F1 brand will diminish severely; and also, imagine the number of layoffs that the teams should make and the legal and contractual problems this will carry, if i were the british government i will be pretty much worried beacuse we are talking thousands of people being on the job market.

Not so long ago the FIA used to charged a hefty bond of $48 million for entering the F1 champiomship. How much the teams invested this year on developing KERS?, How much they have invested in developing V8´s engines?, How much they have invested in the new Chassis for the 2009 regulations?. How any team, including Force India and Williams can accept after all the investments made all this years in terms of new regulations, facilities, human resources, marketing, etc that the FIA comes and accept that new teams come and enter the champiomship for such a small budget.

Do you think the FIA is not missing something?


As an avid follower of F1, I too feel a conclusion approaching.

The FIA's backing letters are interesting - offers of a £100M cap, for example. I wonder if that's still on the table if the teams remove the "conditions" from their entry and take up Max's previous offer of "working from the inside" to sort out a future for F1?

I can't see a breakaway series being worked up with a question mark hanging over Ferrari. Even the threat of legal action will stop sponsors, tracks, media companies etc. signing up. And that's before Bernie deploys his legal team.



Seeing as we are not getting as much info from the FOTA side as the FIA's, I would be surprised if FOTA hasn't explored the feasibility and practicability of a breakaways series at least to some level of depth.

Most opinions coming from most journalists and commentators seem to suggest that FOTA is just issuing these statements without having considered the machinations of running a breakway series as a worst case scenario. I really don't think this is the case John Howett aluded as much. The only reason we might not have heard of this is that they consider it prejudicial of the discussion with Max and have therefore kept it under wraps.

It would be massively naive of them not to done so at this juncture.


James, why don't Ferrari just start a new series with the rest of FOTA and run young drivers in formula 1 under the budget cap (Peanuts to them) and then withdraw from F1 at the end of their contract?

Surely this would destroy F1 and Max Mosley as Ferrari would be publicly showing F1 as a lower category.


@lower-case david nailed it. If this did go to court and Ferrari lost what's stopping them just running a 'few left overs' at the back of the field to comply with the rules.

My biggest worry is for McLaren/Brawn who pretty much exist to go racing. Putting all your eggs in one basket with FOTA seems like a dangerous game to play.


Funny what's happened now the FIA and Ferrari have fallen out with each other. Aside - or not - what's old toad Jean Todt's opinion on all this? Still interested in the presidency?


Later on the FIA put out a long document recounting the history, as they see it, of this process and of FOTA’s conduct through the process.

I thought the documents said little about FOTA and a lot about Ferrari. Just as the FIA lawyer chided Ferrari for trying to put the argument on their terms, one could say exactly the same of the FIA regarding what documents it chose to release, and when. The FIA's 10th June letter was plainly written with a view to its future public release.


Above all Ross Brawn must be caught between a rock and a hard place in all this.

Remember that his team exists thanks to the help FOTA gave him earlier this year, meanwhile he is not manufacturer backed and his business is F1 alone. How hard a position must he be in not to want to desert the manufacturers who went out a limb for his team to make the grid this year whilst at the same time realising the very existance of that team is in doubt if they do not make an F1 entry? I wouldn't want to be in his shoes right now thats for sure!

It seems to me that most of these problems would be solved by Max Mosley stepping down, and a realignment of the FIA's roles and responsibilities. The FIA should be a regulator with teeth when needed, but it also doesn't need to be a dictatorship which changes rules every year. The DNA of F1 is partly FIA built, of course it is, but the teams have built it too. It is wrong for either side to claim they have the dibbs on running F1 because without each other they are both losers...

Lets hope this gets sorted by friday and we can get on to the real business of the BRITISH GP!

Great site James!


If the talking has stopped then the bluff has been called.

Cue Renault, Toyota (and maybe BMW's) departure. Turn-key operation anyone?

Brawn and McLaren will enter. Mosley will have a quiet word in Mateschitz' ear.

Prodrive, Lola and Epsilon will join.

Ferrari will continue grumbling. Flavio will start selling engines again (Supertec anyone?) - even a Megatron (BMW 1988!). Frank Williams will get his debts paid off by Toyota's money for breach of contract and will be able to get rid of Nakajima.

So here's the finalised entry list for 2010 I am expecting (based on current constructor's standings and new entrants in two tranches of alphabetical order dependant upon when their entry was granted):

Brawn GP
Red Bull Racing
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
AT&T Williams
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Force India
Campos Grand Prix
Manor GP
Aston Martin (Prodrive)
Epsilon Euskadi


If the FIA should win this debacle and force FOTA teams to race under a cap it would serve Bernie right if the British fans went on strike and no one turned up at Donnie in 2010. This could send a very strong message.


Hi James,

I miss Ron Dennis in this whole episode of the FIA Vs FOTA. Has there been any comments from RD on this?


I just got back from Le Mans - heroic is the word... then to watch Rossi in the Moto GP final corner move in Barcelona.

It's unlucky my ticket for this weekend is already paid for because right now I have little stomach for this kidshow series... and compound all ridicule even if F1 continues they'll probably not be a brit GP next year to save me the quandry.

Originally I was dead against Max & Bernie but in truth the FOTA teams - and Ferrari head and shoulders above them - have let this situation develop through previous politicing.

Its got to the point now where regardless of the outcome we'll be left with scorched earth and nothing but legions of former fans searching for alternative motorsport entertainment... excellent, well done everyone involved.

And my thoughts to Button - I personally will applaud your performance this season regardless of what other events might overwhelm the championship.


Hi James.

As a 61 year old that has watched F1 with a passion since my dad took me to East London to the 1st GP in South Africa since the war in about 1960's, I have followed everything F1 related since then, from listening on the radio to TV coverage. What I want to know is how are the FIA ever going to actually 'police' a budget cap figure.

All McClaren or Ferrari have to do is plough the millions into a "car development project" and buy it for the F1 team at a fraction of the cost to keep them under the so called budget cap ( surely the fIA is not allowed to 'police' the whole organisation!!!).

Please let Max take his whips and handcuffs,( which is what he is trying to do to F1) and dissapear into the distance. Are there no other sensible people that run the FIA?. I always thought that the FIA were in charge of governing/implementing the rules and not actually Writing them. Is this right?

Go FOTA you have my backing hands down. Bernie - side with these lads if you want to keep your empire intact!!!!!


By 'worst outcome' do you mean the FIA are going to win? I really hope not. Surely the long term strength of motor racing that a breakaway championship would probably guarantee would justify the short term disruption it would cause.

As for Max Mosely, I can't really say what I think of him because this website doesn't allow for personal attacks. But the scary thing is that some people in Britain used to say he would have made a good Prime Minister. I would have to disagree- I prefer democracies to dictatorships.


Thus, according to the FIA, F1 is the most watched televised sport in the world at present thanks to the hard work of the FIA and FOM.

Now, if the manufacturers will start their own breakaway series, will the FIA F1 still be the most watched sport on the television?

Will the breakaway series become the most watched sport on television?

Which show will be more popular, the FIA F1 or the breakaway series?


Who will cave in first? Could it be CVC! Selling the commercial rights at rock bottom price to FOTA or being forced to do so by the debtholders of CVC s original loan to buy it from Bernie.


The problem for Ferrari is not their contract with the FIA but the separate one they have with Bernie's FOM. Apparently it's watertight and lasts until the end of 2012.

That means they could be liable for all the money Bernie could claim he had lost through their absence if they don't race for the next three years, potentially hundreds of millions of dollars.

By comparison any money the FIA could claim would be very modest - a few hundred thousand dollars in fees etc.

Having read the FIA's statement today I can't agree there's any "megolomania". It seems quite reasonable assuming it's all true. Any sign of a response from FOTA?

Fernando Garza Galindo


What can we worlwide fans do? We need your help since maybe you can tell key people what we think and feel, we can't

Just as a background, my first live GP was Mexico in '68 with Lotus 49 and Hill Sr driving
I have been a fan since the 60s, and yes Bernie and Max brought the sport from unkown, elite sport to massive, worlwide show, but that does not mean they "own" it, even if they have the contracts to prove it

FIA should write sporting, safety and technical rules and apply them equal to all participants, governed by commitees, not individuals, and with involvement/representation by participants
It has no reason for interference with the commercial side of it

I am sure that is what the FIA statutes say, but it is a long time since they have adhered to it, from inconsistent fines and penalties, to un needed safety cars, to unefficient new rules (kers), to defining F1, F2 and F3 as opposed to "world series by renault" and similar events

Not to mentioning cuddling up with Ferrari in the Schumacher era and now screaming like they were the devil himself, they are the same slick Italian blokes with fast red cars

On the commercial side it seems weird that there is a big push to limit team budgets because of the crisis, but not a single comment on reducing FOMs exorbitant fees and refusal to share on benefits with participants

I do not know the figures, but am sure reducing costs and sharing profits would help more than limiting team budgets, not to mention if there really is a breakaway series
Who wants to watch Formula1 *TM, with 8 Lola-Cosworths race around Singapore at night, when you can have Hamilton's McLaren race against Massa's Ferrari in Silverstone and Montreal (tracks now available), even if it is called the Red Bull Driver's Championship or something else, we'll miss Monaco, but you can not pass there anyway

FOM are as far away from the original concept as the FIA
Killing the British or Canadian Grand Prix because of lack of money and then moving the racing hours in Singapore so the Brits and Canadians can watch live on TV is absolute nonesense

As other fans mentioned, remember what happened to CART/IRL, there is a lesson to be learned from there
And as soon as fans are bored, confused, or both, ratings go down, attendance goes down, sponsors go out and we're back to basics once again, hopefully with Max and Bernie out of the picture

Thanks for your time


Reading the full FIA press release, its comes across not as a professional statement of fact but rather a "he said - we said" document. While there are some interesting comments, and as read some good points its rather childish in nature and only reaffirms the "two boys on the playground" argument that these people are playing...while jobs and livelihoods hang in the balance. They should all be ashamed on both sides.


A cracking summary James, I'm with you, i just can't see Brawn, Mclaren, Red Bull etc not signing up or the FIA backing down.

However, the drivers are all, as one, clearly pushing the breakaway idea. Which is quite bizarre really given the above line. If Red Bull are definatly going to enter why has Webber said what he has said today? Its all a bit weird!

Even an F1 without just Ferrari, Renault and Toyota would mean an F1 without Massa, Alonso and Kimi (three of the most widely supported drivers in the world) that will also have an impact on the spectators! Add in Mclaren, although they exist only to race in F1 in theory, Merc have a massive influence on them these days, and Lewis Hamilton is gone too.

What will happen, if come Friday we are still in this state of Limbo? As i see it, Max is safe until the next FIA meeting, if this limbo is still ongoing or Ferrari and others have gone by the time of that meeting, i imagine he will be under serious pressure to leave the FIA. I simply can't believe that no-one at the FIA can see how detrimental that scenario would be to their flagship series - especially when you look at the state their other worldwide series are in (WRC with two manufacturers etc).


And to add to my previous comment. If Max does leave the FIA, who is the overwhelming favourite to take his job? Jean Todt.....


If there is a breakaway series: The organizers let the FiA do all the work, and just take all their rules and regs for the season, revamp as desired in committee and then run the breakaway series at all or most of the same tracks. Well, Monaco might be tough to duplicate. Can you imagine either of these slightly outlandish scenarios?

1. Prince Albert leaves all the stands up and allows the breakaway series to run a week later. I would love to see the attendance very low for the FiA run series and a packed house for the breakaway race.

or even better:

2. Prince Albert tells Bernie and Max to pound sand and limits Monaco to the breakaway teams only, i.e. no FiA race.


As an avid American fan of Formula 1 for 14 years, I can say with certainty that the series will not be on my television next year. Sorry Peter Windsor. If there is a breakaway series, I wish them all the best. I, as a fan and racer want pure motorsport, not politics. I want disagreements to be handled with dignity internally. The best series would be one which governs itself, and shows us only the spectacle. Selfishly, as a regular attendee I'd relish the thought of the return of the USGP or the Canadian GP. I also like the thought of this breakaway series running at Silverstone, Spa, Magny Coeur, Suzuka, ect, without the annual threat of the race being withheld because of power or monitary disputes. And I revel in the thought of a series that is run in the absence of Bernie and Max. They ruin [mod] the sport I love. But I'm just one stupid American fan


Anyone who doubts the validity of the FIA's claims about Ferrari's legal situation should take a look at the correspondence they released between their with Ferrari's lawyers. The FIA's lawyer made Ferrari look stupid. Particularly regarding their claims that they're allowed to veto rules changes after they've already been adopted - the FIA point out that this would be tantamount to saying that Ferrari aren't actually bound by any rules!

The 2005 agreement between Ferrari, FOM, and the FIA also says that Ferrari aren't allowed to control (either directly or indirectly) any team in a rival series, or to do anything prejudicial to the image of F1.

I wonder how this breakaway series will fare once the FIA gets a court order preventing Ferrari from entering it until the 2013 season!


Setup a break away series at the tracks that have been left out, Monza,Silverstone, Spa, etc etc. traditional racing tracks.

Get help from the guys who organised the MotoGP breakaway from the FIM, they have made it a success.

Let F1 carry on in Turkey (low attendance) etc.

Use Joint ventures with the tracks and plough any tv money back in to develop the tracks for the future. If the rights holders had invested in the more traditional tracks, maybe they would still be here. There is plenty of money swashing around in FOM/CVC for this.

Max should go. But it reminds me now of how the country is being run and it will get worse in the future.


This is all getting rather sad (or is that "sadder"?).
I read the FIA statement in full. Apart from some posturing, that James also pointed out, the statement makes Ferrari look bad.
Not in the direct accusations that the FIA is making, but it makes it look like Ferrari is corrupt and is doing everything they can to stop "big brother FIA" from exposing their working practises.
I have images in my head of a Holywood movie with Ferrari as benevolent and public friendly on the outside, and seedy, corrupt, underworld dealing behind closed doors.

I'm sure that's not the case of course, but since I've yet to get an answer to the question "why" from Ferrari, we can only draw conclusions from what we know and are told.

I'm hoping the dossier from FOTA will answer the "why" question and restore some faith in a proud organisation like Ferrari. Though I fear it will just be a slanging match about why we should hate big brother FIA. The kind of slanging match my younger sister would have had with me when we were 5.

Just sort it out lads.



Cant Ferrari change the name when they enter the other championship? Just my guess here!!


I am a huge fan of F1, and I don\'t want to see the sport damaged beyond recognition. I believe that the principle of what the FIA are trying to achieve is correct, I want to see more privateer teams and cost reduction is the only way we will see that.

I am surprised to some extent that the FIA is taking such an aggressive stance, but I also observe that some of the FOTA tactics have been nothing short of childish and obstructive (refusing to discuss budget caps at a finance meeting, and trying to stage a walk out).

To me it is clear that the teams need an independent body to regulate this sport, and sometimes that body needs to take unilateral decisions to move the discussion/sport forward. If FOTA controlled the sport in 2009, what would have happened to Brawn, Toyota and Williams and their car designs? Whether you believe their design is legal or not, you have to say that we would have a situation where Ferrari, Renault, BMW and Red Bull would have effectively made their competitors cars illegal, and Brawn and Williams would have been penalised for having a good idea and excecuting it(Toyota got the idea from and ex Honda employee). Time has shown that the double diffuser is not the sole performance differentiator and that the FIA acted correctly and impartially because they don\'t have a vested commercial interest in F1.

If Ferrari are contractually bound to F1 until 2012, then there will be no breakaway, and I cannot see them running last years car whilst competing elsewhere. No team will field a poor car in the FIA championship, because they will not want the negative publicity of being beaten by a new privateer team competing for a fraction of their previous costs. In fact if you examine the real motives of Ferrari, Renault and Toyota I suspect that this is the reason they are against a budget cap. Perhaps they believe that there is a possibility that someone else will do it better at a fraction of the cost.


Very interesting documents and comment from Jakob but I very much doubt that the EU courts will enforce any clauses preventing Ferrari from competing elsewhere. There is a long history of ruling against anything seen as anti-competitive.

The FIA have already fallen foul of this before when they were told they could have no role in any commercial aspects of F1. How this can be reconciled with the FIA imposing a budget limit on teams beats me.

Monitoring the internal expenditure of each team and directly controlling it seems very much like involvement in the commercial running of a business to me !

Most knowledgeable fans now support the FOTA breakaway series, as do I.

As for the other players, it\'s a measure of just how out of touch Moseley is that he has allowed this situation to develop.

As for Ecclestone and CVC, as soon as financial constrictions emerged, it was inevitable that the huge amount of money being taken out of the sport, first by Bernie and latterly by CVC to service it\'s debts would become a big issue.

Bernie saw this coming, that\'s why he sold out to CVC.

It\'s easy to forget that this hugely damaging drain on F1 resources exists solely because CVC paid so much cash to Ecclestone and his family trusts !


James why don\'t they just enter 2 token cars, with no name drivers, paint them white and drive them round slowly... F1 will ask them to leave soon enough.

In the mean time they can go off and do what we all would love to see... start a truly professional racing series!


I think the problem is that we are all discussing the symptoms rather than the underlying problem. The FIA press statement does exactly this - it ignores the real problem and just discusses the side effects in the hope of distracting everyone from the core issue.

As it stands the FIA can effectively change the rules at any time to suit whatever Max feels like that day - For instance sneaking in a budget cap, two tier etc at a meeting about a disciplinary matter without consultation or agreement from the teams.

This is not acceptable to the teams, they invest large amounts of money and provide the spectacle and need some guarantee that all their investment isn\'t going to be wasted each time Max/the FIA have another stupid idea.

The teams are asking for sensible governance - some sort of security - suggesting the rules should be made by an independent committee representing all the interested parties - the FIA, FOM and FOTA - rather than being at the mercy of what has become a thinly disguised dictatorship.

They are being asked to sign up to a series where the contract can in effect be rewritten by the other side without consultation.

No business or sport or individual can realistically accept this as a working proposition. It worked in F1 previously because it was run by gentlemen - however in the last few years the FIA has not been acting responsibly and so the situation can\'t continue.

At the same time the coupling of the political side of the FIA with the stewarding/judicial side of the FIA means you can\'t guarantee that if you come first you will win the race. That\'s why we have a separate judiciary in democracies.

Sadly I think FOTA will split due to the sheer enormity of the legal and financial implications for some of the parties not signing. Max will introduce a few new teams and F1 will be dead.

The origin of F1 was about it being a gentlemans sport - where the emphasis on gentleman was that people acted as gentlemen and showed a degree of respect for each other. There has always been a certain amount of cheating and that was dealt with in a gentlemanly way and was what made the whole thing interesting.

Manufacturers did change things when they entered the sport, they weren\'t doing it for a hobby and some things had to change to allow them to make it worthwhile to be there, but by and large they kept to the spirit of F1.

I do not want to watch a series that will become Max\'s personal plaything and I can understand the manufacturers not wanting or able to take part in that either.


Just glad I\'m not a CVC shareholder at this time.! ! !


But it\'s not going to be a happy ending is it James?

US F1 GP 2005, 6 cars. Ego\'s collided and didn\'t give up that day. So should no one back down, how about the 4 car (Williams and Force India) 2009 British Grand Prix as FOTA \'reminds\' the FIA and Bernie that they control the show. Of Course they have to satify a minimum contratual obilgation, such as doing the warm up lap and qualifying the cars for the race.

Either way, by not staging a proper race between now and the end of the season, FOTA could destroy Max\'s position within the FIA and cause Bernie/CVC a financial headache.


It looks like FOTA has blinked with Wednesday's reported letter to the FIA wishing to urgently conclude matters and to compromise.

They are at the FIA's mercy now with Max holding the aces.

As it was always going to be.


Too many people, not just on this website, but on others are seeing this whole episode as very negative and talking about the loss of heritage, history and tradition. This whole period in the history of F1, I think, will be very good for the sport and a return to its old roots.

F1 history has seen many, many teams come and go. We’ve had a number of manufactures (like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Lotus etc) through the history of the sport, but many more private teams that have varying degrees of success. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for cars to made in tool sheds at the bottom of peoples gardens for less than the price of cheap hatchback. Some won races, others are long forgotten. Alex T is right, this episode will probably see one or all of the main manufacturers (BMW, Toyota, Renault) leave the sport, citing “economic” reasons. This is not a bad thing in my opinion. This will leave room for the independent teams, such as Williams, Force India, Manor and Campos to come through and reignite the spirit of F1 from the sixties, seventies and eighties – the true history of F1. We’ll be back to the world’s best drivers with precision engineered cars, but without mega-bucks thrown at the car in the vain effort that it will win.

Whilst the manufactures may decide to leave, all the other teams including Ferrari have no choice but to stay. What else will they do, teams like Mclaren and Brawn were founded to race. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, racing is there business, there’s no alternative but race in F1 or close as a business. “Set up a rival series” - I hear you all cry. No, it would not work and whilst teams may threaten a rival, they all know it could not work. Fernando Garza Galindo says that nobody would want to watch F1 if there were 8 Cosworth’s driving round Singapore when you could watch the Mclarens and Ferraris battle around Silverstone in a rival series. The problem is that it would never be like that. If a budget cap is introduced, F1 grids will be fuller, ok with fewer engine suppliers, but the racing would be better and less predictable. A rival series, with unlimited budgets, would only have a few teams, albeit with Ferrari. Who wants to watch two Ferraris, two Mclaren’s and half a dozen other cars (BMW, Toyota, Renault?) racing each other – sounds boring to me. The infrastructure is made for F1, the calendar is ready, there are teams clambering the be in the Championship and there is no room for another on the TV schedules. Ferrari and the others know this, which is why it will never happen.

So what will happen? Ferrari and the others will agree to a reducing cost cap, a couple of teams will leave and we’ll get a few more racing teams join – that’s right teams, not manufacturers. Lola and Prodrive both have great racing pedigree and I can’t imagine that they will be at all negative to the sport. F1 is about the glamour, the underdog winning through and wheel to wheel racing. The corporate days of the last ten years are making the sport boring and predictable. We could cope with it for a while, but now they are starting to throw their weight around, I think it’s time for them to be put into line, and if we loose a couple, so be it. This is a real opportunity for F1 to get rid of some of their dead wood and get back to what it once was. Remember kids, “we don’t need the manufacturers”. Bring on 2010!!!


The latest statement from FOTA seems to be a genuine final offer to negotiate a compromise with the FIA.

However, it would require Moseley to completely back down have confirmed earlier this week that the budget cap of $40m will be introduced next year.

James, can you really see that happening ?


Most of the people who take the trouble to comment on this site are evidently very (or extremely) interested in F1 -but it seems to me increasingly perhaps that they seem to be less worried about the consequences (and indeed intrigued over the consequences of a FOTA walkout from Formula 1) and ever more more tired of the bickering in what is a very privileged sport.

If this is true for aficionados then the general public (especially given the present economic circumstances) is not going to give a damn what happens if all these people are not very careful. Despite 30 plus years of keen interest in Formula 1 (and with reluctance) there are other things to do at weekends


So far im happy.

No Renault, Toyota, BWM and Ferrari. We get to keep Brawn, McLaren, Red Bull, Williams, Rosso, Force India and get a load of new teams including Prodrive, Lola and USF1.

Sounds great, proper racing teams owned by racers without a major manufacture in sight.

Bring on 2010!


Come on FOTA don't let [mod] Mosley win!

How's this for an idea...

-FOTA set up a new championship for 2010 and call it V8 World Series or something like that.

- They keep the 8 teams they already have and try to entice the unsucessful F1 candidates like Lola, Epsilon, N Technology and Prodrive.

-They could offer cut price TV packages and race contracts for the first few years while the series gets going

-FOTA could stage races in areas which suit them rather than Bernie Ecclestone, ie mainly in Europe but places like the US, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Japan, and mabye China and India

-They run at circuits like Silverstone, Indinapolis and Fuji 'till the current F1 circuit contracts run out, when they could offer them cheaper deals (hopefully this would lower ticket prices and raise attendances). Hopefully they'd be able to get Monaco to make the switch

I don't know how the Ferrari- FIA- FOM contract works, but would it be possible for them to run in both F1 and a Fota series? Would they, for example, be able to run in F1 from 2010- 2012 as 'Italy racing team' with a green livery and a miniscule token budget, running drivers like Marc Gene and Luca Badoer, while running the proper Ferrari team elsewhere? Or does the Ferrrari/ FIA contract have an exclusivity clause in it?


Ferrari have had too much control in the sport over the years and too many biased results in their favour as a consequence. Perhaps a clean sweep of the old school tie brigade with their secret deals is just what the sport needs to reinvigorate it and put the focus back on the teams and their drivers.

I for one would be interested to see how the sport evolves with no Ferrari intervention in it. I'd also be interested to see the FIA run as a proper governing authority that is highly respected by the teams and the media, but Mosely would have to go for there to be a chance of that happening.


There has been a lot of talk about why the teams are not receiving the amounts of money they should be receiving because most of the sport's revenue has to go to CVC to enable it service it's loan.

The concern that I have is that this loan being serviced wasn't invested in the sport, but was for the acquisition of the commercial rights from the Ecclestone Family (reminiscent of most such business deals made the period leading up to the credit crunch!).

Therefore the sentiments being expressed by most people that a breakway series would have to spend (therefore borrow) as much as CVC to run a series a grossly misleading.


From Autosport: "Mosley confirmed that there would be no two-tier regulations in 2010, which had been one of the biggest complaints of FOTA. However, he said that Cosworth would be allowed to run to 2006 regulations because it had neither the time nor the resources to return for 2010."

I mean... what is this guy on?

One minute there is no two-tier in 2010, the next Cosworth are allowed to run 2006 engines (no rev restriction and no fixed number of units per season). No wonder FOTA want to walk away from mad Max...


Amazing that such anti competitive clauses were ever signed off, all in secret of course seemingly present in all of Bernie's dealings.

Neither the USA's anti trust laws nor the EU legislation would appear to be effective.


Reading the FIA answer, I think it's the end of F1, as we know it. Neither side is willing to give in. Bring on the manufacturer series!


It's probably the manufacturers/teams who will win, to go racing in the future under whatever title.

After all, it was always the kid who owned the ball (or, in this case, the cars) who made the rules, and got to say who did and didn't play.


"Therefore the sentiments being expressed by most people that a breakway series would have to spend (therefore borrow) as much as CVC to run a series a grossly misleading".

Alex Y, you are exactly right.

By my calculation, between £80 and £100 of the ticket price for the British GP goes to CVC/FOM.

They also take all the trackside advertising revenue and the huge Paddock club hospitality income paid by the sponsors.

They also hold back a large proportion of the TV money.

This leaves track owners without any profit to upgrade their facilities and doubles ticket prices.

Take FOM / CVC out of the equation and you have a profitable championship, circuits that have the money to improve their facilities and much cheaper race tickets.

Having 100% of the TV revenue would allow FOTA to support the budgets of at least a couple of new teams as well.

I hope they don't, but I still think the FOTA teams will cave in and sign up.


Written: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 09:50:12

Formula one's road to peace is being held up by its new owner, McLaren principal Ron Dennis revealed this week.

He said the carmakers' disgruntled 'breakaway' group is having trouble dealing with 86 per cent shareholder CVC Capital Partners, because the buyout deal is yet to get EU approval.

So nothing new then!

Interesting article here:

Even better one here:

Oh what a tangled web! It seems that the ultimate owners of everything F1 are us, the UK taxpayers, since Bernie'e multi layered empire is all balanced upon a huge loan from our own very inept RBS.

So Mandy (the next Labour PM until the general election) could have some influence here. (He must do something I approve of one day by the law of averages) He can tell Bernie to play nicely with the other boys or his loan could get revoked.


I think this is all a rouse for Toyota, Renault and BMW to leave the sport without egg on their faces for under achieving recently.

The Kitchen Cynic

Very interesting move by Lola. Seemingly somewhat peeved at having shelled out a fortune for their bid, only to be held back as part of Max's Sword of Damocles. And they're taking their bat and ball home.

I mean, having been put through that before you even enter, you wouldn't be overly keen on being at Max's mercy, would you?


All this malarkey from Ferrari - If I win the lottery I'm not buying a car from the shifty so-and-so's. No, it's going to be an Aston Martin from people you can believe in!


You can sign anything you want in a contract. It's irrelevant if its against the law.

Every contract I've ever signed contains a clause stating that if any part of the contract is found to be invalid in the jurisdiction you are in, that clause is invalid but the rest of the contract remains in force. You can bet your life that the FIA/FOM contracts are written in that style.

Thus they can have these anti-competition clauses in the contract, knowing the anti-competition clause is invalid but that that invalid clause does not invalidate the contract.

These anti-competitive clauses, of course I haven't seen them, and I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt they'd stand up in court. But there will be other side deals and clauses all inter-twined, and guarantees of this and that with penalties for failure to deliver. If anything is going to scupper a breakaway, it won't be the anti-competitive stuff, it'll be the commercial deals and penalties surrounding the guarantees.


If I were lola or prodrive I would be talking to FOTA and telling them that I would happily join a new series they might set up and look to become a member for FOTA having done so.


There is always more than meets the eye, and if you have read some F1 web sites, they are reporting that Mr. Mosley is willing to talk about the sport governance, the international cour of appeals and the new concorde agreement which will return much of the rules decision making to the teams.

Maybe the 100 millions pounds it`s enough for the teams to sign for 2010 under certain provisions, but i think the 45 million won`t be accepted.

At this point if there is a breakaway both sides will end up losing.


The FOTA compromise offer is no such thing. It contains a requirement for an outside agency to run the discipline and appeals. If you take that away, Mosley loses a massive amount of authority. All he'd have left would be the ability to change the rules.

Another demand is that there is a binding concord agreement that the teams could veto, so taking away Mosley's ability to change the rules on a whim, as he's done in the past.

If anything, the FOTA offer is more likely to put Mosley against coming to an agreement as the intent is to emaculate him.


Can you see Montezemolo having that kind of sense of humour ?....or any kind of humour that involved the possibility of him or Ferrari looking feintly ridiculous....?

Try as I might, I just can't see ANYONE at Ferrari having any self-mocking humour when it comes down to it.


I consider myself a knowledgeable fan, and I don't in any way support the Fota breakaway series. So many people seem to think that this series will be some kind of benevolent democracy, run by thoughtful participants for the pleasure of the fans. What has allowed this all to escalate is the clash of massive egos on all sides, so the last thing F1 needs is to be run by these people.


I completely agree with you.

However, today I think there is a possibility to solve these big issues, which would see Mosley publicly recognise FIA will change the rules in accordance with the agreement (eventually) reached with the FOTA.

Just my opinion, of course.


Well, in Italian, 'ferrari' means 'a worker in metal' ... or a SMITH !!!


Ron Dennis!


A few people are suggesting this. Not sure though that Ferrari's shareholders would ever countenance the damage it would do the marque's prestige if they were trundling around halfheartedly in a series they were being forced to attend.

When they allowed an F355 to appear in the Bond movie 'Goldeneye' it was heavily stipulated in the contract that the car couldn't be seen to be beaten in a race, even against Bond. That's how jealously they guard their image, so I imagine they would see it doing incalculable harm to the brand of the Prancing Horse if they were sullying the firm's history every fortnight with joke drivers aiming to come last to prove a point.

What would be cooled would be if they contested both series and blitzed the 'Official F1' at every race, then refused to attend the podium. But they'd need to be sure they were going to win every race for the duration of their enforced contract, and never break down, for this ploy to work, plus the costs of both series, F1 & FOTA, would be prohibitive.

So they're really stuffed if they lose the court battle I should imagine...


Hmm, guess they could use last years cars with a few tweaks, put huge GP1 stickers on the side and then run it on fumes for quali.

Get the press on Saturday, run at the front for Sunday then park it after 5 laps.

That would be too funny.


I love this idea! Perhaps they should run a "Be a Ferrari mechanic for a weekend" and have complete novices working from your crib sheets? I'd enter.


"sandwiches, an old ford transit, bum cracks, greasy overalls with a 10mm spanner and duct tape."

Sounds great, bring it on.


Completely agree. Also, who says small teams not going to come and go. Every second bored rich kid will set up an F1 team because its cool. Running an F1 team will cost as much as buying a big yacht. I would like to see corporate teams with hundred years old company, brand and engineering history.


On the other hand, Montezemolo's ego isn't much smaller...


Oh no, not that. That where the troubles started.


Further down in that article it says the info at companies house is not the latest and Mr Brawn does indeed own all the shares.

Nick Caulfield

I think CVC are a private equity firm rather than a publicly listed company. If that is the case I don't think it has shareholders. However, they will probably be handling investments on behalf of others.

Could be wrong there though...


James has already mentioned (on more than one occasion) that "The Automobile Club of Monaco" would not renew their contract should a split occur.


That could be an idea.
And Ferrari wouldn't even need to have it's name involved on the FIA-run F1 series - they could just rename the F1 team FIAT, Alfa Romeo, or Chrysler even - anything owned by FIAT basically - and thus safeguard their "brand".


Amen! See my similar comments above.


Problem is Max's offer of working from the inside out is a trap.

To work from the inside out you need unanimous voting for change. There are 2 to 3 new teams plus Williams and Force India to be considered - all of these teams will vote against any changes that raise/remove the budget, thus choosing to "work from the inside out" is a worthless proposition, Max knows full well that no change will happen like that.

I assume FOTA came to the same conclusion, which is why they've ignored the trap Max set from them.

I'm surprised that no journalistic coverage of this has mentioned this trap. Seems reasonably obvious to me, unless I've missed a detail. Anyone see any problems with this reasoning?


Neil I reckon Bernie\'s legal teams will be to busy sorting out the legal action taken against him from - Race promoters, TV Broadcasters etc even to worry about sueing Ferrari and the likes. Not to even mention the nightmare CVC can become. Contracts cut both ways as all Bernie\'s contracts is based on bringing F1 to the party, which incedently includes the current F1 teams. These corporations and promoters did not sign contracts to bring F? with the likes of Lola, Litespeed, Brabham, Manor Racing etc. to their circuits.


Its about governance as much as the cap. Also do you think that any team will let the FIA audit their books? .....Not!

Ghosen referred to Mosley and Ecclestone as "intermediaries". I see that as a strong hint that they can be replaced or dispensed with.


Interesting analysis.

If you are correct, then FOTA have everything to play for and CVC/Bernie everything to lose. They must pressuring Max to give way by now.


Thank you, most insightful comment I've read.


I've been thinking along similar lines, but with say Ferrari using a different colour red. Presumably a colour that initially people wouldn't like. Then strangely it would catch on, and in the future some people would order a Ferrari in "protest red", or whatever the Italian name for that is, rather than the racing red they have at the moment.

Strangely long term, I wonder if this is another part of Ferrari's brand image (not that you can see it this way now, but only in hindsight, which I'm imagining).

Certainly Ferrari could go racing via its Maserati division and Bernie couldn't do a thing about it.


That would be a fantastic rebuke to F1. It's sad to say, but I for one would dearly love to see some naff 'Ferrari' drive around with an advert saying "My real car is in GPWC'


"The history, the races, the tradition, the prestige belongs to the teams. Bernie can copyright “F1″ all he wants. Regimes come and go. Do we look at F1 prior to the current administration as different? Was the FIA around when Fangio and Ascari raced?"

Graham, yes the FIA was around (under one of their previous names, the CSI). Formula 1 is run under rules set up by the CSI in 1946.

The teams do NOT own F1. They simply compete in F1. Saying teams own F1 would be equivalent to saying the Usain Bolt owns the olympics. As far as I can see, the teams have acted incredibly arrogantly, and whilst one faction of FOTA have made progress with the FIA, others have turned around and created blocking tactics.


2 preferable, and as Albert hinted this year, more likely.

But it would be interesting to know if the other GP tracks, like Spa, would be precluded from hosting a rival GP race under Bernie\'s contracts.

If so, then a breakaway series would be forced to use tracks like;

Magny Cours
A-1 Ring

Not such a bad list really.


I doubt that the manufacturers would throw away dozens of millions for a series that will start from stratch, with no know-how, no marketing, no sponsorship, no tv rights. Especially when the global crisis is still running loose.

And I definetely don\'t see Toyota or BMW gambling like that. I\'ve mentioned earlier that if there will be a split, then it\'s a coin toss - who gets the popularity, and who gets the pain in his bottom. Dark scenario is the second option for both.


For me it\'s simple. The \'B plan\' for Ferrari is to quit single-seater racing for 2 years and build a Le Mans prototype. That\'s what I\'ve read from di Montezemolo\'s statement last weekend. But the question is - will the rebel teams have the force themselves to run the breakaway series and if they will be happy to die for Ferrari\'s business.


Ferrari have previous when it comes to getting disastrously bad legal advice, as their recent forays into the courts have illustrated all too graphically. They clearly choose their legal teams from those who will tell them what they want to hear, rather than what they need to know. In short, they just like living in cloud cuckoo-land.

This might be all very well, because Ferrari then get what they deserve every time they go to court, i.e., a jolly good drubbing. That then makes them all the more determined to get their own way by fair means or foul, of course. They are simply not used to not being molly-coddled by the FIA and it has obviously all come as a bit of a shock to receive equal treatment to the other teams, poor dears.

Unfortunately the wider consequences this has for F1 are seriously bad. The FOTA teams have gone along with Ferrari's "leadership", if you can call rank mischief-making that, and will shortly find they have been led up the garden path because the legal underpiinnings for their actions are seriously flawed. For one thing, the very future of Brawn GP could be threatened as a result of their commitment to FOTA, who are now on a decidedly sticky wicket as a result of the above. And that's apart from wrecking F1 as we know it.


Contract is watertight? hmmm...Every contract has its price.


The presidency of a breakaway series maybe?


I wonder if Ross Brawn has the complete autonomy to make that decision....

At the present time Honda still own the majority of the shares in the Brawn team:

Given this, maybe there's an outside possibility that Honda are pulling some strings - keeping Brawn in FOTA.

Pure speculation... but then with what little overtaking there is nowadays, that's half the fun of F1!


Yes i think it´s bye bye F1 as we know, but don´t understimate the manufacturers, although their sole existence is to sell cars, many of those cars are sold due the awareness, recall, etc in peoples mind due the exposition of their brands in the coverage of the F1 races, ad campaigns based on F1, pilot appearences, etc.

F1 needs the manufacturers as them needs F1. It´s a shame that the problem is a dictatorial style.


They have much of this ground work from the GPMA days. And lets not dismiss Red Bull as passengers. They have perhaps more promotional know-how and media contacts than any other sporting company out there. I suspect that the teams know what they are doing. They are not going to remain under Max's thumb by any means. It is over unless Max resigns, there is a new Concorde with MUCH better $$$ distribution, and rule making authority goes to the teams. Howett speaks of a Concorde document that is "mature, six months in the making".


Really? The tracks, even Monaco, Spa, etc. are open the other 51 weeks of the year.


Actually, I don't believe the FIA can stop another champioship. Max only recently said that hey could go and start their own. Furthermore, if the FIA tried to stop another series the EU would intervene. A few years ago the EU told the FIA it couldn't do that sort of think as it would break the anti-monopolistic rules.


The history, the races, the tradition, the prestige belongs to the teams. Bernie can copyright "F1" all he wants. Regimes come and go. Do we look at F1 prior to the current administration as different? Was the FIA around when Fangio and Ascari raced?

If Ferrari and Red Bull are bound, they could just field year old cars, drive slow. Have no sponsors EXCEPT big FOTA GPWC stickers, no name drivers, no hospitality, no motorhome, no nothing. Just a bare car running on a budget of $500K just to transport it all. If the cars weren't competitive, if they didn't finish the race because of a mechanical issue such as "no fuel"... well then.... what can FIA/FOM do about their contract then? They could fulfill their contract for cheaper than the lawyers cost, take up valuable grid spots from other "new teams", cause the FOM TV ratings, track signage revenue would plummet as would TV ratings and commercials, and make FIA/FOM F1 look like a complete farce. It would cost then $1.5M to do this for three years.

Simultaneously they could have the FOTA GPWC running in 2010 with real cars, real sponsors, real drivers, real engines, real hospitality, real motorhomes etc. running at Monaco and Silverstone, Monza, Imola, Nurburgring etc.

The Flying Finn

For every toyota and Renault quitting there is a nissan and vw waiting on the sides. Porsche, Aston, Lambo. You are correct they need the exposure. Question is, which side gives the best bang for the buck? Not neccedarily agree with the way it's forced down but as long as result is good at the end.


Ahem, missed out "bad" in the post above.

"I truly think that a drawn out court case with the FIA would be extremely bad for Ferrari, so would be leaving F1."


ahh, but they have not put all their eggs in one basket. at the moment all the teams can go racing next year. They just need to drop their conditions. Still think this turning into a game of chicken, who is going to blink first.

As a lot of people I think Brawn and Mclaren will be the first. Brawn already said almost as much today with his insistence that they will race next year. Red Bull will not have the money or the will to take this to court. So that makes it 6 of the existing teams.

I don't know about Ferrari. They are obviously very unhappy with how things stand at the moment. Strangely, in my opinion, just like the team, upper management seems to be struggling with strategy. The court case was a big mistake and seriously weakened them, as was them not using their veto before that. I truly think that a drawn out court case with the FIA would be extremely to Ferrari, so would be leaving F1. Funnily enough looked at the Ferrari site for the first time today. Their Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi could be a big mistake.

The other manufacturers I don't know about, but I expect to lose one or two of them.

I think the FIA will this fight, with some damage to the sport, but egos will be bruised and people will be unhappy.

Yippii, look forward to FIA verses teams/manufacturers fight 202


On the contrary reports & musings I've read seem to suggest that it's the reverse & it's Ferrari's contract with the FIA that is binding, where as it's not so with FOM.

You'd think though that if all the FOTA teams were willing to stand united & take it to the brink like this, between them they'd be fully aware of each others contractual obligations with FIA/FOM/Sponsors etc.


Or we could stage a sit-in and not leave the circuit until midnight! I mean we might as well, with the car parks and roads there we won't be getting away any earlier anyway 🙂


MotoGP is run by Dorna, Le Mans is not sanctioned by the FIA and the FIA have already messed WRC up.

Now time to mess F1 up too!


FIA, Bernie or Max have nothing to do with MotoGP, which is runned by FIM and its rights are owned by Dorna.


No contract is water tight, its just a matter of how much it costs to get out of it.

Ferrari could well not run next year and Bernie may well sue. He was talking about 100s of millions. For the like of ferrari that would be painful but not the end of the world (ignoring the PR side) They spend close to 400 million a season, so if F1 really isnt a place that want to be for whatever reason it will only take a year or so to recoup their losses, and that assumes they get the worst case scenario.

You could argue the same about Renault and Toyota to a similar degree, but this is all worst case scenarios.

Mr Red Bull maybe rich but I don't think he could risk taking that kind of knock so odd on i reckon he wouldn't risk it. His brand is far more susceptible to bad PR, and fashion. At the end of the day nobody needs his drinks and they could stop buying them tomorrow. People are never going to stop buying cars in the forseeable future. There is also the fact he might have to pay twice.

Macca and Brawn definitely cant risk this kind of litigation as it would wipe them out. Therefore I think they will tow the line. Indeed Ross already seems to have paved the way for himself, and macca have been trying to to put out the impression they are more soft line than the others since the outset.

Therefore i don't think there will be a breakaway series, we will just loose a few teams. ALMS and LMS will do pretty good for competition for a few years, but in a few years when the egos have retired Ferrari will make a triumphant return

Julian Smallwood

Absolutely right and, if we are to arrive at that sorry pass then the European (sorry, world) GP series would have to try and learn from the mistakes.

I think one advantage would be history and geography. There is a yawning geographical chasm in F1 (North America) and a yearning amongst fans for a return to more "classic" tracks - both in Europe and beyond.

Harnessing these and STRONG manufacturer/motor sport brands could make it a success. Clearly if there is a split the two formulae would not be able to co-exist as long as IRL and Champ Cars - i'd give it three seasons at the most.

I start to suspect we'll know a lot more this weekend - as I posted before, possibly at the BRDC Clubhouse...

Michael Roberts

Max has control over Bernie but he might not have control over his replacement.



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