The entry list for 2010 published today has aroused a reaction of disappointment and defiance from Ferrari.
The Scuderia issued a strongly worded statement soon after the FIA announcement. This indicates that they knew what was coming.
“Ferrari shall not take part in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship until the conditions of its entry are satisfied,” said the opening line.
It went on, “Ferrari submitted on 29 May 2009 an entry to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship which is subject to certain conditions. As of today, these conditions have not been met.
“Despite Ferrari’s previous written notice to the FIA not to do so, the FIA has included Ferrari as a unconditional participant in next year’s Formula One World Championship.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, Ferrari reaffirms that it shall not take part in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship under the regulations adopted by the FIA in violation of Ferrari’s rights under a written agreement with the FIA.”
The FIA statement does not state under what terms Ferrari is entered in next year’s championship. Although the statement also makes no mention of what conditions Williams, Force India and the three new teams are entered under, it is known to be the £40m million budget cap rules.
As part of FOTA’s conditional entry they want the 2009 rules to be applied, so presumably the FIA is taking their entry on that basis, which means a two tier system. The latest thinking on that is that instead of the budget capped teams having technical advantages like more engine revs, they will benefit from technical help from the big teams, but these discussions are far from conclusive.
What is even more interesting about Ferrari’s position now is that they are not part of the ongoing negotiations, in the FIA’s eyes. The entry list talks about further negotiations until June 19th, with the five FOTA teams whose entry it still considers provisional, namely McLaren, Brawn, Toyota, BMW and Renault. But Ferrari is not part of that process.
It seems therefore, that Ferrari’s only option is to take the matter to court, to discover whether or not the agreement it signed with the FIA and with FOM in 2005 is still legally binding. Ferrari say that they have taken extensive legal advice and the contract has been breached by the FIA, because they did not allow Ferrari a right of veto. The FIA has also take legal advice which says the opposite.
Anything can happen once you get something like this into a court room, however.
Ferrari are adamant that their position is exactly as it has been since its board of directors made its statement on May 12th threatening to withdraw unless the budget cap rules package was dropped. This is not a bluff, they insist.
I expected them to be angry about what the FIA has done, here but they are not. They are disappointed, but they are not budging in their convictions nor in their path. So the positions are fairly entrenched now and it will either take a legal battle or a piece of mediation on a spectacular scale to sort this out.