All teams submit 'conditional' F1 entries
Friday 29 May 2009
Ferrari's threat to quit Formula One would appear to be over after they today joined eight other current teams in submitting a block conditional entry to compete in next year's world championship.
McLaren, BMW Sauber, Toyota, Renault, Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP have all confirmed their intention to compete in 2010, seemingly bringing an end to the recent civil war with the FIA over the voluntary budget cap.
However, despite compromises on both sides in recent negotiations, the nine teams have made it clear there are stipulations attached to their entry.
A statement on behalf of the Formula One Teams' Association read: "FOTA confirms all its members' long-term commitment to be involved in the FIA Formula One World Championship and has unanimously agreed further and significant actions to substantially reduce the costs of competing in the championship in the next three years, creating a mechanism that will preserve the technological competition and the sporting challenge and, at the same time, facilitate the entry in the F1 Championship for new teams.
"These measures are in line with what has already been decided in 2009 within FOTA, achieving important saving on engines and gearboxes.
"All FOTA teams have entered the 2010 championship on the basis that:
"1) The Concorde Agreement is signed by all parties before 12th June 2009, after which all FOTA teams will commit to competing in Formula One until 2012.
"The renewal of the Concorde Agreement will provide security for the future of the sport by binding all parties in a formal relationship that will ensure stability via sound governance.
"2) The basis of the 2010 regulations will be the current 2009 regulations, amended in accordance with proposals that FOTA has submitted to the FIA.
"All FOTA teams' entries for the 2010 FIA Formula One world championship have been submitted today on the understanding that (a) all FOTA teams will be permitted to compete during the 2010 Formula One season on an identical regulatory basis and (b) that they may only be accepted as a whole.
"All FOTA teams now look forward with optimism to collaborating proactively and productively with the FIA, with a view to establishing a solid foundation on which the future of a healthy and successful Formula One can be built, providing lasting stability and sound governance."
It is understood FOTA are unwilling to be capped in any way for next season, although they will apparently undertake a certain level of self-policed cost control.
It had been suggested a cap of 100 million euros (£87.5million) was on the table for 2010, in conjunction with considerable technical assistance to be offered by the teams to prospective new entrants.
That would have facilitated a glide-path through to 2011 and FIA president Max Mosley's £40million figure announced on April 29, one that caused widespread pandemonium and anarchy within F1.
The teams, however, clearly have other ideas, and they are eager to work with the FIA, but on their terms, with the re-signing of the Concorde Agreement pivotal to their aims.
The Agreement is a binding regulatory and commercial document which has governed the sport for the previous 25 years.
The teams were outraged with Mosley when he announced the cap, not only because it threatened a two-tier championship, but primarily because he acted unilaterally, without consulting any of the teams.
If Mosley now agrees to FOTA's proposals, it would represent a significant climbdown by the 69-year-old.
In particular, Mosley would have to work with FOTA in an effort to push through a cap for 2011, as the organisation merely talk about taking "significant action" towards reducing costs.
The main protagonist in all of this has been Ferrari and president Luca di Montezemolo, who also serves as chairman of FOTA.
It was following a board meeting on May 12 that Ferrari confirmed they would end their 60-year association with the sport if the rules were not re-written.
The new regulations allowed for greater technical freedom to teams willing to compete under the cap, compared to those unable to abide by it being forced to adhere to the current regulations.
Ferrari even tried to acquire an injunction against the new rules from the Tribunal de Grande Justice in Paris, who were unable to adjudicate on the matter due to it being a contractual dispute.
It emerged during the hearing that Ferrari have a 'right of veto' over rules introduced by the FIA, and at that stage there was a threat the matter would spill over into the civil courts.
There followed several hastily convened meetings between FOTA, and then with Mosley and commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone, in a bid to save the sport from imploding.
During the course of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend it appeared the two sides were drawing closer to a compromise, with Mosley perhaps surprised by FOTA's unified stance.
However, on the Sunday after the race it emerged Mosley had been handed a bombshell letter from FOTA who were demanding the 2010 regulations be scrapped.
On Monday, Williams broke ranks from FOTA by confirming they would be entering for next year given their contractual obligations with the FIA and FOM.
At the latest FOTA meeting on Wednesday, during which Williams were temporarily suspended from the organisation, the stance witnessed today was drawn up.
FOTA maintain their proposals "facilitate the entry in the F1 championship for new teams", but stop short of explaining how.
Today's deadline for new entrants has seen Prodrive, Lola and Litespeed all lodge their entries for next year with the FIA, but on the basis of there being a cap.
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