As beleaguered FIA president Max Mosley braces himself for what could be a rough ride at the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris tomorrow, the eight renegade Formula One teams who have pledged to start their own breakaway series for 2010 show no sign of backing down.
Speaking on behalf of Fota, the association of teams which embraces McLaren-Mercedes, Ferrari, Brawn, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, Renault's team principal, Flavio Briatore, said that he firmly believed the time had passed for them to complete a deal with the governing body.
Having threatened the teams with legal action when they announced the prospect of a new series very late last Thursday, Mosley made a surprise visit to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on Sunday – which was won by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel – and began to talk in more conciliatory tones. But as Fota's members prepare for further talks on Thursday with the aim of progressing their brainchild, Briatore made it clear that moving in that direction was now seen as the only option.
"We have tried to compromise, we have opened the door, we have tried everything," he told the website autosport.com. "We have had the door closed in our face."
And he issued a none-too-subtle warning that it was time for Mosley to resist making the war too personal. On Friday, the FIA president described the team principals as "loonies", and accused Briatore himself of seeking to become the Bernie Ecclestone of the new series. Ecclestone, and his partners CVC Capital Partners, are the commercial rights holders of the FIA championship.
"I see myself exactly like I am. I was one of the first to believe in Fota," Briatore said. "I believe Fota is strong, we want a championship with the best teams in the world, the best drivers in the world, and want the people in F1 who have the knowledge of being in F1.
"Max is going personal all the time. I'm too much of a gentleman. But if he wants to go personal, I have a lot to say about Max. I don't personally want to describe what Max is because in his private life we have already had a demonstration in the News of the World.
"If he is talking about lunatics and stuff like that, he needs to watch himself. It's enough. If there is somebody who needs to be very quiet in their personal life, it's him because for sure he is not an example."
Mosley had not been scheduled to attend Silverstone on Sunday and his appearance was interpreted by the teams as a sign that he was feeling the pressure.