Ecclestone given ultimatum over new championship

The weather here at the Nurburgring was cold and bleak yesterday – rather like the sport's current state as the war between the sport's governing body, the FIA and the Formula One Teams Association reached another critical moment.

Fota have given Bernie Ecclestone and CVC Capital Partners, the holders of the sport's commercial rights, until this weekend to indicate their willingness to go along with their proposed breakaway grand prix championship, unless things can be sorted out for all three parties to agree a lasting peace with the FIA. Fota do not want to wait any longer to start up their series, if talks with the FIA remain at their current impasse.

unconfirmed reports suggest that Fota have given FIA president Max Mosley a letter of resignation to sign, again with a deadline of this weekend.

All of Fota's manufacturer teams have confirmed their belief that they had been granted unconditional entries to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship following the agreement ratified by the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 24 June. And that, contrary to the FIA's recent suggestion that they fully expected to have the right to express opinions in Wednesday's Technical Working Group meeting.

Meanwhile, former rally champion Ari Vatanen confirmed his intention to challenge Mosley for the FIA presidency in October.

"My main focus is to reconcile views within the FIA and bring transparency to its stakeholders. The duty of President is to defend a billion automobilists and this great sport of ours."

On the track things looked a little healthier as Lewis Hamilton took advantage of a package of modifications to his McLaren, to set the fastest time ahead of championship challengers Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button.

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