F1 teams to meet Mosley and Ecclestone over budget

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The Independent Online

Formula One team owners will meet FIA president Max Mosley and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone for urgent talks tomorrow to deal with a crisis that could lead to the top teams pulling out of next year's championship.

Ferrari, Renault and Toyota have all threatened to withdraw from the 2010 season in a dispute with the world governing body over a budget cap proposal which effectively would set up a two-tier championship.

Teams which sign up to a voluntary £40m cap will be given more technical freedom than those which don't. Several teams and drivers believe that will create an uneven playing field.

Ferrari, the glamorous Italian team which has competed in F1 for all 60 seasons, was the first to say it would pull its cars from next year's championship unless the FIA changed its proposal.

Toyota and Renault followed and Red Bull, which is challenging strongly in the constructors' race this season, was also reported to have said it might pull out.

The teams will raise their objections at Friday's meeting at a hotel near London's Heathrow Airport.

If the teams do wind up quitting F1, it doesn't mean they will form their own breakaway series.

"I must be clear that we, Ferrari and the others have no intention of breaking with FIA," Renault boss Flavio Briatore said in today's La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We want to be there, to participate, to preserve the future.

"It is a remote possibility that everybody wants to avoid. We are living in difficult times and everyone must find a solution at all costs. I hope that Mosley and his colleagues can come to their senses and then we can go move on together."

Piero Ferrari, whose father Enzo founded Ferrari, was quoted in the Guardian as comparing the new system to allowing poorer football teams to play with more players on the field.

"In Italy we have Inter, who are winning, and they spend huge amounts of money for the best players. But in Serie A you also have a team like Catania, who have no money," Ferrari said.

"So do you say to Catania, 'You can play with 12 players,' and to Inter, 'You must play with nine?' It wouldn't be fair. But this is what the new Formula One rules are like."

Mercedes Motorsport, which owns 40 percent of McLaren, has not yet joined the teams which have threatened to pull out, although president Norbert Haug says he understands their stance.

"I know that from conversation with (Ferrari's) Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali that Ferrari has thought about this threat very well," Haug said Thursday. "After 60 years in Formula One they would not do so without some serious thinking.

"We will try to help to find a solution. All the teams are agreed that there cannot be two regulations in one series."