Ferrari injuction rejected by French court

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The Independent Online

A French court has dismissed Ferrari's bid to stop Formula One from instituting a budget cap next season.

Ferrari sought a court injunction against governing body FIA's plans to introduce a voluntary £40m cap for racing teams from 2010, but the appeal was rejected by Judge Jacques Gondrand de Robert.

"There is no imminent damage that needs to be prevented or clearly unlawful unrest that needs to be stopped," the judge said.

Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull and Toro Rosso have threatened to pull out of next year's championship if the cap isn't overturned.

The judge accepted Ferrari's legal right to challenge the plans but agreed with the FIA that the team should have taken its case earlier to the World Motor Sport Council.

"No competitor should place their interests above those of the sport in which they compete," FIA president Max Mosley said after the ruling. "The FIA, the teams and our commercial partners will now continue to work to ensure the well-being of Formula One in 2010 and beyond."

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa said the dispute was frustrating for racers, who are preparing in Monaco for Sunday's Grand Prix.

"For sure that doesn't help the sport," the Brazilian said. "'This fight means many people are going to be upset. The only thing is it would be nice to have more sport and less political (fighting). I hope things (are) going to be OK."

The deadline for entering the 2010 championship is May 29, giving disgruntled teams little more than a week to find an alternate solution.

"If we lose Ferrari, Formula One won't be the same," Massa said. "People can say what they want. Imagine you lose Ferrari and you get the GP2 teams, it won't be the same. We are here for racing, not to fight each other. I support my team. I will support my team because I think Ferrari is not alone. Ferrari took the lead, but it's not just Ferrari."

F1 team owners met with Mosley and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in London last week but failed to resolve the dispute.

Teams that accept the budget cap will be allowed to make more technical changes to their cars than those which don't.

Teams opposing the cap have claimed that Mosley and FIA pushed through the changes without proper consultation.

Ferrari sent a team of three lawyers to a high court in Paris on Tuesday, arguing that FIA should not be able to change the rules.

The Italian team's lawyers, Emmanuel Gaillard and Henri Peter, said F1 was in danger of becoming a two-tier championship if budget caps were applied and that, with 700 employees worldwide, Ferrari is unable to reduce its budget significantly in such a short time.

The FIA insisted that the survival of F1 means cutbacks are necessary in a time of "deep financial crisis."

Ferrari is F1's most famous team, having competed in the series since its inception 60 years ago. Mosley has said Ferrari must adapt, regardless of its prestige within the sport.

"If we were to say we can't function without Ferrari they could dictate all sorts. Well, we can't have that," Mosley has said.

Ferrari have said in a statement they are considering further legal action against Formula One's governing body after failing to secure an injunction.

The champions also repeated a warning they would quit the sport if they could not reach agreement with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and commercial rights holder.