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Motor Racing

Ferrari veto hangs over F1 even after lost ruling

As is so often the case in the wake of a much-publicised court ruling, such as Wednesday's Parisian decision that went against Ferrari and in the favour of the FIA, hard questions followed.

Yesterday a whole raft of them floated into the harbour at Monaco. For a start, what did the ruling actually mean? It concerned itself more with the timing of Ferrari's use of their right of technical veto rather than whether such a thing even existed. Max Mosley, the president of Formula One's ruling body, the FIA, says it has now expired, others that it still holds.

Then there is the question as to where this leaves the sport, and Ferrari in particular. Will they really walk away for 2010, if the FIA insists on running a series full of makeweight newcomers whom Ferrari have deemed to be "Formula GP3"? Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One rights holder, is certainly worried that might be the case. "I am concerned, I don't want them leaving," he said yesterday.

Of the GP3 remark, he added: "It's an opinion, isn't it? We've had more than 70 teams in and out since F1 started. The only people who have been consistent are Ferrari, because they have been there from day one. So, we don't want to lose Ferrari." The hardest question of all, was perhaps the simplest. What was the motor sport governing body doing favouring one competitor over all the rest by giving them the right to veto proposed changes to the technical continuity of the sport? That, some suggested, smacked of Fifa giving Barcelona the right to decide which players Sir Alex Ferguson might choose to field against them.

The FIA did have an answer to that one, and said that it was part of an extension of the governing document, the Concorde Agreement for 2008-12, which Ferrari signed in January 2005 following inducements from Mosley and Ecclestone to leave the burgeoning Grand Prix World Championship which the teams were considering. GPWC fell apart soon after.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, enjoyed his most competitive showing this season in yesterday's practice. The world champion was third fastest in the morning session and second in the afternoon.