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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Talks Breakdown Puts F1 Future ‘In Jeopardy’ Again,

The threat of a Formula One breakaway was revived after eight teams walked out of talks with the sport’s governing body and said the future of the racing series was again at risk.

The Formula One Teams Association said its members left yesterday’s discussion on next year’s rules after being told by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile that they hadn’t entered the 2010 championship and therefore had no voting rights on technical and sporting regulations.

Ferrari, McLaren, BMW Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso and Brawn GP -- who had threatened a rival series before reaching an agreement on a unified championship June 24 -- said their lack of say left them with “no option other than to terminate their participation” in the discussion at Germany’s Nurburgring circuit.

All eight FOTA members “were included on the ‘accepted’ entry list as endorsed by the World Motor Sport Council and communicated by FIA press statement on June 24,” the association said in a statement. “To subsequently go against the will of the WMSC and the detail of the Paris agreement puts the future of Formula One in jeopardy.”

The standoff over planned budgetary and technical changes looked to have been resolved last month when the FIA agreed to scrap its proposed budget cap of 40 million pounds ($64.3 million), which would have given smaller teams more engine and design freedom. FOTA members said the plan would have resulted in a two-tier championship.

Mosley U-Turn

The teams won concessions on rule changes and governance, while FIA President Max Mosley agreed not to stand for re- election in October. Mosley has since reconsidered because of what he said were misleading statements made by FOTA to the media, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph reported.

Yesterday’s meeting before the July 12 German Grand Prix was attended by the Williams and Force India teams, who are suspended from FOTA after submitting unconditional entries to race next year before an agreement was reached. The new Campos Grand Prix, Manor and US F1 teams were also present.

The FIA said the aim of the meeting had been to agree changes to 2010 regulations in line with last month’s decision to revert to the sporting and technical rules in place before April 29 this year.

“Unfortunately, no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting,” the FIA said in a statement.

Press Release
2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

Following the decision of the World Council on 24 June to revert to the pre-29 April version of the 2010 F1 Sporting and Technical Regulations, the FIA today met the teams which have entered the 2010 Championship to seek their agreement to these changes.

All changes have now been agreed subject only to the maintenance of the minimum weight at 620 kg and the signing of a legally binding agreement between all the teams competing in 2010 to reduce costs to the level of the early 1990s within two years, as promised by the FOTA representative in Paris on 24 June.

The eight FOTA teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010. Unfortunately no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting.

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