All ten of Formula 1's current teams are 'prepared to commit' themselves to the top flight until at least the end of 2012, Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) President Luca di Montezemolo has revealed – quashing suggestions that other manufacturers are set to soon follow Honda out of the exit door.
F1 has recently embarked upon the greatest cost-cutting drive in its 59-year history, with FIA President Max Mosley hoping that all competitors will eventually be able to operate on roughly 30 per cent on their present budgets.
Whilst those plans were already in the pipeline before the global credit crunch really took hold – in an effort to prevent the sport from becoming 'unsustainable' in the light of ever-escalating expenditure – their urgency gained added momentum in the wake of Honda's shock announcement back in December that it was to withdraw its official support, plunging its Brackley-based operation into a crisis from which it has only today truly emerged, with the foundation, from the ashes, of Brawn GP [see separate story – click here
That prompted speculation that Renault – battling a significant fall in car sales – and Toyota, which revealed its first annual loss in 71 years, could follow suit, but di Montezemolo insists that following the far-reaching resolutions tabled in Geneva this week [see separate story – click here
], that is happily no longer the case.
In fact, the Italian even claimed that the economic downturn has been a good thing for F1 – and he added that the ongoing dispute between the teams and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management (FOM) company over the commercial rights-dictating Concorde Agreement could be near to an end.
“All the teams and car manufacturers are prepared to commit to enter in the new Concorde Agreement until the end of 2012,” the Ferrari President is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters
“The crisis represents a huge opportunity to improve Formula 1 in terms of cost [and] competition, and to really look ahead. We hope and we think that we can be in a condition to sign the Concorde Agreement before the start of the season.”