FIA president Max Mosley has responded to criticism levied at Formula One's new budget cap proposal from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo by insisting that the sport would survive without the Scuderia.

di Montezemelo attacked the new ?40 million cap as 'fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased' after the governing body announced its plans to bring the optional cap into place for the 2010 season.

The Ferrari chief also warned that the team's participation in Formula One wasn't a 'never-ending story' but Mosley responded by stating that the sport would survive even if the Italian team did up sticks and walk away.

"The sport could survive without Ferrari," he told The Financial Times. "It would be very, very sad to lose Ferrari. It is the Italian national team.

"I hope and think that when a team goes to its board and says, 'I want to go to war with the FIA, because I want to be able to spend ?100m more than the FIA want me to spend,' then the board will say, 'Why can't you spend ?40m if the other teams can do it?'"

While the new cap is set to bring new blood into the sport, it has received a luke-warm response at best from some of the bigger budget F1 teams but Mosley insisted that manufacturers had expressed support for the plans.

"The message I'm getting from the board of two or three of the manufacturers is: 'If you can get it so that the cheque we write is not more than EUR25m (?22.3m), you can consider this a pretty permanent arrangement'," he said. "We have contacts with the boards other than through the teams. The teams spin to the board. The chief executive hasn't got the time, knowledge or expertise to question it. But now, because they are all [short of money], to throw away tens of millions on F1 is not acceptable.

"I believe that the cost cap is here to stay," he says. "There is room for discussion, it might go up or down in 2011 and if the economy picks up, say in 2014, then it might go up. You might adjust the cap in the interests of the sport, but you'll have everyone on a level playing field."

Mosley was also quick to point out that Formula One had yet to feel the true cost of the current economic downturn, with long-term contracts having kept a number of sponsors involved in the sport when they may otherwise have walked away.

"The credit crunch hasn't really hit F1 yet," he said. "Obviously we lost Honda, but the real crunch will come when current [sponsorship] contracts come to be renewed.

"At the moment, you see ING, RBS, Allianz, big sponsors, but they wouldn't be there this year if they didn't have a binding contract.

"Those contracts were signed before their share prices took a dump. I believe FOM [Formula One Management, the commercial rights holder of F1] will not be able to give the teams as much money as they have."

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