Whilst rivals Ferrari, BMW, Toyota, Renault and Red Bull Racing have all either indicated their intention to quit Formula 1 or at the very least seriously reconsider their involvement over the FIA's controversial optional £40 million budget cap, withdrawal is 'not a topic' at Mercedes-Benz, Norbert Haug has stressed.
The top flight has been plunged into fresh political turmoil in recent weeks with FIA President Max Mosley's announcement that he intends to implement the new cost-cutting initiative from next season onwards. Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has blasted the initiative as 'fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased' in creating what would in effect be a two-tier system of haves and have-nots 'based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters', and BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen agreed that 'a two-class Formula 1 is not attractive to BMW', since 'in one go you cannot just evaporate by a factor of three'.
Whilst acknowledging that 'all the teams are agreed that there cannot be two regulations in one series' and stating that having just a single set of rules for all is of paramount importance, Haug has nonetheless underlined that Mercedes' stance is to try to find a solution to the crisis rather than consider walking away, perhaps mindful of the fact that the FIA was lenient on the Stuttgart manufacturer and partner McLaren over the Melbourne 'lies' shame at its World Motor Sport Council meeting last month.
Mercedes owns 40 per cent of McLaren, and it is feared that if the FIA refuses to back down over the cap and two or more manufacturers do head for the exit door, then the remainder are likely to follow. Haug did add, however, that the sport's governing body would do well not to take Ferrari's statement lightly.
“I know from conversation with Luca di Montezemolo and [Ferrari team principal] Stefano Domenicali that Ferrari has thought about this threat very well,” the German told Sky
. “After 60 years in Formula 1 they would not do so without some serious thinking.
“We will try to help to find a solution. All the teams are agreed that there cannot be two regulations in one series. [Withdrawal from F1] is not a topic at Mercedes.”
It is understood that Mosley is due to meet the teams this week to discuss the matter.