Following the ruling in a Paris court yesterday (Wednesday) that threw out its bid for an injunction to be granted against the FIA's contentious £40 million budget cap for Formula 1, Ferrari has re-iterated its threat to withdraw from what it believes would be a 'watered-down' category in favour of competing in races 'of a calibre worthy of the marque' should a satisfactory resolution not be found.
Along with Renault, Toyota and Red Bull, the Scuderia
has vowed that it will walk away from the top flight – in which it has been the only team to enter all 60 campaigns without fail since the official inception of the world championship all the way back in 1950 – over what it deems would be a 'fundamentally unfair and perhaps even biased' and 'unilaterally' imposed two-tier F1 of haves and have-nots, and one that would likely penalise the larger and richer competitors.
Further crisis talks are set to be held between the governing body, Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Bernie Ecclestone and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) in Monaco this weekend, but whilst in principle seeming willing to abandon the unpopular 'optional' nature of the cap, FIA President Max Mosley has repeatedly insisted that there will be 'no compromise' on its introduction per se
Ferrari and other teams have stressed that a £40 million limit is far too low for organisations that routinely spend as much as £200 million a season and employ in excess of 700 staff to adhere to in 2010, pushing for a more gentle and manageable decline – and with neither side looking willing to back down, battle lines are incontrovertibly drawn.
'Ferrari has noted the verdict of the Tribunal de Grande Instance with regards to the request to suspend with all haste the consequences of the decision taken by the FIA World Council on 29 April,' read a statement issued by the legendary Maranello-based outfit on the subject of the dispute. 'The existence and validity of Ferrari's right of veto, as sanctioned in a written agreement with the FIA Senate, were recognised by the Court, as was the fact that this dispute is of a contractual nature.
'Consequently, it was also recognised that the dispute was not a matter for the internal tribunal of the FIA, but rather a matter for normal civil courts. The Court believed that the right of veto should have been exercised during the World Council meetings of 17 March and 29 April. It therefore chose to let the civil law courts rule on the urgency of the matter.
'Such a decision, which is not prejudicial to the outcome of the matter, allows the FIA to impose on those teams entered in the 2010 world championship, regulations that have been drawn up unilaterally without respecting the agreed procedures. In the final analysis, Ferrari has been forced to use its right of veto, in defence of its own interests and those of all the teams participating in the Formula 1 World Championship.
'While continuing to evaluate whether or not to continue with this legal action already underway, Ferrari confirms its commitment to work within FOTA in conjunction with the FIA and the commercial rights-holder (Ecclestone) to ensure that Formula 1 is a series where the rules are the same for everyone and which benefits from stability in the regulations, while continuing the work of the past few months in moving forward methodically and gradually towards reducing costs.
'If it is not possible for all parties to reach agreement, then in line with the decision of the main board, taken on 12 May, Ferrari will not enter its cars in a competition that, with the planned scenario in place, would see a watering down of the characteristics that have endowed Formula 1 with the status of the most important motorsport series and that have specifically led to the Maranello marque's uninterrupted participation in the world championship since 1950. In this situation, Ferrari will continue to compete in races of a calibre worthy of the marque, matching its level of innovation and technological research.'
Ferrari's option of veto on rule changes – which it used to apply for the injunction – is the product of exclusive rights guaranteed to the team by the FIA in 2005 in exchange for the secret €100 million deal brokered by Luca di Montezemolo that quashed the danger of a manufacturer-led breakaway series. Under those terms Ferrari committed to F1 until 2012, but it claims the governing body has now reneged on the agreement. The FIA argues that Ferrari gave up their special rights when they helped to form FOTA.
The stipulated deadline for 2010 entries to be lodged is 29 May.