The warring Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) and FIA have made 'a small amount of progress' in the dispute over the controversial £40 million budget cap that Max Mosley intends introducing into the top flight next year – but still no agreement.
Following the reunion between all FOTA members aboard Flavio Briatore's yacht earlier in the day ahead of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix [see separate story – click here
], the sport's ten competitors headed into their second crisis meeting with Mosley confident that they now held 'a common view' on how best F1 should look to the future in terms of cost-reduction and a universal position from which to re-initiate negotiations.
The FIA President's argument is that without a significant reduction in spending in what is by some margin the world's most expensive sport, F1 will not survive, fearing more car makers will follow Honda's lead in withdrawing should costs not be brought dramatically down in an age of global recession. The Englishman similarly contends that new teams will only be willing to make the graduation in the knowledge that they will be able to race at a competitive level without having to spend hundreds of millions of pounds in order to do so. Campos Meta 1 and Team USF1 have both already lodged applications for the three slots currently available on next year's starting grid.
Claiming that the change in regulations would by contrast engender a 'two-tier' championship of haves and have-nots, with those choosing to adhere to the cap benefitting from greater technical freedoms than their rivals, the sport's present incumbents have also pointed out that many of the larger operations would simply be unable to sufficiently reduce their expenditure – in some cases as high as £200 million per year – in time to comply for next season.
Ferrari, Renault, Toyota and Red Bull have all categorically vowed to quit if Mosley refuses to back down, and despite there still being no resolution to the stand-off – one that threatens to tear F1 in two – FOTA has revealed that 'a small amount of progress' was made by way of a 'constructive' meeting, as both parties prepare to continue discussions in the Principality on Saturday in the aim of finding a satisfactory compromise.
“We had a very long, productive meeting,” reported FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemelo, quoted by the Press Association
. “FOTA will have another meeting tomorrow (Saturday), to discuss, and then we will meet Mosley again.
“What we want is that Formula 1 stays as Formula 1 and that it doesn't become something different and go towards constant changes which confuse the public and all the others. What we want is stability and that we work over the next two years to arrive at a way of further reducing costs.”
“We had a good, constructive meeting and there are ongoing discussions,” echoed the FIA President, speaking to BBC Sport
. “We spent three hours in there. Everybody knows what the issues are, [and] I'm always confident there will be an agreement.”