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More FOTA talks, but 'fundamental differences' mean still no solution

After seven hours of discussions on Friday, members of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) met again on Saturday following qualifying for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix – the so-called 'jewel in the F1 crown' – to discuss the FIA's controversial £40 million budget cap, but 'fundamental differences' between all parties involved mean still no solution has been reached.

With a deadline of 29 May for entries to be made for the 2010 world championship – and two potential newcomers in the shape of Campos Meta 1 and Team USF1 having wasted little time in already lodging their applications for graduation to the top flight, with a maximum of 26 available spots on next season's starting grid – time is running out for an agreement to be found that satisfies all sides. FOTA is now understood to be musing asking FIA President Max Mosley for an extension to the entry deadline.

“That's what we will discuss in the next meeting, what to do then in that situation,” BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen is quoted as having said by The Associated Press following the meeting inside Toyota's motor home in the Monte Carlo paddock. “I have to say that we have not arrived at a solution.

“It's been a constructive meeting [with] constructive decisions, but it has to be put down on a piece of paper and only then can you tell what has been achieved. So far we have managed to come to a joint decision on the issues put forward.”

Whilst the teams are not all in agreement over the implementation of a cap – with some like Ferrari, Toyota, Renault and Red Bull entirely against the initiative and threatening to withdraw should it go ahead, others like McLaren-Mercedes and BMW-Sauber not opposed to the cap per se, but insisting that the £40 million limit is unrealistic to begin with and should rather be staggered over a number of seasons, and others still including independent outfits Williams and Force India broadly in favour of its introduction – FOTA and Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo affirmed after Friday's reunion that the competitors were now broadly united and had all come to 'a common view' on how F1 should proceed. The subsequent meeting with Mosley and commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone was reported to be 'positive'.

“We welcome any new entries into Formula 1,” stated McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who pointed to 'fundamental differences' between the different parties' standpoints whilst contending that a 'sensible compromise' could be attained. “It's a big task to jump into Formula 1, either with budget caps or not.

“There is a lot pressure on all sides to stay calm going forward [and] there are obviously some differences about how we ensure a sustainable way forward, [but] we all have a responsibility to find a positive way forward. There's got to be a determination to retain ten teams at least.”


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