With the Formula 1 circus having moved on from Monaco to Istanbul this weekend for the Turkish Grand Prix, Max Mosley's hard-line stance on the budget cap conflict shows no signs of softening as the FIA President told teams to go it alone if they wish to run to their own regulations – and Mario Theissen warned that the situation is still 'critical'.
Following a series of meetings in Monte Carlo a fortnight ago, it seemed that some sort of resolution or compromise had been met between the sport's governing body and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) that hinted at a flickering light at the end of the tunnel for a stand-off that has threatened in recent weeks to quite literally tear the top flight apart. Ferrari, Toyota, Renault and Red Bull have all quite bluntly vowed to walk away should Mosley continue to pursue his contentious £40 million cost cap initiative for the 2010 campaign.
The teams argue such a scenario would be unfair, impossible to adapt to sufficiently quickly for the big-spending outfits and would create a 'two-tier' scenario of haves and have-nots. Mosley, though, remains adamant that the cap is the only way to safeguard F1's future with the global economic climate as it is and attract new competitors onto the starting grid to swell numbers, and – despite having repeatedly stated his conviction that a breakaway series would not ultimately materialise – he contended that if the present incumbents do not like it, then they can follow through with their original menace of four years ago and form their own championship.
“I say 'if you want to formulate your own rules, then you can organise your own championship – assuming the rules satisfy the safety requirements,” the Englishman told Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell
. “We have the Formula 1 World Championship and we make the rules for that. We've been doing it for 60 years and we'll continue to do it in the future. Now we have a dispute and we'll see who prevails.”
Aside from Williams, all of the FOTA members have submitted conditional entries for next season, dependent upon the absence of the cap – a move that it is understood came at Mosley's behest. Should all ten current teams remain on the grid, there will be space for three newcomers in 2010 – with Prodrive/Aston Martin, Lola, Team USF1, Campos Meta 1, Litespeed GP, Team Superfund, March, Brabham Grand Prix Limited/Formtech and N.Technology all having put forward applications for acceptance. The successful candidates will be revealed a week today, on 12 June.
BMW Motorsport Director Theissen has urged that despite appearances in the Principality, beneath the surface tensions are still running deep – and a satisfactory solution may not be as close as has been suggested. The Bavarian manufacturer has not outright said that it would quit over the cap, but it has made it clear that it would be forced to seriously reconsider its participation.
“After the last meetings in Monaco I was the most cautious,” the German told the SID
news agency. “Nearly everyone was saying only very positive things, but my point-of-view was different, and I continue to stand by that.
“I said that the situation is difficult, it is critical and it is not solved yet – and the same applies today. I can only say we are waiting for a reply and a response from the FIA...we are now really committed to finding a solution with the FIA to go forward together.”
Last month, Toyota Motorsport President John Howett had asserted that: “I used to believe that common sense would prevail, but I have to say that I'm becoming more pessimistic that it does.”