Felipe Massa has added his voice to those of Formula 1 rivals Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli in arguing that if FIA President Max Mosley is successful in introducing his planned £40 million budget cap into the sport next year, then the top flight 'will not be at the top of motorsport' anymore – as he described the current situation of political infighting as 'a nightmare'.
With just four days now remaining until the FIA unveils the identities of the 13 successful applicants for a place on the 2010 starting grid, still no resolution looks to be in sight to the ongoing stand-off between the governing body and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA).
With Ferrari, Toyota, Renault and Red Bull having all quite clearly vowed to walk away should Mosley not abandon his radical and contentious cost-cutting initiative for next season in favour of retaining the 2009 regulations, as well as agreeing to the terms of a new Concorde Agreement, the spectre of a 'breakaway' series remains very real.
That menace has gathered credibility of late, with speculation that FOTA is in discussions with MotoGP promoters Dorna with a view to running the separate championship [see separate story – click here
], and – following talks over the weekend of the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul – warnings from Trulli and Alonso that if Mosley presses on with his plans, it will not only be the teams that up and leave, but the drivers too [see separate story – click here
“For the moment it is a nightmare what is happening in this fight,” underlined Ferrari star Massa. “As drivers we want to race in the best category, and that means the one that has the best technology, best teams and best drivers – a category that is the top one in motorsport.
“If we do what Mr. Mosley wants, then we will not be at the top of motorsport – we will be at a different level. That is why we (the drivers) are together with the teams; we are together with FOTA, who I hope can strike a deal. I hope they can find a solution because we would love to carry on in F1, but if F1 is not possible because it is not F1 anymore, then we will go to another championship.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Red Bull Racing ace Mark Webber, a man never afraid to speak his mind on matters of importance – and few topics are of greater significance right now than the escalating feud that is threatening to quite literally tear F1 in two.
“The circumstances out there in relation to the sport are changing pretty quickly,” the Australian acknowledged. “Our position is that we are totally in support of FOTA. All the FOTA drivers are with FOTA in the future. We want to race against the best drivers in the world, we want to drive for the best teams in the world and that's the way we want to see it go forward.
“We hope there is...not a compromise, [but] whatever they need to do to work with the FIA to have a very, very good championship next year. We're very, very confident, we're trusting the FOTA teams and they are absolutely binding together. They are so strong together, and this is what we're very happy about. It is what is needed for the correct fashion of the governance of the sport, and to go forward.”