FIA president Max Mosley has revealed that he is prepared to talk to the eight dissident Formula One teams still allied to FOTA about their demands for next season and beyond, but insists that nothing is possible before the 2010 entry list is published on Friday.
As a result, Mosley is urging all eight - Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, BMW-Sauber, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, McLaren and Brawn - to swap their conditional entries for unconditional ones lodged by Williams and Force India, to ensure that all existing teams can be accommodated in next year's line-up. The FOTA teams lodged their entries by the 29 May deadline, but with the conditions that Mosley's proposed - and still optional - £40m budget cap was ditched in favour of a series or cost-cutting amendments put forward by the teams themselves.
Mosley, however, insists that the conditions could not be met in the limited time between entries being required and the line-up for next season being published and - in a letter seen by news agency Reuters
- he has written to the eight holding out urging them to enter unconditionally and then enter into negotiations about the rules.
"We are ready to begin discussions immediately with a view to signing an agreement without delay," the president wrote, "However, there is no possibility of this being concluded in advance of settling the 2010 entry list, a draft of several hundred pages having been produced at the last moment. Also, the FIA will need to know who to discuss the draft with - there will certainly be new teams in 2010 and it presently seems unlikely that all of the 2009 teams will participate in 2010."
Mosley pointed out that the rules for next season and beyond could only be amended with the agreement of all teams officially entered in the championship, a list that will be known at some point on Friday. He revealed that the governing body planned to arrange a meeting of all entered teams - to discuss the measures proposed by FOTA - as soon as possible after the field had been confirmed.
"Once we have a list of confirmed entries, we can make changes - provided we have the necessary unanimous agreement," the letter continued, "You therefore have the option of participating in this process as a confirmed entrant, or not.
"It is of course up to you, but the simplest way to ensure that all entrants run under the same rules would be if everyone entered under the cost-cap rules as published and then all entrants co-operated to agree modifications to those rules which would make the proposition workable for all parties.
"We have already canvassed the views of some of the likely new entrants regarding the proposed measures and the feedback is broadly positive, so a solution should be relatively simple to achieve."
There will definitely be fresh blood on the grid next season, with the FIA having opened the F1 entry to at least three newcomers, but the possibility of the eight FOTA members withdrawing their entries unless their demands are met - and then forming a rival series - remains a strong possibility. With only Williams and Force India - both of whom cite commercial reasons for breaking away from FOTA - having agreed to enter unconditionally, there could be as many at eleven spots up for grabs in next year's field. Mosley insists, meanwhile, that Ferrari is also contractually obliged to run, having signed a preferential agreement back in 2005 that bound the Scuderia to F1 until 2012.