Ferrari and Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) President Luca di Montezemolo has admitted that he hopes the 'responsible people' inside the FIA will ultimately win out in the ongoing budget cap war – as the Italian re-iterated that a breakaway series remains a very real possibility.
Though all ten of the present incumbents have been included on the preliminary entry list for the 2010 world championship, five of them – McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Renault, Toyota and Brawn GP – are lodged as 'conditional', contingent upon Max Mosley abandoning his radical and controversial cost-cutting initiative in favour of retaining the 2009 regulations, something the FIA President has repeatedly insisted is not an option.
The competitors claim that it would be simply impossible to reduce annual budgets that are in some cases as high as £150 million or £200 million to just £40 million in time for the start of next season – advocating a more gradual sliding scale of cost reduction – whilst Mosley contends that unless such drastic measures are taken with immediate effect, no new teams will be willing to join the top flight and F1 will ultimately implode in the current economic climate.
There is, moreover, some confusion as to the nature of the Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso entries, with the governing body noting them as unconditional, but the teams adamant that they are anything but. Mosley has allowed the teams an extra week – until Friday, 19 June – 'to lift those conditions following further discussions'.
Against that, however, there remains the spectre of a breakaway championship spearheaded by the manufacturers and possibly organised by MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta. Both the FIA and FOTA are continuing to stand firm – but di Montezemolo warned that some point, sometime soon, something will have to give.
“Definitely this situation will be resolved one way or the other,” he is quoted as having said by international news agency Reuters
. “Either we race in an F1 with the characteristics we want to maintain, or there will be an alternative.
“We want stability, clear rules, a clear and transparent system of governance and the possibility to let teams work to cut costs like they've already shown. I really hope we manage to find a solution. I'm sure there are responsible people inside the FIA who understand the situation, [but] if it is necessary, the big manufacturers are ready to organise an alternative world championship.”
Another possibility open to the Maranello-based outfit, di Montezemolo hinted, would be an official return to the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours, with the 61-year-old present at La Sarthe this weekend where he was honoured with flagging the cars away at the start, to commemorate the Scuderia's
maiden victory in the legendary French round-the-clock classic.
“A Ferrari at Le Mans? Why not?” he mused. “If we can no longer race in F1 this would definitely be an option. Between Ferrari and the 24-hours there is an historic link, and I am happy to be here as the starter for a race that I admire for the spirit of its clean competition.”