The FIA has launched a stinging attack on the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) over the enduring budget cap war, accusing 'an element' of the organisation of being 'determined to prevent any agreement being reached, regardless of the damage this may cause to the sport'.
With just four days now remaining until the 19 June deadline set by Max Mosley for the FOTA rebels to drop the 'conditions' upon which they have based their 2010 world championship entries, there is still no resolution in the ongoing FIA-FOTA stand-off over the controversial £40 million cap that the Englishman plans to introduce next year, and towards which FOTA is staunchly opposed. Further 'crisis' discussions are due to be held this week.
Prior to the publication last Friday of the list of successful applicants for a slot on the starting grid next season, Mosley met with FOTA representatives in the form of four team principals – Ross Brawn (Brawn GP), Stefano Domenicali (Ferrari), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing) and John Howett (Toyota) – and secretary-general Simone Perillo. Whilst the FIA President reckoned it to have been 'a very constructive meeting with a large measure of agreement', the governing body has since railed against what it believes to be destructive elements within the teams' alliance hell-bent on getting their way whatever the cost.
'During the meeting, FOTA acknowledged that the FIA wanted to encourage the introduction of new teams in the championship to maintain its vitality and economic viability in the long-term,' read an official statement released today. 'Agreement was reached on technical regulations for 2010 which offered assistance for new teams from the currently competing teams in several key areas.
'It was also agreed that the objectives of FOTA and the FIA on cost reduction were now very close and that financial experts from both sides should meet at the earliest opportunity to finalise the details.
'It was proposed by the FIA that any perceived governance and stability issues could best be eliminated by extending the 1998 Concorde Agreement until 2014, thus avoiding lengthy negotiations for a new agreement. This was well-received by those present, who undertook to report the suggestion to the other FOTA members.
'The FIA believed it had participated in a very constructive meeting with a large measure of agreement. The FIA was therefore astonished to learn that certain FOTA members not present at the meeting have falsely claimed that nothing was agreed and that the meeting had been a waste of time. There is clearly an element in FOTA which is determined to prevent any agreement being reached, regardless of the damage this may cause to the sport. The FIA will publish shortly a detailed and documented account of the facts in its dealings with FOTA.'
The top flight's rule-maker has also responded to the criticism levelled at it by the Board of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), which at the end of last week backed FOTA's call for a change to the system of governance at the highest level in arguing that 'the FIA needs a modernised and transparent governance system and processes, including the revision of its constitution, to ensure the voice of its members, worldwide motorsport competitors and motorists are properly reflected' [see separate story – click here
The FIA has suggested that ACEA's opposition to the budget cap flies in the face of its stated desire for more money to be freed up to aid the 'devastating' condition of the European automotive industry in the wake of the debilitating global credit crunch – something Mosley claims the cost-cutting in F1 would help to achieve.