In the interests of peace and compromise, the FIA appears to have backed down and allowed for 'certain amendments' to be made to the 2010 F1 World Championship regulations – including a greatly increased €100 million budget cap rather than one of £40 million, dropping to €45 million in 2011 – as Nick Heidfeld warned that the ongoing civil war is 'really damaging' the sport.
Following a series of missives sent out this week between the governing body and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), it seems further crisis talks at Silverstone today (Thursday) ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix may be leading towards a resolution that will avert the threat of a manufacturer-spearheaded 'breakaway series' – described by FOTA vice-chairman John Howett as a 'worst-case scenario', but a scenario nonetheless.
Whilst all ten present incumbents have been granted spots on the starting grid for next season, five of them – McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Renault, Toyota and current world championship pace-setters Brawn GP – remain provisional, with Max Mosley having given the dissenters until tomorrow (Friday) to remove the conditions to their entries. Should they fail to comply, they will be removed from the list.
To complicate a clouded situation yet further, Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso are all adamant that their bids are similarly contingent upon the retention of the 2009 rules and abandonment of the controversial cost cap and that they have been included as unconditional against their will – whilst Mosley contends the trio are legally-bound to compete. Only Williams and Force India have submitted unconditional bids voluntarily.
Now, though, it seems that it is the FIA President who has blinked first, making the teams a final offer that includes a two-stage cost-reduction programme and other alterations to the regulations in a last-ditch attempt to avert a schism that rips the top flight permanently in two. Only earlier this week, the Englishman refused a petition to extend Friday's deadline until 1 July and accused FOTA of trying to wrest control and take over the sport – and insisted that there would be no amendment to the rules. Now, it seems, he may have had a change of heart.
'Subject to approval by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council, and by teams already having had their entries...accepted, it is intended that certain amendments...will be made to the 2010 Formula One sporting and technical regulations forthwith,' Mosley wrote in a letter to the five conditionally-entered teams, reported by Reuters
As part of the deal – which the 69-year-old points out was agreed to in principle by FOTA during a meeting on 11 June – the teams would be required to adhere to the terms of the expired 1998 Concorde Agreement until 2014, or until a new one is signed by all concerned parties. As to the prickly aspect of governance, Mosley added that the FIA is 'not averse' to the teams' suggestions on the topic of the International Court of Appeal, and would be willing to discuss all such associated matters once their objections are lifted.
Another concession is that rather than competitors' budgets being policed by the governing body – something they fear would set a dangerous precedent – an independent auditor would be brought in, a move that is understood to be far more acceptable.
'There will be self-reporting of compliance using a reputable auditor,' the letter continued. 'Any suspicions of breach would be investigated by a mutually acceptable auditor of suitable standing.'