The FIA has revealed that it is 'disappointed but not surprised' by the Formula One Teams' Association's announcement that it is to go ahead with its threat of forming a breakaway series following the collapse of negotiations regarding the future of the sport – accusing elements of FOTA of having deliberately 'sought this outcome' and having 'not engaged in the discussions in good faith'.
The FOTA bombshell has rocked the paddock on the eve of what looks set to be the final British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend, dashing any hopes of a last-minute compromise between F1's governing body and its competitors over Max Mosley's contentious new budget cap proposal, which the FIA President intends to implement from 2010 onwards.
The FOTA dissenters – composed of Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and current runaway world championship leaders Brawn GP – have been opposed to the radical cost-cutting initiative from the off, insisting that a reduction in annual budget from what is presently as much as £150 million or £200 million a year to just £40 million in time for the start of next season would be simply unworkable.
Following weeks of crisis talks on the matter, it seemed that both sides were willing to concede to a certain extent in order to find a resolution that would prevent the top flight from rupturing in two – and experts and observers alike remained confident that agreement would be reached to head off the breakaway menace. Ultimately, however, that proved not to be the case [see separate story – click here
'The FIA has noted the latest press statement from FOTA,' read an official release from the governing body. 'The FIA is disappointed but not surprised by FOTA's inability to reach a compromise in the best interests of the sport. It is clear that elements within FOTA have sought this outcome throughout the prolonged period of negotiation and have not engaged in the discussions in good faith.
'The FIA cannot permit a financial arms race in the championship, nor can the FIA allow FOTA to dictate the rules of Formula One. The deadline for unconditional entries to the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship will expire this evening. The 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list will be announced tomorrow.'