Sir Jackie Stewart has contended that Max Mosley has finally 'gone too far' with his radical cost-cutting drive in F1 and that whilst 'the fat lady hasn't sung yet' in the damaging FIA/FOTA budget cap civil war, in the interests of peace and of averting a permanent schism at the pinnacle of international motorsport, the 69-year-old should resign from his position.

The eight FOTA dissenters are locked in crisis talks today (Friday) as on-track practice takes place ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn having cancelled a BBC Radio Five Live interview to attend a meeting in Ferrari's motorhome.

In the wake of a stalemate that has persisted for weeks - with the teams insisting that Mosley's ?40 million budget cap is simply unworkable in such a short space of time, and the FIA President adamant that without it F1 will not survive - matters came to a head early this morning when FOTA announced that it was following through with its menace of forming a manufacturer-spearheaded breakaway series, a threat Mosley had previously dismissed.

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Aside from the cost cap debate, the Englishman's increasingly autocratic and arbitrary style of governance is also under fire, with FOTA angry at the manner in which the new regulations were introduced without prior consultation with the teams - what it perceives to be a dangerous precedent and one that it deems cannot be allowed to endure.

Former triple world champion Stewart pointed to the unprecedented $100 million sporting fine meted out to McLaren-Mercedes over the infamous espionage row two years ago as a sign that Mosley's rule is not as unbiased as it should be. The Scot suggested that the only way for F1 to avoid splitting irrevocably in two, as CART/Champ Cars and the Indy Racing League did across the Pond over a decade ago, would be for Mosley - whose involvement in a tabloid sex scandal early last year did untold damage to the sport - to step down. His current term in the most powerful and influential post in international motor racing is due to expire in October, and he has yet to reveal whether or not he intends to stand again.

"The fat lady hasn't sung yet," Stewart - who has rarely seen eye-to-eye with Mosley, and who was famously labelled a 'certified halfwit' by the FIA President two years ago - told international news agency Reuters. "FOTA have made a decision that they cannot go on with the governance in its present form. I think they (the teams) do want Max to go, because frankly some of the decisions made over the years have been very questionable.

"For example, [there was] a $100 million fine on McLaren for something that was never proven. Never in the history of sport has such an amount of money been levied by a sporting authority - and that was something that he drove.

"If there is room for further discussion and the governance backs off from some of its insistencies, it may well be that they can come together under a new set of management. I think the trouble is that Max has gone too far with this and the teams have suddenly said 'I'm sorry, we can't take it any more'.

"I think a lot of people are kind of fed up with the dictatorial attitude. He has a great position of power, but big trees do blow over. It may well be that Max Mosley has to go."

Those sentiments were echoed by BBC F1 pundit and former team owner Eddie Jordan, who hinted that whilst he believes FOTA's stance is just more 'posturing', 'it has become very serious - and heads will roll before this sorts itself out'. The Irishman underlined that there is 'absolutely not a chance' of two rival series' running in competition with each other in 2010.

Mosley's long-time friend, ally and business associate Bernie Ecclestone, for his part, also seemed to ramp up the pressure on the FIA President, telling the BBC that he hadn't seen or thought about FOTA's statement, 'doesn't worry about anything' and 'doesn't know what the problem is', suggesting that anyone seeking answers should 'speak to Max'.

The governing body, though, still shows no signs of softening its position or making any further concessions, revealing that it was 'disappointed but not surprised' by FOTA's bombshell and criticising 'elements [who] have sought this outcome throughout the prolonged period of negotiation and have not engaged in the discussions in good faith' [see separate story - click here]. The deadline for altering conditional entries, it re-iterated, remains this evening, with a final official entry list to be published on Saturday.

Brawn GP CEO Nick Fry argued that that 'the ball is in Max Mosley's court' now, a view shared by Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, who claimed that the teams had no alternative but to do what they have done.

"It's really now in the hands of the FIA," mused the Englishman, in an interview with BBC Sport. "The positions have hardened on both sides. The teams feel they have gone as far as they can and the FIA feel they have gone as far as they can - and we've ended up in a situation where a solution hasn't been found. Perhaps being the eternal optimist, never say never - but the teams feel they've gone a long, long way.

"Obviously a great deal of thought and deliberation has gone into the statement, and it is a shame. Formula 1 is one of the most popular sports in the world, and I think we all have a duty to protect and look after that, not just for the fans but for the employees that we represent - but unfortunately the two parties are just too far apart.

"We've no alternative but to launch a breakaway, because we can't race in F1 under the current rules. If you want to keep competing, then you've got to look at something else. It's unfortunate that we've found ourselves in this situation.

"I think we've made clear [what it would take to re-initiate negotiations], and we've tried and we've made efforts to try and find a solution, but unfortunately that hasn't been achieved in the timeframe."

Another intriguing twist to the ongoing saga is the potential for a legal battle ahead, with Mosley adamant that Ferrari, Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso - all of whom have pledged their allegiance to FOTA and the breakaway championship - are contractually-bound to F1 by the terms of existing agreements. Former RBR star David Coulthard, however, argues that it is just another episode in the prevalent politics that are as much a key element of the top flight as is the racing.

"I think this is just another part of the challenge of Formula 1," the Scot reckoned. "We tend to think of it as just being the driver/car challenge on-track, but it's always been about business manoeuvrings off-track as well. What we're seeing here is the ultimate manoeuvring, the ultimate game of chess between the governing body and the teams.

"The rules can be what they all collectively decide they want them to be, and if they're in agreement, if they all collectively decide the cars have to be pink then that's what they'll be racing next year. It is just a question of them agreeing on those rules.

"The way it's set up, we have a commercial rights-holder in Mr Ecclestone who does a fantastic job obviously in getting the venues and getting all the TV contracts and the like, and then you have the FIA there to govern the sport. As they've said, if the teams are not happy then they can go and find someone else to govern the sport, and I see that as less of an issue in many respects than the actual commercial rights of making the business work."

"I don't know really what to think about it," added Force India ace Adrian Sutil, "because every day the story is a little bit different. There are two sides who are not agreeing on the regulations and the terms. I still hope they find a resolution, because if they split it will be a problem I think, and not good for the sport."