Niki Lauda has warned Max Mosley that the FIA 'cannot simply drive over the ideas of the teams' in F1 as the budget cap civil war between the governing body and Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) reaches new proportions this weekend – but he expressed his hope that the latter's announcement of a breakaway series is merely 'sword-rattling' that 'means a compromise is found'.
One solution that has been mooted in the Silverstone paddock is that the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) could vote to remove Mosley from his post – thereby appeasing the teams, who are unhappy with the FIA President's increasingly autocratic and arbitrary style of governance, that saw him force through his controversial cost-cutting proposals without prior consultation with the top flight's competitors.
Though FOTA's shock revelation that it fully intends to follow through with its 'breakaway' threat seemed to suggest that all hope of a compromise or resolution is now dead in the water, paddock experts and those at the centre of the crisis hint that there is plenty more mileage left in the budget cap saga yet – and that a saviour is likely to be found in the form of commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone.
“My hope is that the sword-rattling of FOTA means a compromise with Mosley is found,” three-time F1 World Champion Lauda told Germany's N-TV
. “What is clear is that the FIA and Mosley cannot simply drive over the ideas of the teams.”
“Bernie is in a situation where his key assets are saying they can't enter,” added Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner, speaking to the BBC
. “If anybody can deliver a solution to all this, I think he's about the only man who can – but it isn't forthcoming at the moment.”
Amongst the drivers, meanwhile, there is a clear conviction that if the sport does split in two, they will be following the FOTA dissenters out of the door – with double title-winner Fernando Alonso, a man who has been repeatedly outspoken that in his view F1 will no longer be F1 without its star players, adamant that the survival of the FIA 'is impossible with only the small teams' and that a schism would leave 'everybody a loser'.
“I believe F1 would cease to exist because the interest will be so low,” the Renault star told Spanish newspaper Marca
, adding in an interview with German news agency DPA
: “This is not Formula 1, it's another category. It's time for the FIA to step back. The drivers are with FOTA – they pay us, they support us and we'll support them.”
“It will be a big disappointment if they can't find an agreement,” mused the Spaniard's former team-mate, current Toyota ace Jarno Trulli. “A piece of history is going to break down and it will be everyone's fault probably. I am only sad for the fans and the sport, because we are here to write history, and for the moment we are only writing about what the future of F1 will be and the politics.”