Having softened his threat of dragging the case through the courts, Max Mosley has suggested that a solution to the explosive and highly damaging FIA/FOTA civil war over the future of F1 is 'very, very close' – as he warned the Formula One Teams' Association that if the stand-off continues for much longer, it will be the teams that suffer, not the governing body.
The British Grand Prix weekend has been marked by strike and counter-strike from the two warring factions, with FOTA announcing late on Thursday night that it intends to follow through with its menace of organising a separate 'breakaway' series free from the FIA's contentious jurisdiction, and Mosley responding with notice of legal action to prevent the eight rebel teams from pulling out, adamant that to do so would be to break the terms of their contractual agreements.
Following further talks, however – focussed on the two key issues of the controversial budget cap that Mosley plans to introduce from next year onwards, and the Englishman's increasingly autocratic manner of governance that the teams consider is bordering on the arbitrary – the FIA President has hinted that a rapprochement
may yet be in the pipeline.
“There won't be any writ,” he told The Associated Press
, backtracking on his earlier vow. “I think we would rather talk than litigate. We are very, very close as far as the facts are concerned. It's just if the teams want to sit down and iron out the last few difficulties.”
Those teams – composed of dissenters Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Toyota, Renault, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and current F1 World Championship leaders Brawn GP – have been described by Mosley as 'loonies', some of them 'immoderate in their approach', and the 69-year-old insisted that FOTA would come off worse if a deal is not struck soon, with McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh having evoked a 'point of no return' of the end of July [see separate story – click here
“I would agree with that,” he acknowledged. “If this goes on for any length of time, it damages the teams. It doesn't affect the FIA; it damages the teams because it affects their sponsors.”
“If Max says [a deal] is close, then that's good,” added the top flight's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone.