The five non-FOTA members – Williams, Force India and newcomers USF1, Campos and Manor – can block their eight FOTA counterparts from abolishing the FIA's controversial budget cap for 2010, it has been revealed, with any regulation changes requiring the unanimous agreement of all competitors.
The FIA/FOTA meeting that took place in the Nürburgring paddock on Wednesday ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix collapsed after the eight FOTA members – representing Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and current world championship leaders Brawn GP – walked out.
That came as a result of being informed by the head of the FIA's technical department Charlie Whiting that 'pending unanimous agreement on next year's rules package, they are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the technical and sporting regulations thereof' [see separate story – click here
However, whilst the general resolution reached during the FIA/FOTA entente cordiale
last month was for Max Mosley's contentious £40 million budget cap to be canned, all five of the non-FOTA members signed up to compete next season on the basis that the FIA President's radical cost-cutting initiative would
be in place. It is understood that some of them may not be able to join the grid in 2010 without the cap.
Mosley has made clear that amending the published regulations – which, on paper, presently still include the introduction of the cap, despite it having been concluded verbally at the seemingly decisive World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting in Paris a fortnight ago that the 'rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations' – can only be achieved should all 13 entrants be singing from the same hymn sheet, requiring FOTA to broker 'an agreement with the Williams and Force India teams and the three new teams'.
'Article 66 of the International Sporting Code states that no change can be made to the published regulations without the agreement of all confirmed entrants,' Mosley wrote in a letter to the five non-FOTA members, as published by international news agency Reuters
. 'As a result, changes to the 2010 regulations require your agreement and consent.'
The sticking point that may present for FOTA is that the organisation still has to make peace with Williams and Force India, both of whom it suspended more than a month ago for having signed up to the 2010 world championship unconditionally. If FOTA is still to have the last word in its civil war with the FIA, it appears that bridges may need to be rebuilt.