Outgoing FIA President Max Mosley has hinted that he expects possibly 'another one or two car manufacturers' and 'one or two of the private teams' to walk away before the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship campaign gets underway next March – as he insisted that the governing body would not be inclined to look favourably upon Renault in the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing on Monday (21 September) in an effort to prevent the Régie
from leaving the sport.
Following Honda's bombshell late last year that it would be departing the fray with immediate effect, BMW became the latest F1 casualty when it announced in July that it too would be pulling the plug at the end of the current season in the top flight. That prompted the FIA to open up a bidding procedure for three new slots on the starting grid, with talk now of even extending that to four, thereby raising grid numbers to 28, a level not seen since 1995.
Despite peace having finally seemingly broken out in the bitter FIA/FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) war, Mosley admits that he is prepared for the loss of more competitors in the coming months – with a number of hopefuls knocking at the door waiting for their chance to graduate should the opportunity present itself.
“I think we may lose another one, might even lose two car manufacturers,” the Englishman is quoted as having said by Reuters
, “and there are also one or two of the private teams who will find it difficult to survive. I think it's possible. Put it around another way – if someone said 'will you stake your entire worldly goods on all of the current manufacturers being in Melbourne in 2010?' I would be very reluctant to do that. I'd stake my worldly goods on Ferrari being there, but not on all the manufacturers – but I may be wrong.”
Of the remaining manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz has repeatedly pledged its long-term commitment to F1 and may supply as many as four teams with engines next season should a purported deal with title-challengers Red Bull Racing come to fruition – leaving Toyota and Renault the companies apparently closest to the exit door.
The big-spending Japanese car maker has confessed that there may not be a firm decision regarding next year's budget until November, whilst its French rival has been rocked by the 'Singapore-gate' scandal from which it has plunged of late – and which many believe will drive Renault out of the sport altogether, be it through a ban or else global embarrassment and loss of reputation. Mosley is adamant that the potential loss of the Enstone-based concern must not influence the WMSC's decision when it meets in Paris early next week.
“We have a certain job to do which we must do correctly and fairly,” stressed the 69-year-old, “and what they do is a business decision for them. Otherwise, in a football match if one of the players says to the referee 'I'm the great star and if you give a penalty against me I'm going to walk off the pitch', what would the referee say? You've only got one possible answer.”