Former Monaco Grand Prix winner Olivier Panis has described the prevailing political in-fighting in F1 in 2009 as 'a joke' - and one that is threatening to overshadow and spoil what is turning out on-track to be a classic season.

This week has been dedicated to further crisis talks as the ongoing FIA-FOTA budget cap stalemate still shows no signs of reaching a satisfactory resolution that would ward off the menace of a manufacturer-spearheaded 'breakaway' series.

Frenchman Panis - who finished a strong fifth outright in his second appearance in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours alongside compatriots Nicolas Lapierre and Soheil Ayari at Oreca last weekend - argues that it is a sorry state indeed.

"For me it's ridiculous," the veteran of 158 grands prix told "I am loving this season, because Brawn GP is doing a great job and some other drivers are standing on the podium - but the politics are a joke."

Those sentiments were echoed by fellow former grand prix-winner Riccardo Patrese, who suggests that whilst both sides are outwardly making a show of actively seeking a compromise, neither is actually making enough of an effort to avert a crisis that could conceivably change the face of the sport forever.

"Everyone understands the risk of a disaster," the Italian told German newspaper Die Welt, "but at the same time nobody is doing anything to prevent it."