Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, says it will begin legal action against the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) for planning a breakaway championship as relations between the two organisations broke down on Friday following a bitter fued over the future direction of the sport.
After negotations with the FIA collapsed over next year’s rules, the Formula One teams confirmed in the early hours of Friday morning that they are planning to start their own championship in 2010.
The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) said in a statement: “It has become clear that the teams cannot continue to compromise on the fundamental values of the sport and have declined to alter their original conditional entries to the 2010 World Championship.
“These teams therefore have no alternative other than to commence the preparation for a new Championship which reflects the values of its participants and partners.
“This series will have transparent governance, one set of regulations, encourage more entrants and listen to the wishes of the fans, including offering lower prices for spectators worldwide, partners and other important stakeholders.
However, the FIA has hit back at FOTA with the threat of legal action.
“The FIA’s lawyers have now examined the FOTA threat to begin a breakaway series,” the FIA said in a statement.
“The actions of FOTA as a whole, and Ferrari in particular, amount to serious violations of law including wilful interference with contractual relations, direct breaches of Ferrari’s legal obligations and a grave violation of competition law.
“The FIA will be issuing legal proceedings without delay.
“Preparations for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship continue but publication of the final 2010 entry list will be put on hold while the FIA asserts its legal rights.”