FOTA/FIA still at loggerheads, team bosses say

maxfia-290-1.gifInfluential team bosses have said that the FIA and FOTA still disagree on the rule changes for 2010.

Meetings of the teams with Max Mosley, FIA President, in Monaco, were thought to have yielded positive results and even the formation of a compromise agreement for next year concerning budget capping. But Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that nothing had come out of the meetings, and even that FOTA had written to the FIA to demand a return to this year’s rules.

“What we have asked is to go back to the rules of this year, the 2009 rules,” he said. “And then see together what we can do in order to make changes for next year.”

Domenicali touched on a key issue of the debate – that the FIA should not, in his opinion, be telling the teams what to spend.

“Bear in mind that for sure the cost is something that all the teams are fully committed to work on, but the cost is something that is related to the business of the teams. We know what we can invest. We know what we can do, and this is something that the teams can discuss internally and decide on their own what they can afford to keep the value of F1 at the standard that we know. It is not something that we feel should be involved with somebody else.”

Brawn GP CEO Nick Fry said that although negotiations had been tough so far, they had not ground to a complete halt.

“It is not a stalemate. It is normal negotiations. The sides have some differences of view in terms of how the regulations should look, and once one side has put a view forward, the other side responds – and so on and so forth. We are all in favour of a degree of financial responsibility. I know there is no team that is proposing a financial free for all, we all represent big companies and the economic times are not appropriate to be spending a lot of money. The only discussion is how you do it, and what the right mechanism is.

“We have a huge range of teams – teams that want to come into the championship that are small and have limited resources and coming from lower formulas; we have teams who do have a huge amount of infrastructure and we have teams like ourselves that were lucky enough to benefit from manufacturer backing but now don’t have that, and teams that are still very large and enjoy manufacturer backing.

“And the issue is how you actually find a compromise that enables the little guys to have a fighting chance and the big guys to downsize their companies in a sensible period of time. And that is not easy.”

With new teams like USGPE and Campos having in the last few days lodged entries in the belief that budgets will be capped, reneging on the €45m cap would probably cause the FIA legal problems. However, it stands to lose big teams from the sport if it does not compromise.

Conversely, the big teams may find themselves frozen out of the sport if they fail to make an entry by May 29, the closing date for the 2010 championship. Some teams are thought to be ready to break FOTA unity and apply.