Team unity on the brink of meltdown as FOTA suspend Williams for breaking ranks.
The unity of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) hangs in the balance with several leading teams poised to follow Williams’ lead and enter the 2010 World Championship.
The teams are at loggerheads with the FIA over the proposed £40 million budget cap for 2010, which they say would damage the sport by creating a two-tier system. Ferrari have the most to lose and are leading the protest.
Lengthy meetings between the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) and FIA President Max Mosley in Monaco failed to produce agreement as the teams held their ground.
The teams left Monaco united in their opposition and declared so in a letter to Mosley.
“We decided to indicate to president Mosley the points that still must be clarified,” Renault boss Flavio Briatore told Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
“The important thing is that it was signed by the representatives of all the teams; I hope Max Mosley realises this, our unity. We will see what happens,â€ he added.
According to Autosport, the teams also reached an arrangement to suspend any team that broke ranks.
But on Monday Williams, an indepdent outfit and known supporter of the budget cap, did just that. To show it was serious FOTA suspended the team.
With Brawn GP, McLaren, and Force India rumoured to be not far behind Williams in submitting their entry form a question mark now hangs over the future of FOTA.
The very real possibility of a split amongst the teams is an ideal situation for Max Mosley and the FIA who have a long track record of instigating such division. The FIA are now unlikely to budge significantly from the budget cap proposals.
Williams team principal Frank Williams said in response to FOTA’s decision to suspend his team: “FOTA’s decision, although regrettable, is understandable.
“However, as a racing team and a company whose only business is Formula 1, with obligations to our partners and our employees, submitting our entry to next year’s championship was unquestionable.
“In addition, we are legally obliged under our contract with FOM and the FIA to participate in the World Championship until the end of 2012.”