Teams demand FIA ditch 2010 rules
|By Jonathan Noble||Sunday, May 24th 2009, 18:45 GMT|
Formula 1 teams have written to FIA president Max Mosley requesting that next year's regulations are scrapped if they are to commit their future to the sport, AUTOSPORT has learned.
Although Mosley hinted on race morning at the Monaco Grand Prix that he was open to a compromise deal about plans for a £40 million budget cap, the teams have now made it clear the conditions by which they will continue to race.
In a letter signed by all teams and sent to Mosley shortly before the race, the teams demanded that the FIA ditches the planned 2010 technical and sporting regulations and reverts to the current 2009 version.
This would then be used as the starting point for framing new regulations to bring costs under control - with agreed changes like a refueling ban still expected to go ahead as planned.
As well as the rule changes, the teams want guarantees about the governance of the sport and the reestablishment of protocols, like the use of the Formula 1 Commission, to ensure there is proper framing of the rules going forward.
A FOTA source said that in exchange for the FIA agreeing to such action, the teams have promised a "willingness to commit their future to the sport." It is understood that the teams are prepared to commit not just to next year, but until 2012.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali confirmed the existence of the letter shortly after the Monaco Grand Prix.
"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.
"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."
While there has been talk of a compromise 45 million Euros budget cap in place for 2011, sources have suggested that the teams are still far apart from the FIA in agreeing a way forward.
It is understood that one suggestion being looked at is for the teams to invoke a 'Cost Control System', which will be regulated by FOTA rather than the FIA, to help bring finances under control.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he was optimistic about a solution being found before Friday's entry deadline to the championship, Domenicali said: "I don't know really. I think the points that we have put on the table are pretty clear, and I think we raised some issues in the meeting that we had.
"It was as we said constructive, but there is an ongoing process to discuss. I am sure it will be a very important week because the entry to this championship has to be finalised by Friday. I think they will be long days."
FOTA vice chairman John Howett echoed Domenicali's reluctance to get too optimistic about a deal being easily reached.
"I think we have to wait and see," he said. "There are still some gaps. While there has been definite movement, I think we have to wait and see what the solution is and whether it is accepted or not."
Brawn chief executive officer Nick Fry said that the push by the teams about using the 2009 regulations again in 2010 was not indicative of the discussions having broken down.
"No. 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. I would consider that to be perfectly normal.
"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."
FOTA members are expected to meet later this week to discuss their stance towards lodging entries by Friday's deadline, but much depends on the FIA's response to the latest demands.