Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Formula One: Ferrari threatens to quit if budget cap goes ahead

Ferrari's board of directors says it will pull out of Formula One competition if a budget cap is enacted for the 2010 season

Ferrari's board of directors met at company headquarters in Maranello, Italy, on Tuesday and confirmed that the company will quit Formula One if the FIA's plan to introduce a "budget cap" in 2010 goes ahead.

FIA president Max Mosley wants to allow teams to run with a £40 million ($61 million) spending limit, minus marketing expenses, engine costs and driver salaries. The FIA expects such a cap to allow new teams to enter the championship at a reasonable--in F1 terms, anyway--price. Teams will be allowed to operate while ignoring the budget cap if they wish, but with performance restrictions not imposed on those who choose to accept the spending limit.

This effectively will create a "two-tier" F1, and the budget cap has left established teams, including Ferrari, seething.

"The board of directors . . . examined developments related to recent decisions taken by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile during an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on April 29, 2009," Ferrari said in a statement. "Although this meeting was originally called only to examine a disciplinary matter [involving McLaren-Mercedes], the decisions taken mean that, for the first time ever in Formula One, the 2010 season will see the introduction of two different sets of regulations based on arbitrary technical rules and economic parameters.

"The board considers that if this is the regulatory framework for Formula One in the future, then the reasons underlying Ferrari's uninterrupted participation in the world championship over the last 60 years--the only constructor to have taken part ever since its inception in 1950--would come to a close.

"The board also expressed its disappointment about the methods adopted by the FIA in taking decisions of such a serious nature and its refusal to effectively reach an understanding with constructors and teams. The rules of governance that have contributed to the development of Formula One over the last 25 years have been disregarded, as have the binding contractual obligations between Ferrari and the FIA itself regarding the stability of the regulations.

"The same rules for all teams, stability of regulations, the continuity of the FOTA's endeavors to methodically and progressively reduce costs, and governance of Formula One are the priorities for the future. If these indispensable principles are not respected, and if the regulations adopted for 2010 will not change, then Ferrari does not intend to enter its cars in the next Formula One world championship.

"Ferrari trusts that its many fans worldwide will understand that this difficult decision is coherent with the Scuderia's approach to motor sport and to Formula One in particular, always seeking to promote its sporting and technical values."

Ferrari is not the only team known to be willing to quit F1 if the two-tier system comes to fruition. Toyota boss John Howett toldAutoSport at the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend that Toyota was not willing to race under such a scenario, and Red Bull owner Dieter Mateschitz said that he would pull both of his teams--Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso--from F1, too, while BMW and Renault are also believed to hold the same attitude.

Almost certainly, McLaren-Mercedes holds the same view, though its recent troubles with the FIA over the 2007 industrial-espionage scandal against Ferrari, and this year's lying affair at the Australian Grand Prix, are likely keeping the team silent on the matter for now.

[Source : Autoweek]


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