It’s official then, Force India has capitulated and put in a late, unconditional entry to the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship.
Cue the wrath of FOTA, their impending suspension of Force India from the soon-to-be gang of eight, and no doubt a fair few extra statements and arguments over the weekend.
To be honest, Force India’s decision comes as little surprise. The team itself has, just as Williams before it, claimed that it still fully supports FOTA’s position, but that it has been forced to enter on its own due to “commercial obligations.” The question in the media centre had been of whom and when the next FOTA team would split from the umbrella body as the June 12th announcement of the 2010 grid draws ever closer. And now, with Force India’s unconditional entry and FOTA’s position once again compromised, the questions have moved on to who will join them.
The favourites are Brawn, then Red Bull (one or both fizzy drink teams) and McLaren. It is perfectly possible that, in the not too distant future, FOTA will be left with but four members.
The real problem for FOTA in all this is that it has played its hand. In making its block entry and applying conditions it has no further cards left to play. The position of strength now rests almost exclusively with Max Mosley and the FIA.
He knows it. FOTA knows it. And now we all know it, too.
Because if FOTA’s position really was as strong as they’d like us to believe, they wouldn’t be losing members. They’d remain as one, strongly committed to the cause, sure in their stance and in their belief that they would ultimately win the war.
But with every passing day and the continued silence over this entire issue, those teams who rely on Formula 1 for their existence are going to panic. And they are going to do their own thing.
Williams was the first, and Force India has shown its true feelings today. How long we have to wait before they are joined by their racing rivals is uncertain. But it may not be long.
What is perhaps no longer in any doubt however, is that Max Mosley is winning this particular war.