FIA and FOTA financial representatives met yesterday to discuss the voluntary 2010 Budget Cap which sits at the base of the issue of a two-tier F1… the one that caused all of these arguments in the first place.
The news coming out of the meeting however, is not good.
An FIA Statement, released this morning, reads as follows:
As agreed at the meeting of 11 June, FIA financial experts met yesterday with financial experts from FOTA.
Unfortunately, the FOTA representatives announced that they had no mandate to discuss the FIA’s 2010 financial regulations. Indeed, they were not prepared to discuss regulation at all.
As a result, the meeting could not achieve its purpose of comparing the FIA’s rules with the FOTA proposals with a view to finding a common position.
In default of a proper dialogue, the FOTA financial proposals were discussed but it became clear that these would not be capable of limiting the expenditure of a team which had the resources to outspend its competitors. Another financial arms race would then be inevitable.
The FIA Financial Regulations therefore remain as published.
This news will come as a great disappointment to those hoping for peace, as just yesterday an FIA statement reported that the objectives of FOTA and the FIA on cost reduction were now very closely aligned. A resolution on the issue seemed imminent and yesterday’s meeting between the bodies could, and arguably should, have resolved at least this one issue.
FOTA’s reluctance to discuss the FIA’s regulations and debate instead only their own proposals means that a golden opportunity to make an important inroad into the political debacle that threatens to rip the sport apart at the seams has been thrown away.
Such a move by FOTA seems to add credence to the FIA’s suggestions that there are elements within FOTA that are trying to derail the peace process.
Their statement yesterday, regarding a meeting between the FIA and FOTA on the eve of the 2010 entry publication stated:
The FIA believed it had participated in a very constructive meeting with a large measure of agreement. The FIA was therefore astonished to learn that certain FOTA members not present at the meeting have falsely claimed that nothing was agreed and that the meeting had been a waste of time. There is clearly an element in FOTA which is determined to prevent any agreement being reached regardless of the damage this may cause to the sport.
This is a view shared by Bernie Ecclestone, who has gone as far as to name names in this week’s Auto Motor und Sport in Germany.
“Flavio Briatore wants to create a new series and decide everything,” the F1 supremo said.
“Luca di Montezemolo [FOTA President] has a problem with the FIA president. With John Howett [FOTA Vice-President], I wonder: what does he want? I’m not even sure he knows himself. Everyone else just wants it all to stop so they can concentrate on the sport once again.”
So what is FOTA’s game? Are they really prepared to take this all the way to the brink and to set up their own championship?
At the moment there is a lot of talk about the future of Formula 1, and that the current political mess is threatening to break it apart and potentially kill the sport we love.
Some blame the FIA and Max Mosley. Others are increasingly growing tired of FOTA’s stubborn position.
One thing that cannot be denied however is that, as things stand today, it is the FIA that is appearing to be making itself open to negotiation while FOTA is not. And if the factions within FOTA that the FIA claims are trying to disrupt the resolution of the crisis are indeed, as Ecclestone claims, those in whose hands the leadership of FOTA resides, it looks increasingly unlikely that any agreement will be reached by Friday.
And if that is the case, then the split that nobody wants may be the reality that we all get.