Rebel teams' demands cannot be accepted
The ongoing battle between the FIA and the FOTA alliance has resulted in the sport's governing body issuing a press release stating its case at much length.
In essence, the FIA declares that attempts by the Formula One Teams
Association to take over a part of the sport's governance will not succeed, and neither will its push for higher revenue sharing with Bernie Ecclestone-led Formula One Management.
"The FIA and FOM have together spent decades building the FIA Formula One World Championship into the most watched motor sport competition in history," the statement reads.
The FIA declares its conclusion that the FOTA members - Toyota, BMW, Ferrari, Renault, McLaren, Brawn, Red, Bull, and Toro Rosso – have decided to pursue two objectives: "to take over the regulation of Formula One from the FIA and to expropriate the commercial rights for itself."
"These are not objectives which the FIA can accept."
Max Mosley's adamant stance to budget-cap all F1 teams comes from the experience of the last few years as "all attempts to limit expenditure by ever-tighter technical restrictions failed."
Therefore FIA President Max Mosley believes that the only way to guarantee technical innovation in the sport is to limit the amount of money which can be spent, and to let engineers develop the best possible performances within the means at their disposal.
"This is exactly what happens in the real world and it is the only way forward for Formula One," the FIA document continues. "Without technical innovation, Formula One will wither and die. Without real cost constraints, Formula One will lose its teams. This is why the FIA is insisting on cost restraint as part of the Formula One regulations."
FOTA has been pushing for its own cost-reduction proposals to be adopted but balks at the idea of Mosley's €45 million (US$ 65m) budget limit being imposed next year. The budget limitation has been confirmed within the 2010 regulations and the Formula One Teams Alliance has threatened to leave the sport in protest.
The eight rebel teams currently making up FOTA recently excluded two of its members for breaking ranks and signing up for the 2010 championship: the Williams team accepted the Mosley plan as it feared being excluded from its core business, and Force India had to respect engagements taken with sponsors. The latter team nonetheless confirmed its support of FOTA's initiatives.
In what will surely be seen as a provocation, the FIA press release claims that FOTA members "come and go as it suits them."
The FIA blames the FOTA alliance for failing to negotiate common ground regarding the budget issue (which excludes certain salaries and marketing considerations). A major point is the FIA's intent on drastically cutting expenditure starting next year.
While the eight rebel teams also agree on the need to limit expenses, they prefer a two to three-year 'glide path' which would allow the sport to settle in to its new economic reality in steps, therefore giving teams the time to adjust in regards to its operations and employees amongst other matters.
The FIA also rejects the idea that F1 teams should play any part in the governance of the sport: "Formula One needs a strong and impartial regulator because of the nature of the sport, the high stakes and the competitors - people who want to win (literally) at any cost."
The FOTA alliance will surely be responding soon to the FIA's lengthy and detailed statement.