2010 cost cutting agreement remains unsigned
After a summer of dispute, negotiation and finally some agreement, the so-called breakaway threat from the eight Formula One Teams' Association came to nothing as the group agreed to compete in the FIA sanctioned Formula One World
Championship next season and beyond.
FIA President Max Mosley declared that he would not stand for re-election later in the season while the £40m (€45m, US $62m) cost cap for next season was seemingly dropped in favour of a vague promise of competition costs coming down to levels seen in the early 1990s – which presumably is not a million miles from £40m... It did seem that FOTA had won the battle for a short time.
Then of course the FIA President said that he may run for re-election after all and this week it has emerged that the budget cap may not be so easy to remove from the regulations without the consent of not just the eight FOTA members, but also the three new teams as well as the Williams and Force India outfits. Of course, FOTA has yet to agree a new - more favourable - commercial agreement with Formula One Administration either, but that’s another matter.
Today all of the teams met in Germany for the latest gathering of the Technical Working Group in which the 2010 rules were scheduled to be hammered out and signed off once and for all. However, the FOTA members ‘walked out’ of the meeting according to the FIA and should this be confirmed by the team alliance, this emphasises the lack of progress and tolerance between the alliance and the governing body.
"Following the decision of the World Council on 24 June to revert to the pre-29 April version of the 2010 F1 Sporting and Technical Regulations, the FIA today met the teams which have entered the 2010 Championship to seek their agreement to these changes," a statement from the FIA read.
"All changes have now been agreed subject only to the maintenance of the minimum weight at 620kg and the signing of a legally binding agreement between all the teams competing in 2010 to reduce costs to the level of the early 1990s within two years, as promised by the FOTA representative in Paris on 24 June.
The chassis weight limit may be an issue, but the fact that FOTA has yet to sign any agreement to reduce costs for next year's championship is significant. As is allegedly ‘walking out’ of the meeting...
"The eight FOTA teams were invited to attend the meeting to discuss their further proposals for 2010," the FIA statement continued. "Unfortunately no discussion was possible because FOTA walked out of the meeting."
FOTA (Ferrari, Renault, Toyota, BMW, McLaren, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Brawn) had made a lot of noise about setting up its own championship for next season. The group of eight met on numerous occasions, put out press releases and pushed their cause before retreating to the fold of the FIA and FOA.
Indeed, it is hard to see why FOTA finally agreed to enter an FIA championship next season when the group still has little or no control over the rules, little or no progress in terms of their commercial deal and the head of the FIA is seemingly wavering as to whether he will stand down from the post or not.
Clearly FOTA are unhappy with the current situation, but the reality is that the group had their chance to stand up and be counted, before deciding 'better the devil you know'. They cannot now turn around and re-launch their ‘breakaway’ series as they would have no credibility... unless they act swiftly and state their case once and for all.
We await the comments from FOTA with interest.