Following the constructive but not exactly conclusive talks in Monaco the FOTA representatives will meet again today, this time in London.
The comments coming out of all the camps (FIA, Bernie and FOTA) after Monaco were much calmer and much less confrontational than much of the talk in the past few weeks. However FOTA still felt it is important to send a signal of unity to FIA. They did so by all teams signing a letter requesting 2010 rules to be scrapped and F1 to revert to 2009 regulations only adding the clauses that all already agreed on (like the ban on refueling).
Shortly after Williams broke the ranks and as the first current F1 team signed up for 2010 F1 season (while still believing in FOTA). This was not very surprising. Williams is here to race, the team simply had to sign up. Moreover there are contracts in place they can hardly afford to breach… One thing to note is that none of the reports about the Williams entry submission specified whether the team decided to join under the budget cap or not. The published version of regulations still requires teams to chose between budget cap and free spending version of F1, while both Mosley and Ecclestone confirmed that two tiers will be scrapped. Looks like in Williams they consider the two tiers scrapped already.
Other than Williams the only publicly announced 2010 F1 entry submissions so far are Campos and USF1.
I would not be surprised if few more current teams followed Williams shortly – Force India, Brawn and McLaren – no matter what the outcome of the meetings this week will be. The rest may join or may decide to continue to play hard ball, some may decide to use all this mess as a dignified excuse to leave the sport after years of massive spending with no results to show. All the current teams know that it is very unlikely there are enough realistic new projects that can raise enough money to bump any of the late coming existing teams off the 2010 grid. Missing the deadline may not be a big deal. As Joe Saward said in his semi-regular and very interesting phone talk with Sidepodcast people, it is hard to see why would any sponsor who wants to spend money in F1 go for uncertain new entry when enough sponsorship space is (or will be soon) available for example on Renault F1 cars …
Still, the “Max clock” is ticking and we can expect some more development between now and the 2010 F1 entry deadline.